Asset management

Facilities Management is the term used for the process of managing and maintaining the physical fabric of the asset and managing the use of the asset. Thinking about what will be needed to manage and maintain it at the outset will help to ensure a better design and construction process that can reduce the need for maintenance or make managing the building easier.

The importance of how your asset will be managed and maintained, cannot be overestimated. Although land and buildings cost a lot to acquire, create or improve, they often cost a lot more in total running costs over their lifetime. 

Those looking at taking on a building may assume that it can provide income just by being let to others. That might be true for short periods of time, but it is also the case that land and buildings can be liabilities, partly because they cost a lot to run and maintain.

This is because land and particularly buildings are easily neglected. As inanimate objects they tend not to be the focus of very much interest unless something is wrong. They take a while to deteriorate but when they do, they can quickly become unfit for the purpose for which they were intended. Uncared for community centres and littered parks are eventually abandoned by their users, out-dated workspace and shops are quickly vacated and neglected housing becomes unfit to live in. They cease to be assets.

The key to avoiding this is to think ahead - planning how your asset will be managed to a high standard and ensuring the decisions made when it is built contribute towards a viable and sustainable future for the asset and the organisation running it. 

For example:

  • Large areas of glass may increase the building’s solar gain, reducing your lighting and heating bills. But you also need to think about the cost and ease of cleaning the glass regularly.
  • Centrally controlled lighting, heating, ventilation and security systems may promise better facilities management and reduced running costs, but can require the presence of trained individuals to operate them and can be expensive to maintain or repair.

This isn’t to say such features won’t be worthwhile, but you need to identify and plan for their costs before you consider including them in your building design. 

Planning ahead for the management and maintenance of the space will also enable your organisation to make sure it has the skills and knowledge in place to maintain and manage it effectively. The Build section has information on the design and construction process.


The amount of work involved in facilitates management will differ from asset to asset depending on the purpose of the asset, its size and complexity. Some assets may generate enough revenue to pay for dedicated property management staff if this is required; others may have to rely on  volunteers,  incorporate these activities into existing staff roles, or contract with a facilities management service.

Using checklists (at the bottom of this page) and conducting a whole life costing for the asset can help your team decide what approach they are going to take to facilities management, and to identify the costs of facilities management for inclusion in an initial assessment or Business Plan.

This process will also give your team time to consider how the building will be designed in relation to facilities management issues such as: security (e.g. alarm systems, how access to the building will be controlled), the amount of communal space and shared equipment that will need to be looked after, and so on. But remember, every organisation proposing to develop or take ownership of an asset must consider in detail those activities that they will have a legal responsibility for (for example in relation to health and safety or access for those with disabilities), and may therefore need to take specialist advice.  Links to appropriate contacts for the following activities can be found below.  

Legal considerations

Every organisation that has tenure of an asset, whether through an aset transfer or not, must consider in detail activities which carry specific legal responsiblities.  Here is an overview of what these might include but organisations should seek expert advice on specific issues when necessary.


Legal area

Issues and potential actions


The use of assets and equipment associated with them may be subject to specific licensing laws and agreements.

Examples of such licensing requirements relevant to facilities management include the serving of alcohol and playing of music. It is not solely the individual users of assets who need to obtain licenses and permissions but the building owners and managers who, under their duty of care and  responsibility, will require written evidence that licensing laws are being adhered to by tenants. Further information can be found here. 

Health and safety

All workplaces and managed facilities must adhere to health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), and to additional regulations covering first aid, hazardous substances and fire safety. Adherence requires regular inspections, risk assessments, formal reporting systems and evidence that staff, volunteers and users of the facility are informed about policies and practices.

Further information may be obtained here.

Fire precautions

In Scotland, these are covered by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations of 2006.

The fire safety regime requires persons with responsibilities for premises to ensure the safety of others by putting in place appropriate fire safety measures as indicated by a risk assessment. Responsibility for fire safety is in direct proportion to your level of control over the premises, and more than one person can have fire safety responsibilities. For example, a landlord, tenant or contractor could each have responsibilities, and are required to act in a co-ordinated and co-operative fashion. Employers always retain responsibility for the safety of their employees.

More information can be found here.

Children and vulnerable adults

There are very specific requirements about working with, and providing space for, these users. Advice should always be sought. Information on the Scottish ‘Protecting Vulnerable Groups’ scheme can be found here.

Further information is available from Disclosure Scotland.

Disability and access

Access to buildings and services for people with disabilities are covered by both reserved and devolved legislation, and is also a matter of good practice.

Disability Information Scotland provide a range of resources and guidance.


It is essential that an organisation is insured for the building in which it operates and also for the activity it undertakes within the building. Examples include buildings and contents, employers’ liability, professional indemnity and business continuity insurance etc.

Formal agreements  with users of the asset

When an asset is made available to use, the asset owners need to protect their own and others’ interests. The arising responsibilities will largely depend on the nature of the asset and its intended use.

Regardless of the exact nature of the asset it is important to manage the expectations of the users and to be clear about the terms in which their use is made possible. The formal setting out of agreed usage terms can take the form of a lease, licence or hire agreement. The type of agreement that is entered into will be determined by the nature of the asset, the legal structure or the organisation managing/owning it and the conditions under which it is allowed to make the asset available to others.

Useful Links

There is potential for funding for renewable technologies, insulation, etc via various community schemes. To find out more go to Community Energy Scotland  or the Energy Savings Trust.



Related Resources

Asset Management Checklist

This Asset Management Checklist can help your team decide what approach you are going to take to facilities management, and to identify the costs of facilities management for inclusion in an initial assessment or Business Plan.

PDF icon Asset Management Checklist