10 Minutes with FM Expert Vincent Cicchino
With more than 20 years of work experience, Vincent Cicchino, CFM, is a facilities management professional specializing in health care facilities. He recently served as Deputy Chief for Health Facilities Development for Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar. There he was a member of the Executive Management Committee and had responsibilities for all healthcare sites in Qatar.
As an FM pro, he has overseen $12.2B in construction worldwide. He is an expert in asset management, operational optimization, and compliance management. We recently spoke with Cicchino about how facilities managers can save money, reduce risk, find the right technology, and more.
ARC: Why should a facilities manager care if her facility documents are inaccurate, out of date, or even missing?
VC: If you’re a responsible facilities manager, you have to know what you’re responsible for. You cannot do your job properly without the correct information. If you don’t have proper records on the state of your facilities, you can’t do your job as a facilities manager. Without accurate documentation, you can’t even get a good bid from a vendor for work on your building. The first thing they will ask is, Where are the As-Built drawings? Without the As-Builts, the bid could be much higher.
ARC: Isn’t there an urgent need to have building documents instantly available for responders during a crisis, as well as other reasons to strive to have error-free facilities documents?
VC: You can more effectively handle tough repairs during an emergency situation, if you know your building’s documents are correct. But having to troubleshoot to find the problem could mean unnecessary demolition, greater inconvenience, and higher repair costs.
ARC: If a facilities manager is trying to get a handle on his organization’s construction documents, how should he begin that process?
VC: The first thing they should do is an asset assessment. They need to detail the condition of all the main equipment and systems, and document those conditions. No technology can help you unless you document what you have. After the assessment, you should create and begin a proactive maintenance program, as well as an equipment replacement plan—that should be a 3-year to 5-year plan. Even if the piece of equipment is 30 years old, you need to know when you need to replace it.
ARC: To choose a better tool for handling documents, where should a facilities manager start?
VC: Do your homework. Check with professional organizations, trade organizations, and industry magazines and see what’s out there. And when considering a company to help with managing your records, check their history because track records do matter.
ARC: Facilities managers have a variety of tools for improving their workflows, but isn’t the search for the right tech sometimes about overcoming misconceptions?
VC: As a facilities manager, you’re always fighting to replace pieces of equipment, and you often need to justify the expense. But if you’ve got a capital improvements program and your finance people are aware of it, they realize a certain amount of money is going to be spent on capital improvements.
ARC: For many companies, won’t digitalizing out-of-date documents be a part of the process of getting current?
VC: Yes, and a lot of firms can help with digitizing records. But it’s not going to be cheap to digitalize plans and put together an organized system—it costs money. People want a tangible ROI for that. After assessing the client’s needs, the consultant must provide that ROI.
ARC: How can managers convince their bosses of the need to invest in a fully mobile, digitalized system of facilities document storage?
VC: It begins with the vendor getting the facilities manager’s attention. You won’t get my attention unless you’ve proven you already can do the work. You need to show your experience and provide client references.
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