Facility Management and NADMO… working together to safeguard lives and properties in Ghana

In the wake of recent natural disasters such as earthquakes, facility man­agers and the entire facili­ties management discipline must be empowered to ensure that buildings and proper­ties are prepared for any eventuali­ty. With the threat of earthquakes, and especially in Ghana where flooding is always looming, the government and private real sector investors must understand the importance of taking proactive measures to safeguard the lives of their facility occupants while minimising damage to the built en­vironment. In response to the Yo­kohama strategy for a safer world and plan of action, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) was established by act 517 of 1996 to manage disasters and similar emergencies in Ghana. This is a proactive approach to preempting, planning, organizing and controlling disasters. Howev­er, Ghana’s capital and its replica cities have seen rapid urbanization since NADMO was institutional­ized; The built environment has become more complex than it was two decades ago. This complexity requires new ideas and a strategic partnership between NADMO and the managers of the built environ­ment – The Facility Manager.

What is Facility Management?

As defined by ISO and adopted by International Facility Manage­ment Association (IFMA), Facility or facilities management (FM) is a profession dedicated to supporting people. It ensures the functionality, comfort, safety, sustainability and efficiency of the built environment – the buildings we live and work in and their surrounding infrastruc­ture. At the core of FM is people! Whether its for work, leisure, or residence, the built environment must support human activity in a safe and healthy manner. The impact of facilities management is fully realised when creators of the built environment involve FM right from design. At this stage, architects, engineers, and builders get the opportunity to create a built environment that is people-centric. In recent years, FM has proven to be a strategic business tool that is deployed as an efficient work input. It is helping organiza­tions to reduce cost while making its workforce more productive due to the safe and creative work spaces FM curates. For nations, especially in the global north, FM is seen as a strategic urban planning tool. The Singapore government implemented a comprehensive urban planning and development strategy, known as the “Singapore Model,” which involved a mix of top-down planning, public participation, and market forces. The planning process was people-cen­tric, with a focus on creating a safe and livable city for its residents. The government implemented policies and initiatives to ensure that the city’s infrastructure, services, and amenities were accessible and inclusive, and that the built environment supported human activity in a harmless and safe manner.



Two key strategic objectives of the NADMO are; (1) To promote Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Risk Manage­ment through the establish­ment of National and Regional Platforms for all Stakeholders. (2)

To strengthen Disaster Pre­vention and Response Mecha­nisms. These strategic objec­tives tie in so well with the existence of the FM profes­sion; A profession dedicated to supporting people in a safe and healthy manner while protect­ing the natural environment. The Facility Manager is the local first responder NADMO representative. Every building manager is a NADMO repre­sentative and must be tasked to strengthen disaster prevention and response mechanisms, what an FM will call an Emer­gency Preparedness Plan. The relationship between facilities management and the NADMO is critical to ensuring the safety of people and property during emergencies. By working together, facilities management teams and the disaster control organizationcan help to min­imize the impact of disasters and ensure a quick recovery. The facilities manager’s role is to ensure that buildings are equipped with essential safety features such as fire exits, fire suppression systems, and emergency lighting.

They also ensure that critical systems such as power, HVAC, and plumbing are well-maintained and can function during emergencies.

This work is essential as it en­sures that NADMO’s efforts can be effective. In turn, the NADMO can provide facilities management teams with training and resources to ensure they are well-prepared for emergen­cies.

It can also provide information on best practices for disaster prepared­ness and response, which can be invaluable to facilities management teams. This can save the nation valuable resources in times of di­saster due to shorter response times resulting from proper planning and partnership.


The Government can play a signifi­cant role in institutionalising facilities management as a profession by rec­ognizing its importance and promot­ing its standardisation. In so doing, facility managers become relevant stakeholders in our urban planning structure that will foster strategic partnerships with organisations like the NADMO to prepare for disasters. To achieve this, the government mustfirst invest in the education and training of facilities managers to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively. This could involve the development of academic programs and certifi­cation schemes that recognize facilities management as a distinct profession. Currently, only two institutions run programs in facility management.

All these programs are under five years old and being run by KNUST and Ho Technical Uni­versity. Second, the government can promote the adoption and enforcement of standardized prac­tices and guidelines for facilities management.

This could involve the mass adoption of codes and standards that provide a common frame­work for facilities management practices, such as building and FM codes, environmental regulations, and safety standards. Third, the government can provide incentives for organizations to adopt facilities management best practices.

This could involve tax breaks or other financial incentives for organizations that invest in their facilities management programmes. Finally, the government can help raise the profile of facilities man­agement by promoting its impor­tance and recognizing the contri­butions of facilities managers. This could involve public awareness campaigns that highlight the critical role that facilities management plays in ensuring the safety, sus­tainability, and functionality of the built environment.

Finally, Facility management (FM) is a profession that ensures the safety, comfort, sustainability, and efficiency of the built environ­ment, with people at its core.

In Ghana, as the built environ­ment becomes more complex with many real estate developments, it is critical that FM professionals work with the National Disaster Man­agement Organisation (NADMO) to preempt, plan, organise, and control disasters. The FM profes­sion is essential in disaster pre­vention and response mechanisms to safeguard lives and minimize damage to the built environment. The government can play a signif­icant role in institutionalising FM as a profession by recognising its importance, promoting standardi­sation, investing in education and training, and providing incentives for adopting best practices.

[The writer is Head of Facilities Management at Talis Property Services)]


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