We recently partnered with iGov to conduct a survey of central government and non-departmental public bodies, as well as NHS organisations, to see just how important hard FM (which relates to the physical fabric or structure of a building) is to these sectors. We were particularly eager to get a deeper insight into the common challenges organisations face when it comes to efficiently and effectively delivering hard FM and, of course, their views on the world of flooring. So, what did we learn? Read this blog for the results!
Encouragingly, nearly two thirds (63%) of central government and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) and 83% of NHS respondents said that they felt facilities management was ‘very important’ to their organisation, with a large majority using a combination of both in-house and outsourced management to ensure efficient delivery.
We then dug a little deeper and asked what specific areas of the FM process they considered to be of particularly high priority; with general maintenance, minimised downtime and disruption, cleaning services and the well-being of end-users all coming out on top.
Despite facilities management clearly being a vital part of modern-day organisations, another mutual factor across both sectors was that a high-percentage of people felt budget restrictions presented the most significant barrier to its effective delivery – an all-too familiar issue considering frequent budget cuts and ever-tightening purse strings. However, while this may drive some to always choose the cheapest option when procuring goods or services, we believe that it is important for organisations to instead look at products and services that deliver best value; whether that be in terms of long-term performance, minimum maintenance or less disruption caused during the initial installation.
This is all especially important from a flooring point of view, with the chosen floor covering potentially having to withstand a large amount of traffic and footfall throughout its life-time. As well as this consideration of a floor covering’s durability, over half (57%) of central government and NDPBs and 76% of NHS respondents reported ease of cleaning as being a ‘very important’ factor when assessing flooring products. This was of particular interest to us at Forbo, as our Flotex Flocked Flooring is the only product available in the flooring market that combines the appeal of a textile floor covering with the practical and hygienic advantages of a resilient, making it quick and easy to clean right down to the base.
The survey also found that, in addition to the primary practical concerns, other key areas for consideration when specifying flooring included the range of colours and designs available (with 55% of NHS respondents and 43% of central government and NDPBs describing this as ‘important’) and a product’s sustainability and environmental impact, with an impressive 62% of NHS representatives also rating this as ‘important’.
These results clearly demonstrate how, in addition to the primary functional purpose of a flooring product, more and more people are realising how it can be used as an integral element of a building’s interior design. Indeed, an effective floor covering can help to inspire productivity, create clearly defined areas and contribute to a colourful, positive and stimulating space for end-users. This is all especially beneficial in healthcare settings, where both staff and patients are often placed under stressful and high-pressure situations, and the need for a colourful, calming, but ultimately hygienic, safe and functional space is required.
It is also encouraging to see how a large portion of those surveyed are concerned with a product’s environmental impact, no doubt a result of the increasing coverage and awareness of the damage that we as humans are having on our planet. As a manufacturer, we know that change is required within the industry and were keen to reduce our carbon footprint, which is why we’re proud that our Marmoleum 2.5mm is manufactured as CO2 neutral.
Here at Forbo, we manufacture a range of flooring products, available in a variety of colours, styles and designs, all with functionality and durability in mind, and with a host of innovative features to help reduce downtime during installation and the need for regular maintenance.