Poor Property Management among Government institutions. An empirical study of Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute
Essay 2016 13 Pages
Facility management which ideally forms part of management in practice is sidelined in the financial planning and capital budgeting of most public institutions in Ghana. The indications are shown in the derelict cascades of most public institutions. The Study made an empirical investigation into the causes and effects of poor property management on government institutions with a focus on Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Relevant Related Literature was reviewed from the works of other researchers to set the framework and boundary for this research piece. The research design that was adopted for this study was mainly descriptive because of the nature of the data which were basically qualitative. The survey instruments that were used in the data collection were basically interviews and the researcher’s personal observation. The study identified that deferred maintenance and poor maintenance culture are the most severe causes of poor facility management which are aggravated by the use of inappropriate materials. Poor designs of buildings, total indiscipline in the use of the facilities and budgetary restrictions. It was identified that the two institutions had no qualified facility managers but relied on maintenance teams selected from among teaching and non-teaching staff. These teams had no property knowledge. The study also revealed that the two institutions had no funds meant for maintenance and thus relied on funds from the central government in which the procurement process is practically bedeviled with bureaucracy. The study also revealed that the effects of poor facility management hunt the institutions in the forms of financial erosion, poor property outlook, threatens the safety of the inhabitants and expensing of heavy sums of funds to right management wrongs. The study finally recommended that facility management should be allocated an attentive portion in the financial and capital budgeting of public institutions.
Keywords: Facilities Management, Public Institution, Empirical.
Facility management in general is crucial at all stages of property development. The inclusion of which will not only safe the institution colossal sums of money but will increase the economic lives of the buildings concerned and provide security for the lives of the inhabitants of such buildings. A critical survey or inspection of the buildings in the government or public institutions reveals a rather bad state of property management. This is evident in the poor state of maintenance of the buildings. A visit to Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute explains a rather poor state of maintenance of the buildings in the schools.
The poor state of maintenance of the buildings might not only be seen as a manifestation of the inability of management to perform its janitorial services but puts the lives of the people habiting such structures on the line and as well showcasing poorer property management image of the schools. Nearly all the buildings in the two schools are either due for extensive renovation or for a general overhaul to restore them to serviceable state to meet the standard for habitation.
The state of the buildings reveals the need to bridge the yawning gap between the state of repairs of the building and their entire expected standard of serviceability. As a matter of professionalism, the unclassified statistics of the financial erosion by property maintenance are concerning but behind them are those sad stories that have become the dogma and dictum of the school concerning building maintenance. The researcher is very optimistic if nothing is done about the poor state of the buildings, it will become a recipe for disaster either in the form of collapse or the expending of heavy sums to restore the buildings. The researcher believes management of the two schools are aware of the state of the buildings. Therefore, this research paper intends to empirically investigate the causes and effects of the poor facilities management to the schools communities and the government as a whole and to suggest ways of improving the state of facilities management in the two schools and other government or public institutions.
The objectives of the research included: to identify the type of facility management in the two schools, to identify the causes of the poor facilities management, to identify the effects of the poor facilities management and to suggest practical and specific ways of improving the state of facilities management in the two schools.
The research questions included: what are the type of facility management practiced in the two schools? What are the causes of the poor state of the facilities management in the two schools? What are the effects of the poor state of the facilities management in the two schools? And what are the practical and specific ways of improving the state of facilities management in the two schools?
1.1 Scope of the study.
The study shall be limited to Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute. However, the findings could be a general impression for nearly all government institutions. The study shall undertake an empirical investigation into the causes and effects of the poor facilities management in Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute. This is because the two schools are public schools and therefore affords the researcher to investigate the problem empirically.
1.2 Significance of the study
The thesis shall form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical power.
The findings and recommendations shall aid and guide policy formulation regarding the facility management and associated issues in the Bawku Municipality.
1.3 Limitation to the study
A couple of limitation were encountered in the research process. Thus, the research took longer than the researcher planned and the Researcher realized that the sample frame and sample size used was insufficient
2.0 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Literatures relating to facilities management were reviewed to set the framework for the investigation. Previous studies relating to facilities were briefly reviewed and they included definitions of facility management, the concept of deferred maintenance, causes and effects of poor facilities management and the contribution of facility management.
