Skip navigation

Formulating an FM strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation of commercial built assets

Formulating an FM strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation of commercial built assets

Desai, Apeksha (2012) Formulating an FM strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation of commercial built assets. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

Apeksha_Desai_2012.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB)


As per the UKCIP 09 climate change projections the United Kingdom is very likely to experience increased sea level rise, increased winter rainfall, heat waves and an increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Such inevitable impacts of climate change will require adaptation measures to be implemented for the management of existing commercial built assets if they are to continue to fulfil their primary function and support every organisation’s business operations. However, it is not clear as to how far adaptation solutions are effectively integrated into facilities or built-asset management planning?

While seeking the answers to above questions, this thesis develops an approach for facilities and built-asset management, which will improve the resilience of existing commercial built assets to future physical climate-change impacts. The study undertakes a participatory study with a large commercial organisation and a questionnaire survey of UK facilities managers. The participatory study involved selective team of facilities management and operational (FM&O) professionals from a commercial organisation that managed around 3,400 built assets valued at £370 billion in 2003–05 in the United Kingdom. By working closely with the organisation, an approach to built-asset management was developed which integrated the existing UKCIP decision-making framework and UKCIP02 climate-change projections. In developing this approach, the strategic risk perception and managerial attitude to climate change were identified and included as important factors affecting the decision-making process.

To test the wider applicability of the decision-making framework that was developed in the participatory study, a questionnaire survey of the wider facilities management community was undertaken. It was deduced from the survey results that the intent and process of decision making remains constant amongst FM professionals in commercial settings – for example: (a) The experience of a financial loss due to an existing climate-related extreme event is the initiation point for strategic stakeholders for considering future action regarding climate change; and (b) The operational adaptation measures are restricted to securing insurance deals and making renewed disaster-recovery and business-continuity plans. Additional outcomes from participatory and survey study covered logistic models describing the adaptation and mitigation approaches within a commercial setting.

Taken as a whole, the findings from this study show that mitigation efforts which are supported by legislation and have well defined targets achieve a strategic importance within an organisation, while an absence of such targets and external drivers means that adaptation is viewed as an operational activity and, , as a short-term activity that has to compete for funds within annual budgets.

To raise the profile of adaptation within commercial organisations requires a shift in the perception of climate change as risks amongst FM&O professionals and ability to better recognize climate change impacts on the business and built asset functions. This requires action to be initiated at both governmental and organisational level. However, such action needs to consider other constraints, such as the time span of the climate change projections. In particular, as FM&O professionals consider adaptation as an operational issue for which the planning period is normally short term (3–5 years), while the long-term projections associated with climate change are for 20–30 years as a minimum. In order to support decision making, this ‘temporal scale’ discrepancy needs to be addressed.

The study has demonstrated that although decision-making frameworks and projections are useful tools to the adaptation of existing commercial built assets, they need to be synchronised with the short-term business planning and operational time line. The mitigation approach due to legislative and market-performance forces is quantified and gains a strategic importance, securing substantial financial support. In contrast to this, the adaptation agenda is taken into account only in the presence of an extreme event-related financial and functional loss. In this case, adaptation to climate change remains a reactive rather than a planned process and lacks legislative drivers. In the absence of legislative impetus and a standardised quantitative assessment method, it is difficult to derive short term or long-term targets according to which maintenance management interventions can be planned and strategic support can be achieved. In addition, the perception of built-asset managers about climate change risk is also found to be affecting the adaptation and mitigation agenda for built-asset maintenance and management.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, built-asset management, maintenance
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Architecture, Design & Construction
School of Architecture, Design & Construction > Department of Construction Management
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:24

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics