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SummaryIncreasing complexities of high-rise living has led to the rise of facility management professionals.

Once we finally settle into that dream home, it is usually the mundane worries that take over. Haven’t we, living in high rise apartments, often witnessed that the generators are not usually turned on the minute there is a power cut, or that someone will have to shout from the rooftops to the security guard downstairs to turn the water pump on? It is teething troubles such as these, that we usually have to negotiate as part of that ‘dream home’ experience. Once settled, it is hassle-free living that anyone longs for.

This longing has translated into a huge business opportunity called facilities management that has over the last decade, grown to keep pace with the many high-rises that dot our horizon.

The concept is not new, having been in existence in the commercial realty space for a while, where housekeeping services were a necessity. In the context of residences, such services were usually understood to mean cleaning, garbage removal, a bit of landscaping and security. The operators were usually (and still are) unorganised with varying levels of service and had no clear standards or benchmarks, or even trained personnel.

ENTER, THE PROFESSIONAL

That has, however, changed with the entry of organised professionals in this space. “Earlier the concept of appointing a professional service partner was restricted to a very few residential developments and that too, if the project was done by a corporate developer focused on a niche/ high net worth individual segment. In recent years, with global exposure, demand for luxury homes and sophistication in residential construction have prompted large developers to tie-up with professional property management companies,” says Nellie Samuel, director, facilities management at Knight Frank India.

Knight Frank was the first global property services firm to make its presence in India in the facilities management space when it started the division in 1996. Today, it caters to a niche segment and manages 22 residential complexes in metros all across the country, with Mumbai accounting for the highest number.

The people who monitor the personnel and manage the facilities are highly trained and are drawn from varied backgrounds such as hospitality management, engineering and the armed forces. Personnel who handle the equipment usually have experience in handling industrial machinery. The housekeeping staff are recruited from manpower agencies and trained well to perform their job.

“Training is provided on a daily basis to the basic level staff, which includes the houseboys and security

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