2.1 Definition of Facility management
The precise definition to facility management has undergone a great controversy among experts, practitioners and academician in the academic community. However, it worth noting that there is no general definition given to the term. This is because it is geographic specific and every country has her own definition depending on the activities which constitutes the concept.
For the purposes of this paper, Facilities Management has been described as, an integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting the buildings and infrastructure of an organization in order to create an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organization. This stemmed from the motivation that this definition is most applicable in the Ghanaian context. Another issue of controversy has been whether Facility management is the synonymous to estate or property management. This again has raised burning controversy in the academic community. Some believe it is the same as estate management and others hold the view that facility management is a component of estate management.
For the purposes of this paper and in the Ghanaian context, facility management is a subset of estate management. Nearly all the activities under facility management forms a section of estate management in Ghana. In additions estate management as course of study comprises facility management, rent and tenant management among others.
Facility management Services in Ghana includes building fabric maintenance, air conditioning maintenance, decoration and refurbishment , lift and escalator maintenance, plant maintenance , fire safety system maintenance, plumbing and drainage, minor project management, cleaning, recycling, security, handyman services, grounds maintenance, waste disposal among others
2.2 The concept of Deferred Maintenance
Deferred Maintenance has been defined by practitioners and experts in a number of ways. Yusof et al (2007) described deferred maintenance as is maintenance that was not performed when it should have been or was scheduled to be and which, is put off or delayed for a future period. This seems to be the basic view relating to the concept. However, it stills contains the elements of deferred maintenance in Ghana.
Levitt (1996) rather opined that deferred maintenance to consist of a management practice where all of the work that needs to be done that you chooses not to do. In effect he asserted that postponing maintenance due to another date with an excuse of attending to other major maintenance concerns.
Kaiser (2004) asserted a definition of wider scope by opining that deferred maintenance is maintenance and repair deficiencies that are unfunded at the end of the fiscal year on a planned or unplanned basis and are deferred to a future budget cycle or postponed until funds are available.
There is an unclassified statistics that in Ghana and most parts of the world, maintenance forms the greatest component of facility management process. This has been stressed that the neglect of maintenance or sustained inattention of maintenance alone is enough to constitute poor facility management. Deferred maintenance is common practice in Ghana emanating from procrastination, lack of property maintenance knowledge or in most cases, lack of funds.
2.3 Causes of poor facility management
A number of factors account for poor facility management. Literature in the area spells several causes to poor facility management. Yusof et al (2007) identified that a major cause of poor facility management can be attributed to insufficient funds and resources. These resources include financial and human resources. This include lack of facility managers for some organizations. This asseveration is however context specific because organizations including institutions that train property experts have been known to have poor building outlook which are conspicuous signs of poor facility management.
Budget restrictions on the amount to be expended on maintenance, lack of property maintenance knowledge by facility manager and the attitude of deferred maintenance by facility owners and managers has also been identified as some of the causes of poor facility management among institutions (Keith, 2007). This is rather most applicable in the Ghanaian situation because, the institutions that train property professionals are few comprising two universities and a polytechnic. These professionals are employed in other institutions and consequently fewer institutions will definitely employ the professionals. Besides, a sizable number of the citizens s, they do not know the contribution of facility management to the finances of the institutions or may they cannot afford the salary of the professionals.
Wordsworth (2000) and Hinks (2004) opined that maintenance as a part of facility management is given a lower priority in capital budgeting. To a great extend some institutions have no funds earmarked for maintenance, repairs and major renovations. They both believed that facility management is not given a higher priority and as a result maintenance activities are viewed as discretionary and hence deferrable. The results of this low priority on maintenance has manifested in poor facility management.
Blair (2004) associated poor facility management to inadequate facility management planning and funding. Weather elements rather speed up the ages and deterioration of facility and the corresponding deferred maintenance is also known to be a cause of poor facility management (Weidner, 1999). Blair (2004) and (Woodward, 2002) opined that some organizations rather place emphasis on the future capital needs of their movable assets and without a similar planning for facilities (non-current asset) and it has been identified one of the causes of poor facility management.
Lack of understanding concerning the impact maintenance as a part of facility management and the need to allocate substantial funds to cater for such needs have also been opined by (Kaiser, 2004) and (Worthing, 1994) to be a cause of poor facility management in institutions.
2.4 Effects of poor property management on institutions
Poor facility management is one of the negligent practices that bedevil several institutions around the world regarding finances and facilities aesthetics. A number of effects have been identified by researchers in the field.
Pressure on future financial budgets, increased safety hazards, poor service to the facility users, exorbitant future costs in trying to right the facility management wrongs and inefficient service delivery have been identified by Yusof et al (2007) to be some effects of poor facility management. This is very applicable in the Ghanaian perspectives as most organization tend to abandon projects as a result of exorbitant expenses. Some organizations have recorded collapse of buildings claiming several lives in that regard. Pragmatic examples includes the collapse of the Melcom building (also known as the Melcom disaster) and collapse of a dormitory in Yaa Asantewaa Girls Senior High School in Ghana just a couple of years back.
(Kaiser and Jerry, 1996) also agrees with Yusof et al (2007) that poor facility management has a devastating financial effect on institutions. These researchers all identified that colossal sums of money are often expended to right facility management wrongs in the future. These are mostly emanating from the consequences of deferred maintenance. The import of this has been that finances of institutions are eroded or maintenance and renovations budgets become so astronomical that buildings are abandoned for good.
(Poidevin and Perry, 2004) opined that health and safety threats are some of the effects of poor facility management. Deferred maintenance as a part of facility management often leads to corrosion of some equipment increasing the chances of tetanus and collapse of buildings. The cost of poor facility management has manifested in several health and safety threats and in worst cases, loss of lives.
Yusof et al (2007) found from their study that poor facility management can lead to building deficiencies and short economic lives of building. Buildings are subject to wear and tear or structural depreciation in response to their maintenance neglect which are often manifested in poor facility management. Depreciation in its severe state will reduce the economic lives of buildings and render such buildings in to dilapidation or state of derelict.
2.5 Contribution of Facility Management
The contribution of facility management to an institution cascades in myriad dimensions. This could range from providing a sense of security and safety for the users of such buildings through to saving institutions huge sums of money which could have been used to right some facility management wrongs. The literature reviewed had a number of opinions and views regarding the contribution of facility management.
Alexander (1996) opined that facility management augments the overall management strategies and goals of an institution. Facility management according to him coddles economic and financial resources on meeting user needs. This in turn supports major roles of users and management of the institution and also strives in a continuum to reduce risks, ensure value for money and improve quality.
Facility Management is known to be a financial conserving tool for institutions. The significance of facility management to public institutions cannot be over-emphasized. It is understandable that institutions without facility managers and who do not pay careful attention to facility management might have to incur unholy sums of money just for maintenance or major janitorial services that has accumulated as a result of the neglect. Facility management tends to address these and other major challenges associated with health of buildings and facilities. And this in turn conserves the values of most non-current asset.
Grimshaw and Keeffe (1993) identified in their study that facility management helps to marry the buildings and facilities to the natural environment. Their study established that there exist an inextricable link between the efficiency of an institution and the physical environment within which the institution operates and that facility management improves the built environment and surges the performances and efficiency of an institution. This view is however surviving in theory as most building designs do not marry facilities with the natural environment in the case of Bawku.
Facility management has the advantage of ensuring that facilities and buildings are maintained to the acceptable standard of serviceability and habitation. This has the general impacts of minimizing to the barest minimum buildings and facility cabalisms. In this façade, Facilities management ensures that its buildings, systems and services support the institution’s core operation and processes. It also contributes to the achievement of an institution’s strategic objectives in changing condition.
