Author: David Reynolds

David Reynolds, founder of FM-Consult-Create brings an engineering, teaching, and technical consulting background to FM. His interests are facility design, operation and maintenance for optimum life cycle performance, innovation, emergency response and business continuity, and FM process design, performance measurement and improvement -­‐ the last three being his areas of focus.

Coronavirus and Influenza preparedness

Given the variety of knowledge and means offered by everyone above (a big and growing a la carte menu – and Chris, thanks for the multiple sources), business continuity planning can give us a framework for organizing it all by priority, preference, and circumstances.
An understandable impression of emergency preparedness and business continuity planning is that we expend time and resources on severe but unlikely cases. Incomplete to start with, plans age badly, competing for exercise and updating with all other FM work for time, talent, and budget.
In the December FM Consulting Council Newsletter, FMCC member James Delgado describes making use of the formalism of preparedness plans in lesser, more frequent cases. (Disaster, Catastrophe, Crisis – or Incident, The Value of Incident Management in Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity attached.) James offers an example of a substantial, but by no means disastrous water main break with no internal flooding. Using the business continuity plan, even in a narrowed and reduced context, ensures complete handling of the incident through full recovery, while adding little expense, and counting as an exercise.
Stephen Brown, in this month’s FMCC Newsletter, summarizes business continuity planning on a systematic basis in the feature article (PANDEMIC – The oft-neglected threat in Business Continuity, also attached.) Predictions have only worsened since Stephen wrote, several weeks ago.

This is a good time to look at our FM organizations and other participating business units – especially operations and finance – to review what is business critical and how we mitigate, then escalate as needed.

Time to Repair – KPI, Wicked Problem, or Both?

Time to repair equipment or restore capability in response to a trouble ticket is appealing as a KPI in a service contract. But is this number also too variable to pin down and agree over? Contractor circumstances, contingencies outside of the control of contractor or FM, and the importance to the FM parent organization of correcting the problem quickly can combine to make setting a standard time to complete unscheduled field service almost a wicked problem.

benchmarking, capability maturity, KPI

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In my previous blog, the second in this series, I identified levels of preparedness for an FM organization to gain positive short and longer-term payoffs using a consultant. I also mentioned finding a consultant using the FMCC Consultant Search directory in IFMA ENGAGE. Essentially, an organization with sound strategies, that give rise to practical objectives, which can generate clear processes stands to strengthen its FM outcomes with consultant use because it can insert consultant work anywhere to support specific business outcomes. A less mature

IFMA's WWP 2017

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In the last blog, I pointed to the independent FM consultant as an exceptionally valuable FM resource, available and responsive with knowledge and practical skill to apply, to lasting good effect. I was also unreserved about reasons that FMs hesitate to use a consultant. What can an FM do to strongly increase the odds of a definitively positive outcome?

The pressure and uncertainty imposed on Milo in The Phantom Tollbooth[1] resembles the FM problem. Milo, feeling his way toward rhyme and reason, is under the constant constraints of time and practicality imposed by the Watch Dog[2], who is nevertheless of little help with knowledge of the best way to proceed. Milo eventually has the good fortune and cooperation to find his way.

An FM has to be surer than Milo, with a safe process for using a consultant, founded in sound strategy expressed in clear objectives. If your efforts are not already strategy based, specifically aligned with your organization as a whole, clear in their objectives, and measurable to guide improvements, a consultant can help your FM organization get there and keep growing. Strategic management brings safe and sound FM ground.

How about just let’s get this project done, problem solved, milestone passed, temporary overload relieved, technical capability in place, compliance met, etc.? Succeeding in such a project will help with FM capability and maturity. Success breeds success. But how do you find and become acquainted with a suitable consultant and obtain the best value?

The interactive IFMA FMCC Consultant Search Directory  provides 35 areas of consulting practice to guide a search, as well as searchable names and locations. FMCC members can readily point out other sources as well. We are relentless FM problem solvers. More knowledge is always better than not enough. Luck is great, as long as it holds. Milo had an author. FMs have less certainty.

