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Influence of Chinese geomancy on facilities operations and maintenance (FOM)

Sui Pheng Low (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Shang Gao (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Jun Kai Ang (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 3 April 2018




There have recently been an increasing number of scientific studies exploring the effectiveness of practising Chinese geomancy or feng shui in the built environment. However, these are rather generic studies focusing mainly on urban planning, architecture and interior design. The impetus for this present research stems from the lack of understanding relating to the practice of feng shui in Facilities Management (FM). Bridging these two disciplines, this study examines the relevance of and relationship between feng shui and FM principles.


A questionnaire survey was conducted, the results of which affirm the validity of the assimilated relationships between the two disciplines. Interviews with three groups of experts – the feng shui practitioners, facilities managers and feng shui practitioners who are also building professionals – were also conducted to verify the assimilation of the two disciplines with a view to draw new perspectives for better understanding.


The principles of feng shui and FM were studied, and the validity of the relationships between 15 feng shui principles and three FM activities were examined. The latter relates specifically to building fabric cleaning, routine external site/lot cleaning and road and pavement cleaning. It was found that specific feng shui principles and scenarios appear to influence the three FM activities. The statistical analysis shows that the means of specific feng shui scenarios in relation to FM activities were consistently higher than those of the feng shui principles. The one-sample t-test indicates that all the feng shui principles were significant in affecting the three FM activities.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a better understanding of the relevance of feng shui principles influencing FM principles. It also revealed the challenges and limitations in bridging the relationships between these two disciplines.


This study is the first investigation to examine the relevance and relationship between feng shui and FM practice. This serves to encourage further research to determine how feng shui design implementation will affect the ease of conducting FM activities. If the relationship is established, as is the case from this study, then the implementation of feng shui principles in building design can be encouraged to positively influence the ease of conducting FM activities downstream in the occupancy stage. This can serve to contribute to the improvement of sustainable building design. It can also contribute to the scientific investigation of feng shui, which has so far been largely overlooked in built environment studies. Such studies can help to demystify and provide logical and scientific interpretations of how feng shui principles actually work.



Low, S.P., Gao, S. and Ang, J.K. (2018), "Influence of Chinese geomancy on facilities operations and maintenance (FOM)", Facilities, Vol. 36 No. 5/6, pp. 308-325.



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