Barret and Baldry (2003) rather established that ‘facilities management is an integrated approach to maintaining, improving and adapting the building of an organization in order to create an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organization. This is closely relating to the views expressed by Grimshaw and Keeffe (1993)
2.6 Appraisal of the Literature Review.
The relevant literature comprised: definition of facility management and the concept of deferred maintenance, the contribution of facility management as well as previous works on causes and effects of poor facility management. The reviewed identified that the causes of poor facility management included insufficient funds and resources, budget restrictions on the amount to expend on maintenance, lack of property maintenance knowledge by facility manager and the attitude of deferred maintenance by facility owners, low priority on facility management in capital budgeting and lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the impact of maintenance and some facility management practices.
The review also identified a number of effects resulting from poor facility management and they included Pressure on future financial budgets, increased safety hazards, poor service delivery to the facility users, exorbitant future costs in trying to right the facility management wrongs and inefficient service delivery, devastating financial effects on institutions, health and safety threats, building deficiencies and short economic lives of building.
In a nutshell, the literature that was reviewed had a general deficiency of been too old resulting from the fact that the earliest literature dates back to 1994 and the most recent one in 2007 and besides, they were not conducted by Ghanaian researchers. This certainly calls for a new empirical investigation to unravel the conundrum which forms the foundation of this paper.
3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND MATERIALS
Research methodology is an important component of any study and provides the framework on which the whole process is based (Brown, 1996). This component presents the research methodology of the study. It describes and justifies the methods and processes that were used in order to collect data in answering the research questions. The component also focused on the research design adopted, sampling techniques, the key study variables, the various tools and techniques employed in gathering the data and units of analysis. The rest are the sources of data and methods of data collection as well the methods that were adopted in the data processing, analysis and reporting. It also describes how the study was conducted.
It first and foremost gives the description of the study areas and then the key elements of the research methodology employed which are the research design, data collection strategies and instruments employed and data analysis and the techniques employed.
3.1 A Brief Profiling of the study areas
Bawku Senior High School
The school was constructed in 1963 and located in the Upper East Region of Ghana. It has a current staff population of 106. Thus; there are 86 teaching staff and 20 non-teaching staff. Majority (65) of the teaching staff are been accommodated in the bungalows whereas all the non-teaching staff are not accommodated in the school.
The school has a student population of 3000 all been accommodated in the school because it is a public boarding school. The school has 10 classrooms blocks for students, 24 bungalows, 1 standard library, 1 computer block, 1 administration block, an entertainment hall, 2 dining halls, and 2 workshops, 4 dormitories (two-storey buildings each, 6 Kumasi Ventilation Improvement Programme, 10 seater Water Closet for staff. The school is practicing an in-house facility management type where the facilities are managed by a maintenance team comprising only staffs of which they all have no relevant knowledge in building management
Bawku Technical Institute
The school was constructed in 1987 and located in the Upper East Region of Ghana. It has a current staff population of 82. Thus; there are 67 teaching staff and 15 non-teaching staff. A greater number of the staff (60) of the teaching staff are been accommodated in the bungalows whereas all the non-teaching staff are not accommodated in the school.
The school has a student population of 2400 all been accommodated in the school the school because it is a public boarding school. The school has 14 classrooms blocks for students, 24 bungalows for staff, 1 standard library, 1 computer block, 1 administration block, an entertainment hall, 2 dining halls, and 2 workshops, 4 dormitories (two-storey buildings each, 6 Kumasi Ventilation Improvement Programme, 5 seater Water Closet for staff. The school is also practicing an in-house facility management type e school is practicing an in-house facility management type where the facilities are managed by a maintenance team comprising only staff of which just one or two of them had little relevant knowledge in building management
3.2 Research design
The use of a suitable research design is crucial so as to ensure that the evidence obtained enables the researcher to answer the research questions. Hence, the research design that was adopted for the study was mainly the Descriptive. This Survey Research Design looks at small populations (samples) to discover the relative incidence, distribution, and interrelations of variables. It relied upon the questioning of a selective group (sample) of a population and analyzing data in order to answer or describe set characteristics (Saunders et al, 1997).
The survey instrumentations that were adopted and applied for the study were basically interviews and the researcher’s observation. Background and facilities/buildings data were collected by interviewing the two maintenance teams of Bawku Senior High School and Bawku Technical Institute.
The two schools were selected because they both have bad buildings outlook in general calling for the attention of concerned members. The maintenance teams comprising 7 members of staffs with the Assistant Headmasters (Domestic) and Senior Housemasters of the two schools in equal numbers were picked (purposefully selected) out of the complete maintenance teams.
In each of the schools, the names of the Assistant Headmasters (Domestic) and Senior Housemasters were known as a result of previous relationship and were contacted directly to be interviewed using structured questions.
The high level of homogeneity in view of the number of buildings and technical background of the study area informed the selection of the two schools. This was done purposely to capture the opinions of the varied schools on the subject matter and also ensured triangulations.
3.3 Data collection strategies and instruments used
Based on the epistemological and ethical considerations, as well as the chosen design, the researcher found it appropriate to approach the research from a qualitative standpoints. This allowed the data to be analyzed in a descriptive domain.
3.4 Data analysis and presentation
The data collected from the maintenance teams of the two schools were put into thematic areas comprising the type of facility management, knowledge of the maintenance team, causes of the poor facilities management, and the effects of the poor facilities management. They were accordingly expatiated to facilitate better understanding of the reported findings. This afforded the identification of trends and patterns in the interrelated variables of interest.
4.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Age and number of Facilities
The data established that Bawku Senor High School was far older (53years) than Bawku Technical Institute (29years). The data surprisingly rather revealed that Bawku High School had more buildings (61 facilities) and 3 buildings under construction to accommodate staff than Bawku Technical Institute (60 facilities). These buildings were all been managed by the maintenance teams of the two school with all members of the teams having just or no basic knowledge in facilities management.
4.2 Type of facility management
It was also established from the data the two schools were both practicing the in-house facilities management approach where the maintenance team who are responsible for the management of the facilities were being part of the general management of the school. The Teams comprised teaching staff and non-teaching staff selected from among the staff to take care of the facilities but as to the criteria for their selection, team heads who were interviewed refused to disclose that. It was discovered also that maintenance teams of both schools met twice in a term (3months). They meet at the beginning of the term and discuss pertinent issues and implement them and they meet at the ending part of the term to evaluate their works.
4.3 Management Heads/ Maintenance Teams
The study also identified that both schools have the Assistant Headmaster (Domestic) been the chairmen of their respective maintenance teams and they both had the Senior Housemaster (administration) been the deputy heads of the maintenance teams.
4.4 Causes of poor maintenance culture in Facility management
The study identified that poor maintenance culture was a devastating component of the poor facility management in the Schools. It was also identified that deferred maintenance was a common practice in the schools but the researcher subjected deferred maintenance to be a subset of poor maintenance culture. A number of factors motivated the poor maintenance culture in the schools.
a. The study established that Poor designs of buildings as against the physical conditions of the area, climatic conditions, culture of the inhabitants, and activities of the people makes maintenance works a serious challenge to the occupants of the buildings and the estate as a whole.
b. The study revealed that another factor that leads to poor maintenance culture in the study areas is the use of inappropriate materials for the construction of their buildings
c. The study a rather established an unfathomable cause of poor maintenance culture to be linked to the total indiscipline in the use of the facilities in buildings which led to the frequent breakdown of most facilities.
d. Furthermore, the study also revealed that two schools have quite a number of buildings and had no corresponding well trained and facility manager to manage the buildings and besides the budgetary restrictions on the amount to be used for facilities management has encouraged this culture among the maintenance team of the schools.
4.5 Causes of the poor property management
The nucleus of the investigation was to identify the causes of the poor facilities management and consequently identify the reasons for the delay responses to repair and renovation issues of the facilities in the two schools. The data identified a numbers of causes which are individually dangerous and collectively capable of shortening the economic life of the facilities.
a. The research established that all the members of the maintenance teams have rather very little or no knowledge in facilities management. And therefore the carrying out of maintenance inspection periodically, the preparation of maintenance report and schedule to regulate and regularize the facilities maintenance was completely absent.
b. The research also revealed that despite the lack of knowledge of the maintenance teams relating to facilities management, the teams are not always involved in buildings constructions at the design stage. Thus; the teams managed and maintained facilities and buildings they do not understand.
c. The study also revealed that indiscipline among the users of the facilities is a great cause of the delay in property repair and the resulting poor facilities management.
d. The study also unraveled that there was no fund specifically meant for facilities management as part of the schools’ budget. Funds that are meant for other areas of general management are diverted some times to right some wrongs in the property management. And besides the central government through the Ghana Education Service regulate the expenses on maintenance and have placed a limit beyond which only central government should take care of.
e. The study also established that bureaucracy in the process of getting funds from the central government to finance major repairs and renovations also a cause of delay in response to facilities management issues. The teams of both schools and other schools would have to pass through a chain of officers and numbers in trying to secure funds from the central government. The difficulties in getting approval from government to undertake certain maintenance works was also identified as one of the causes of delay in maintenance responses.
f. The capital intensive nature of major repairs resulting from the delay in responding to maintenance calls at the early stages of repairs appearance was also identified as a cause of poor facility management. Major repairs been subject to bidding were also identified as a cause of delay maintenance and the resulting poor facilities management.
4.6 Effects of poor facilities management
The researcher sought to identify empirically the effects of the poor maintenance practices or the effects of the delay in response to the maintenance needs on the schools. The following were identified.
a. The delay in response to maintenance was identified by the maintenance teams to be creating recipes for disasters in anticipation of collapse or other hazards.
b. The study also established that such maintenance delays were liable to cause financial erosion to both the schools and the central government.
c. The data then established that the attitude of the poor facilities maintenance led to the abandonment, malfunctioning and non-use of the extremely derelict buildings. This was seen a waste in the finances of the schools and the central government.
d. The effects were also identified in cases where the estimated cost of restoring the buildings to the required standard of serviceability and habitation been nearly the estimated cost of constructing two new buildings (storey buildings for that matter).
e. The poor facilities management also gloomed the visual outlook and aesthetic impressions of the concerned institutions.
f. The effects of the poor facilities management was also seen to be creating a threat to the users of such dilapidated buildings. Those residing in such buildings put their lives at risk in cases of collapse
5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Based on the findings of the study, the researcher has provided the following recommendation as mechanisms he considers very necessary and sufficient to control and manage the causes of the poor facility management and to avoid the effects or minimize their impact on the institution and their stakeholders.
a. The study recommends that institutions with a sizeable number of buildings beyond 3; all operating within the same environment should have a facility manager to oversee the well-being of the building. And if the institution cannot afford a facility manager, it should consider providing relevant facility management training to those in charge of facility management
b. The study also recommends that facility managers or members of any team responsible for facility management of an institution should be a part of the design stages to avoid facility managers taking care of facilities they have no knowledge about. In extreme cases, if the facilities are already established, management should find facility management and maintenance manuals of similar facilities to provide the manager firsthand information on how to manage such facilities
c. The attitude of deferred maintenance and the poor maintenance culture as components of facility management should be avoided. This can be achieved by developing a facility maintenance plan and schedule. This plan should be followed to the letter and the management of the entire institution should insist that the plan be followed.
d. It is highly recommended that management should establish effective and operational punitive measures in cases of indiscipline of the users been a maintenance generating factor. In the case of tenants, rent escalator clauses should be included in the lease agreement indicating the operating expenses beyond which would be borne by tenant. This will help regulate the conduct of the occupants of the buildings. In the case of students, high damage fees should be charged on those found guilty of indiscipline conducts associated with the use of buildings.
e. It is also recommended that considering the disastrous consequences of facility management neglect, it should be a part of the institution’s capital and financial budgeting. Therefore institutions should earmark some funds just for facility management and associated occurrences. This would help to avoid deferred maintenance on grounds of lack of funds.
f. It is recommended that since maintenance is the greatest component of facility management, minor repair works should be corrected as and when they occur to avoid such from developing into extensive maintenance requirements.
It can be conclude that the research findings confirms most of the issues from the literature review but the study has however identified that the main causes of poor facility management in public institutions is deferred maintenance and poor maintenance culture.
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