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Role of FM professionals in mitigating unforeseen circumstances


FM professionals can enhance their resilience to rain accumulation and reduce disruptions by strengthening their infrastructure against flooding, performing regular maintenance checks, and utilising advanced technologies.


Filed under
Facilities Management
May 14, 2024
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Role of FM professionals in mitigating unforeseen circumstances

The UAE is among the fastest-growing Facilities Management (FM) markets globally and is expected to reach 7.62 billion USD in 2024. FM professionals play a key role in ensuring the smooth functioning of various infrastructures, ranging from commercial buildings to public facilities. However, their significance becomes even more pronounced when unforeseen circumstances, such as excessive rain accumulation, pose challenges to these structures.  The large volume of water accumulation due to heavy or continued rainfall can lead to many issues, including flooding, structural damage, electrical hazards, and mold growth. Particularly in urban areas with limited drainage systems, rain accumulation can escalate into a major crisis if not managed effectively. 

The UAE recently faced an exceptional weather event, with the heaviest rainfall in its recorded history. 

According to the National Centre of Meteorology, the country's highest rainfall level in the eastern emirate of Al Ain reached 254.8 mm (10 inches) in less than 24 hours. Within just 24 hours, the country experienced rainfall surpassing its average annual precipitation, accompanied by powerful winds reaching speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. This extreme weather event revealed vulnerabilities in the UAE's critical infrastructure, notably roads and runways. The heavy rain highlighted the challenge of a built environment made for a hot and dry climate. The effects of the flooding were felt for several days, causing significant disruptions to transportation and raising concerns about the resilience of the city's infrastructure in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. However,  in Dubai, facility management stood as a cornerstone in safeguarding properties and ensuring business continuity amidst heavy rainfall. Through meticulous risk assessment, proactive measures, and strategic partnerships with experienced service providers, FM strategies largely mitigated the risks and shielded assets and occupants during the weather ordeal.

FM professionals can enhance their resilience to rain accumulation and reduce disruptions by strengthening their infrastructure against flooding, performing regular maintenance checks, and utilising advanced technologies. The proactive approach not only safeguards properties but also sustains economic vitality, ensuring that the city’s dynamic landscape remains resilient in the face of nature's challenges. FM professionals are skilled at conducting comprehensive risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities associated with situations like rain accumulation. They can anticipate potential areas of concern and develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks by evaluating drainage systems, roof conditions, and building materials. Moreover, they ensure that emergency protocols are in place, equipping staff with the necessary knowledge and resources to respond effectively to unforeseen circumstances.

Regular maintenance is essential for preventing rain-related issues. FM professionals oversee routine inspections of roofs, gutters, and drainage systems to detect any signs of wear or damage. Timely repairs and cleaning activities are conducted to ensure optimal functionality, minimising the likelihood of water infiltration and structural deterioration. Additionally, they coordinate with external contractors for specialised repairs and upgrades when necessary. Moreover, with increasing environmental concerns, FM professionals are embracing sustainable solutions to manage rain accumulation more effectively. This includes the installation of green roofs, permeable pavements, and rainwater harvesting systems.  Integrating eco-friendly practices into facility management strategies can reduce the impact of rain accumulation and also contribute to broader sustainability goals.

Continuous monitoring is crucial for detecting early warning signs of rain-related issues. FM professionals leverage advanced monitoring technologies, such as moisture sensors and weather forecasting systems, to track precipitation levels and anticipate potential risks. In the event of heavy rainfall or flooding, they coordinate emergency response efforts, including evacuation procedures, temporary shelter arrangements, and restoration activities.

The role of FM professionals in mitigating unforeseen circumstances due to rain accumulation cannot be overstated. Through proactive risk assessment, maintenance efforts, sustainable initiatives, and effective response strategies, they play a crucial role in safeguarding infrastructure, assets, and occupants against the impacts of heavy rainfall. As climate change continues to amplify weather-related risks, the expertise and dedication of FM professionals are indispensable in building resilience and advancing sustainable facility management practices.

Author: Dr. Hassam Chaudhry, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai