Workplace Wellness & Security

How Facility Managers Can Budget for the Unexpected

Nick Mason
October 19th, 2017

In an earlier blog post, we explored 5 scenarios all facility managers should plan for. Let’s delve deeper budget-wise and explore what to keep in mind for these unexpected expenses. It can be tempting to leave these incidental costs out of the budget and replace them with more pertinent priorities. This is particularly true when the number one concern of facility managers is not having enough resources. But let’s look at how you can financially plan for emergency scenarios by thinking ahead.


Taking proactive measures to protect your office from fire danger is your best method for reducing your emergency costs. Investing in a robust smoke alarm system with sprinklers that will douse out a fire quicker can potentially save you money in the long run. You should also consider inviting a fire inspector to your building to get a better sense of what key assets need more financial attention than others. These seem like considerable investments, but smarter prevention spending means putting less in your fire relief fund. Also take a close look at your fire insurance plan and consider upgrading your policy. The greater the coverage your insurance plan provides, the less you will have to allocate to potential disaster scenarios.

Chemical safety

In our previous post, we suggested purchasing protective equipment for potential chemical spills or leaks, which can include respiratory masks and protective apparel for your body. You can also look into what other facilities like yours have done as far as investment and research in chemical safety. Though keep in mind that not all office spaces have equal risk, depending on the company. Facilities that are old or companies that deal with chemically sensitive materials, for example, might need more investment into these kinds of potential emergencies than others. And it’s important to invest in the necessary detection systems—like with fires—as well as consult an expert while doing so. Either way, it is important to be prepared—don’t make the mistake of thinking that any chemical threat is unlikely to happen.

Workplace violence

Workplace violence may be more unpredictable than natural disasters or facility malfunctions—this unexpected office emergency is subject to your staff and their state of mind. That does not mean you should neglect this problem funding-wise. Make sure to dedicate enough of your overall budget to HR-related facets like improved team building and a solid security strategy. In advance of these situations, it’s also important that you set up an emergency fund to help ease the blow of potential legal or liability fees that can result from them. Additionally, you can utilize a mobile visual directory to keep track of your employees in the midst of such scenarios.

Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes

Your office’s location and condition will determine which scenario is more threatening to your space and how you should financially prepare. For example, Californian workplaces likely need to budget more generously for earthquake damage than more central US locations. The price for earthquake retrofitting itself also depends on the type of facility. Meanwhile, other coastal facilities may need to invest more on potential flood and hurricane threat prevention. Therefore, you need to invest in the right safety procedures and tools appropriate for your overall situation. Your insurance company will have the most thorough information on your area’s specific threats. It will also be your valuable source of financial protection in the wake of danger. Examine your policy and ensure that it is sufficient to cover devastating events.

Data and analytics will be your most important assets when determining which expenses are most important to prioritize. By having sight of all the requests made in one view, you can strategically assign spending to the areas that need it most, freeing up more resources for your emergency funds. A facilities emergency can strike at any time, so you’ll need to be ready.

Looking for ways to open up more resources for your emergency funds? Check out our 8 foolproof tips to keeping your operational costs down. You can also read our interview with Paul Sullivan, SVP Product and Operations at Agility Recovery, who has over 25 years of experience in disaster recovery and information technology industries.


Photos: Shutterstock / Goran Bogicevic, Shutterstock / evgeniykleymenov, Shutterstock / I am Aea