Partner Channels

The Definitive Source of Information on the Following Subjects:

Building Automation | Building Envelope | Commercial Roofing | Cooling
Energy Measurement | LED Lighting | Lighting Control | Site Furnishings

FM Frequency: Do You Know What I Mean?

Written by Retired Columnist. Posted in Columnists, FM Frequency, Magazine, Retired Columnists

Tagged: ,

Published on July 18, 2003 with No Comments

By Jeff Crane, P.E., LEED® AP
Published in the July 2003 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Don’t you just love the buzzwords flying around this profession? It’s so easy to identify consultants and sales people; simply count how many of these pearls are used in each sentence. (No offense to these folks; I was a salesperson before becoming a facility manager, and I hope to become an obscenely high priced consultant once I have enough gray hair to prove I have tons of experience!)

Think you know this business? Put your knowledge to the test this month and tackle the following multiple choice, vocabulary challenge!

DIRECTIONS: Choose answer A or B in order to identify the most accurate description of each vocabulary word.

Audit noun
a) A critical part of a sales process. Step one typically consists of a “free” service designed to tell executives all the things the facility manager is doing wrong. Step two includes billing a company for 30 days of report writing resulting in an unbudgeted expense equal to three times the facility manager’s annual salary. Occasionally, a third step will be thrown in to make the facility manager redundant.
b) A thorough inspection of the base building, interior development, and infrastructure; also used as a tool to provide senior management with the cost of capital renewal programs on which to base strategic facility planning.

Benchmarking noun
a) A tool for applying favorable, yet inapplicable “standards” to aspects of an operation with the expectation of securing accolades, raises, and career advancement opportunities.When performed properly, a benchmark can also be referred to as “blowing smoke.”
b) The continuous process of measuring products, services, and practices against the toughest competitors of those companies recognized as industry leaders.

Downsizing noun
a) A popular weight loss program requiring a diet soda with every double cheeseburger and supreme size fries order.
b) A reduction in the workforce.

Ergonomics noun
a) The practice of purchasing expensive, uncomfortable furnishings to prevent absenteeism and lawsuits. It can also become a course of study for orthographically (look it up) challenged college applicants in search of an economics curriculum.
b) The study of equipment design in order to reduce operator fatigue and discomfort.

Footprint noun
a) The net effect on a facility manager’s budget when receiving notificationof unexpected utility rate increases. Footprints are typically 5% to 9% peryear in regulated markets. In California, footprints and rolling blackouts can be unpredictable and have wreaked havoc on facilities budget managers over the past several years.
b) The working square footage required to support a particular function; this often includes space for furniture as well as chair movement and circulation.

Harmonics noun
a) The sound created when occupants simultaneously notice an HVAC or power failure. Even minor harmonics are typically followed by loud and colorful profanity. Giggles and chuckles following loud and colorful profanity are considered unprofessional and should be avoided by facility professionals who seek career advancement. Harmonics preceded by the words “Hey, watch this!” should be investigated, as they may not be accidental.
b) Distortion in an electrical distribution system.

Gross Area noun
a) Kitchens and bathrooms. Enough said.
b) The sum of floor areas within the outside faces of the exterior walls for all building levels which have floor surfaces.

Intelligent Buildings noun
a) Facilities capable of identifying the worst possible moments to have critical system failures and “harmonics.” (See previous definition.) Despite the architect’s flashy presentation, intelligent buildings may create some of the greatest challenges for talented facility managers.
b) Buildings that are designed with a flexibility to accommodate change.

Punch List noun
a) Formal list of occupants who have complained about the scent of the soap or texture of the toilet paper. Punch lists can be expanded to include people who chronically complain about temperature, lighting, furniture, colors, or water fountains.
b) A list of deficiencies, incomplete, or unacceptable work items compiled by the project manager during the final inspection of a project.

Telecommuting noun
a) Term used to describe sleeping until 9:30 a.m. and working on a laptop computer while wearing pajamas, drinking beer, watching ESPN/soap operas, and/or babysitting. Telecommuting is becoming more common as consultant audits and benchmarks convince executives not to invest in intelligent buildings with gross areas, footprints, harmonics, and numerous punch lists.
b) Work arrangement program where employees work at a location other than a typical office. This place may be the home or an alternate (satellite) office close to home.

Value Engineering noun
a) The practice of removing any new technology resembling value during a construction or renovation project. Typically proposed by a subcontractor unfamiliar with the technology in question; since s/he has never used it, obviously it must not work.
b) Evaluation of construction methods and/or materials to determine which have the net result of reducing costs consistent with specified performance, reliability, maintainability, aesthetic, safety, and security criteria.

Virtual Corporation noun
a) Companies with no business model, negative earnings, and soaring stock prices. Virtual corporations were most common in the 1990s and fueled by day traders, executives, and Wall Street analysts with “virtual” ethics.
b) Businesses that are composed of independent individuals and/or businesses that provide the physical resources of the corporation. Though operating from separate locations, they function together as an integrated business entity. There is no physical headquarters from which the enterprise is run.

So, how did you do? Did some of the answers stump you?

You might be surprised to learn that in each instance, the second answer (b) comes courtesy of the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) Web site. However, that doesn’t mean answer (a) isn’t applicable in certain situations!

Crane is a mechanical engineer and regional property manager with Childress Klein Properties, a leading real estate developer and property management services provider in the Southeast.

About Retired Columnist

This expert formerly served as regular contributor to Today’s Facility Manager magazine. His vast knowledge of the facility management profession continues to provide a rich resource for facility managers by way of this online archive.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on FM Frequency: Do You Know What I Mean?. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment