Facilities Management Plays a Major Role in the Olympics’ Success

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on February 20, 2018

Staging the largest, most prestigious sporting event in the World is a massive undertaking. With 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of spectators drawn to this event, the Olympics’ host has a variety of obstacles to overcome and details to iron out. Without the proper infrastructures already in place, the host country’s efforts are that much more extensive. And when the event has concluded, local government and the FM team is then faced with the obstacle of determining how these facilities will be used in the future, and where will the money come from to properly utilize and maintain these buildings. All of this, while the whole world is watching.

The management team that oversees this production must consider every aspect of the games, from transportation, catering, clean-up and energy resources. How this team handles an event of this magnitude leaves a lasting impression for many years to come. And there is only one chance to get it right. We are an information driven society and with smartphones in everyone’s pockets, what happens at the Olympic games travels around the world in a matter of minutes.

And the Gold Medal Goes To…

From the Olympic Housing Village to the energy centre, London’s facility management team considered each facilities management teams and software play a major role at the olympicsresource from every angle. How could the facility centre be built to rely partially on itself through utilizing renewable and sustainable energy resources? How would it be used after the games to benefit the local population? What would the housing village be used for later and if remodeling of these apartments is required, how much will this cost? How will each of these centers be maintained both before and after the games to maximize the country’s assets? And, most importantly, how would they make all of this happen AND stay on budget?

While a majority of us are enjoying the competition itself, there has been a team of facilities managers who have been working tirelessly for years to ensure this event goes smoothly. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games won a special award for the organization and management of the 2012 London Games. With the help of FM tools such as web based asset management software, the management team was able to construct a series of major operational centers whose roles are now critical to the city’s operation.

Not on the Medal Podium

According to preliminary US press reports, the current Olympic Games stand on the opposite end of London’s spectrum. The asset planning and management has reportedly been a veritable disaster from the planning stages to present. Overseeing a successful project starts in the planning stages. The FM team must consider how an asset is to be utilized, installed, operated and maintained.  

Aside from the renovations to resources such as the airport, roadways and railroad, Sochi has had to construct approximately 235 new facilities. The estimated cost is a staggering $50 billion–$33 billion more than original budget proposals and exceeding the cost of all previous Winter Games combined. Much of these costs stem from lack of asset planning and management. Lack of maintenance on equipment has resulted in replacements, sea coast fortifications are cracking, sewage pipes are bursting and the ski jump has been revised numerous times.

While these new facilities are beautiful, Sochi will be faced with the daunting challenge of properly utilizing and maintaining all of these structures once The Olympics are over. The success of an undertaking of this magnitude should not be judged solely on the planning stages, but how the project is handled during implementation and thereafter.  Proper management would best be obtained through a comprehensive integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) that includes asset planning, organization and maintenance as well as document management.   

The implementation of the proper software system, coupled with diligence and a little creativity, can provide an Olympics host with a lifetime of resources. Improper management and tools will undoubtedly find the community facing greater costs and filled with run-down buildings. As with any Olympic facilities management team, their work will not end once the Games conclude, it will have only just begun.


Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.

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