To read this content please select one of the options below:

The role of facilities managers in sustainable practice in the UK and Ireland

Xianhai Meng (School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of facilities managers in sustainable practice. It also analyzes the change in facilities management (FM) in terms of sustainability.


This research adopted a combination of literature review and expert interviews. Empirical data were collected through in-depth interviews with 40 industrial experts in the UK and Ireland.


The analysis of interview results shows a sustainable movement in the context of FM. Facilities managers play important roles in sustainable practice, including integrating all sustainability considerations, linking strategic level with operational level, incorporating FM knowledge and experience into design, disseminating sustainable knowledge and educating people and encouraging sustainability through innovation.

Research limitations/implications

This research goes beyond the limitations of existing studies that are characterized by a lack of positioning facilities managers in sustainability.

Practical implications

Sustainable delivery represents a direction of FM development. This research describes what facilities managers can do and how they should do for sustainable delivery of FM, based on which improvements are made and benefits are maximized.


This research provides a deeper insight into the FM role in the sustainable agenda. The findings of this research help industrial practitioners and academic researchers to better understand sustainable FM.



The author would like to acknowledge the participation of anonymous interviewees in this research. In addition to the interviewees from the industry, thanks should also be given to the postgraduate research students at the Queen's University Belfast for their help during the interviews.


Meng, X. (2014), "The role of facilities managers in sustainable practice in the UK and Ireland", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 23-34.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles