real estate in fm

Real Estate in FM Explained

In this article we take you into the world of Real Estate. What is it? And how it this a part of Facility Management? Let’s take a closer look.


We see Real Estate as a part or pillar of Facility Management. We describe Real Estate as everything that you can touch. A lot of services and parts of Facility Management are invisible. For example, the cleaning service or the temperature in the building. That’s why people still “forget” facilities management and it only sees as a cost center. But for real estate it’s a lot easier: all things you can physically see our touch, such as: the building, installations, you name it. 


That means that Real Estate is responsible for taking care of the building and all elements that are attached to the building. Let’s take a look what this means for every level of the Real Estate Department.


Strategic Level

On a strategic level this means that the team is responsible for the real estate strategy: where will offices be located? How much office space is needed? Should we lease or buy? For what duration do we need this space? How does this align with our company strategy? All this kind of questions should be answered by the Real Estate colleagues that work on strategic level. Usually, this is the Real Estate Director or Facilities Director. On a strategic level, Real Estate is often a part of the board and therefore able to adjust a new strategy quite soon in their own department. 


Tactical Level

On a tactical level, Real Estate is responsible for the leasing process, renovations, multi-annual maintenance plans, office relocations, space planning and several projects. What you see is that the strategy is translated to more practical project and operations. Usually we see that real estate falls under the responsibility of the Facility Manager. In some cases, where Real Estate is a huge or crucial part of the organization, a designated Real Estate manager is responsible for these duties.


Operational Level

And then we have Real Estate on an operational level, that’s where the magic really happens. Because a relocation or maintenance plan needs to be executed and therefore, we need our operational staff. Then we are talking about the maintenance staff but also a Real Estate coordinator who is in charge of daily operations. It’s up to the Real Estate Coordinator to coordinate the projects.


As explained earlier, in some countries or organizations, real estate is a separate entity from the Facility department but nevertheless, there should be a huge collaboration between real estate, facility management and workplace design. Suppose that the real estate team leases a new space. Once the deal is sealed (or hopefully even before that), the Facility Services team and the Workplace Design team come in to help figure out what the interior will look like, what floor layout matches the activities and needs of the users and what services are needed to make the workplace safe and comfortable. And that’s why a great collaboration is key to success! 

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