Outsourced FM - The future of BTR and PBSA
Following the impact of the ongoing global pandemic and the associated financial impact across all sectors of the UK economy, there has been an interesting debate within the Build to Rent (BTR) and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sectors regarding the benefits of an outsource vs in-house facility management model.
Whilst I can fully appreciate the emotional, direct control and cultural advantages of the in-house model, I feel it important to highlight why the outsourced FM model remains the most effective model for delivering exceptional resident and student environments, whilst enabling client teams to focus on creating fantastic resident experiences.
We have yet to work on a new development that has mobilised on time, and the key advantage that we have given clients is our ability to operate flexible resource to mitigate the personnel impact of slipping go-live dates.
Recruiting is time consuming, and new team members won’t wait one month or even three months for a new development/job to start. The outsourced model enables the right team to be ready to deploy whenever the development is ready.
FM is what we do, it’s not an add on to our core service.
In practical terms this means that the highest levels of expertise, industry knowledge and best practice is applied to every site all of the time. It is common to take learnings from one client site, and see if rolled out quickly and effectively across the whole business – benefitting the many. This level of cross-pollination of best practice does happen within the in-house sector, but it is more challenging and certainly not as prolific or effective.
We spend our time actively reviewing the latest trends and innovations from across the FM sector, and have the presence and buying power to analyse and test multiple options across our business.
This focus and scale ensures that we are able to develop and deploy innovative products and services much quicker and more effectively than a stand-alone in-house model, ensuring the resident environment benefits from these changes as quickly as possible.
The biggest challenge of the in-house model is its inability to cope with vacancies, holidays and other absences.
Specialist FM providers operate mobile “bench” teams who are able to cover short term and pre-planned cover quickly and effectively. Further the impact of the pandemic has again highlighted the value of the outsourced model, and clients have been able to work with their FM providers to immediately flex their services (both up and down) to meet the new operational and financial necessities.
Focus on the resident:
Creating resident experiences is what you do best.
By taking away the need to oversee every aspect of the delivery of FM services, client teams are better able to focus their time and attention on residents, developing the experience, and resident acquisition/retention which ultimately drives long term commercial benefits for the operator and investors.