[1] Juster, Norman and Jules Feiffer, The Phantom Tollbooth, 1961, Penguin

[2] Milo and Tock the Watchdog, in a 2015 sketch by Jules Pieffer at the request of Zack Smith. Published on


IFMA's WWP 2017


In The Phantom Tollbooth [1], Milo (center[2]) encounters the Humbug (left), who is perpetually his own sole context. Humbug is rarely lost for words. The Watch Dog Tock (right), is mindful of Milo’s and everyone’s time. He tells Milo that words only add to confusion when you use too many to say too little. But it’s too late for Milo. Humbug orates, proclaims, and becomes combative. He means no harm; he does no good, and worse. Milo eventually moves beyond Humbug, but not before wasting time, losing to confusion, and being jailed.

FMs, when you hear “consultant”, does Humbug come to mind in a cautionary way, cooling your enthusiasm to risk reputation and performance numbers? This is a good time, the Watch Dog advises, to remember that your budget won’t pay a consultant and your boss would not let you hire one anyway. You and your staff can wrangle changes, discover and develop opportunities, and optimize FM by yourselves. Stop reading now if you are certain that this will always be the case.

Who are independent FM consultants? Why do we persist? We are relentlessly practical problem solvers, coaches, technical and organizational specialists and generalists – at the same time. We are people strongly occupied with, studied up, and networked around the breadth and depth of FM and current challenges and opportunities posed by the built environment. We are motivated by contributing, in light your circumstances and the goals of your organization. We bring ability, motivation, knowledge, experience, capability, and capacity, leaving you with some of each to carry on. In IFMA, a good number of independent consultants are FMCC members.

What gains can you accomplish with an FM consultant? How do you define the problem or opportunity, identify potential consultants, and approach expenses and ROI?  How can an FM optimize a consulting project? These are coming up.

Stay with me?

[1] Juster, Norman and Jules Feiffer, The Phantom Tollbooth, 1961, Penguin

[2] Milo, the Humbug and Tock the Watchdog, from Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Artist: Roger Langridge (Penciller). Gallery owner, Zack Smith. Published on, c. 2011.


IFMA's WWP 2017

Grappling with Risks – The (Very) Basics Can Yield Abundant Return

In a recent exchange of e-mail about preparations and readiness for emergency response and business continuity, an IFMA FMCC colleague, who instructs in the FMP (Facility Management Professional) program, remarked, with respect to being introduced to risk as an FM concept, “…students seem so enthralled with the risk matrix concept, having mostly never seen it before.”  He refers to the idea that severity of consequences and likelihood of an event taking place, which are separate factors, combine to form risk.

This works for any problem that an FM can identify that might occur. A matrix of severities and likelihoods handily presents risks as combinations of likelihood and consequence, should the hazard become an event up ahead. Severe impacts that are also likely mark large vulnerabilities and warrant attention to reduce severity, likelihood, or both. On the other hand, small, unlikely events might receive attention only coincidently, when it is convenient and economical. Many risks are somewhere in between. Risks may be considered alone or combined. Certain combinations of identified risks can reasonably occur together. The combinations themselves have severity and likelihood and can be treated together for purposes of planning and mitigation.  

Let’s identify, examine, and compile risks to get them in view. Risks are in good supply against any project of program.

They can be

  • physical,
  • logistical,
  • financial,
  • social & political,
  • legal…

Is that cleaning service sound financially? How likely are we to have an assault in the parking garage, or an active shooter? What if the CAFM becomes corrupt or unavailable? Talk with people and write down all that come up. Keep adding to the list. You can’t mitigate everything, but you don’t want to miss a big one that you could have anticipated. Begin by ranking likelihood 1-5 in a somewhat subjective way. Rank severity of consequences the same way. Multiply likelihood x severity for each, to derive a score between 1 and 25. To get this far requires small and steady investments of time and effort, and yields large awareness and understanding.  

Your organization will have its own risk profile. Now comes the part where detailed knowledge matters. Another colleague offers a convincing example of large differences in risk for almost the same event. One leads to minor inconvenience. The other leads to business failure after an agonizing interval in a way that, in retrospect, is painfully obvious. A damaged small diameter water connection to a refrigerator ice maker leaks onto the floor on a weekend when no one is present. Water trickles along the floor and through a pipe feed into unused basement space below. On the next work day, maintenance personnel repair the tubing in a few minutes and set up fans to dry the basement. (They stop the vertical opening around the pipe too, to limit spread of fire.)

A similar leak on a weekend in a kitchenette, on the floor over a back office operations center of a different tenant, ruins equipment and destroys data and records, stopping operations. Replacement equipment can be found and configured, but software reconstruction will be complicated and backup data status uncertain. The business briefly operates, but some customers have already found other providers. Those remaining experience problems. The business closes. The devil was in the details. 

Coming up: Risky Business, Livening Up a Risk Register. Sound like a snore? Stay tuned.  


Risk Management

Survival of the organization

Not all strongly adverse events require outside agency intervention – by first responders, say.

In these cases, your organization would cede site control to an outside commander until the public is safe.

In instances without public safety consequences, you and your colleagues will be – must be – ready immediately to manage the crisis and recover. If you have well designed, tried, and maintained plans in place, you have a strong chance to bring the best feasible results.

Survival of the organization will be in the hands of FM and your colleagues from partner departments, business units, and providers.


Webinar: What is the difference? Emergency Planning, Risk Management and Business Continuity.

Register here…


It can’t be all that bad. We’re insured.

… We have data backups…

We can move to the other building, or set up in that closed restaurant up on High Street. Anybody recall who is managing that property now? If we can’t get the special windows from supplier X, supplier Y ought to be able to come up with enough until supplier X is normal again.

“… It can’t be all that bad. We’re insured …”

Reality check:

in the U.S., where material resources, transportation, and banking are available in good measure, official data show that 40% of businesses don’t reopen at all after a catastrophic event, 25% more fail within a year, and in two years shut downs reach 90%. Maybe we ought to put some effort into how to respond, rather than suppose that our reactions at the time will work just fine.

Does this make assessing threats, planning how to avoid problems, oversight of alternate facilities, testing communications, and conducting exercises and drills seem more attractive? Yes, if we have a unified way of organizing and budgeting these that convinces top management.

Stay tuned. That is where we are going.

Webinar: What is the difference? Emergency Planning, Risk Management and Business Continuity.

Register here…


BCM goes beyond operations

Managing risk entails identifying, evaluating, prioritizing, and mitigating (where feasible), factors and circumstances that may turn out badly. Business continuity deals with potential effects, impacts, and consequences when they do.

Business Continuity Management (BCM) approaches both risk and its realization, coordinating and unifying planning and actions. A formal way of saying this is that BCM is a holistic management process with a framework to confer organizational resilience. Either way, the BCM viewpoint is to carry on business essentials and minimize effects on customers and suppliers.

BCM goes beyond operations.

The BCM approach extends to all critically important factors and activities, such as reputation and brand – any area that sustains value while the organization recovers from an adverse event.


Webinar: What is the difference? Emergency Planning, Risk Management and Business Continuity.

Register here…

Education, Webinar

First, gain some height with us and look down

First, gain some height with us and look down at your business or organization –

its milieu, processes, technology, facilities, personnel, sources and resources.

What could happen to disrupt things?

Maybe do a SWOT analysis, just to keep track. You will probably find plenty of threats and vulnerabilities, in various sizes and likelihoods. Any and all are risks, but some combine severity and likelihood strongly, pointing themselves out for your attention. Others not so much, but worth recognizing.

Got risks? What to do?

Two things, really, now, before something happens. Reduce the risks, most severe first, if you can, and be prepared to respond to minimize loss and disruption if the threat comes calling.

That’s easy to say, but threats and risks can be multiple and complicated. A management process to help assure organizational resilience can be your defense. The next blog sketches an overall process to manage business continuity, from risk to recovery.


Webinar: What is the difference? Emergency Planning, Risk Management and Business Continuity.

Register here…

Education, Webinar

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