The trend of outsourcing for building services operation and maintenance in Hong Kong

Francis W.H. Yik, Joseph H.k. Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose — To explain the recent emergence of the trend of outsourcing for building services operation and maintenance (O&M) work for commercial buildings in Hong Kong and to predict its future development. Design/methodology/approach — Based on economic theories, the authors' understanding of buildings and building services O&M in Hong Kong and information regarding property, companies and manpower statistics, the increasing use of outsourcing is explained with a prediction of its implications for industry stakeholders and future trends. Findings — Reports the common operation and maintenance organization for small, medium and large commercial buildings and explains the relation between outsourcing and the recent economic downturn and sharp cuts in O&M expenditure. Analyses the factors influencing O&M costs and predicts that the trend of outsourcing will continue if contractors keep on upgrading their knowledge and skills to provide quality services more economically than the in-house workforce. Research limitations/implications — The explanation and prediction rely greatly on economic theories and the authors' knowledge and observations from industry, yet the reason for outsourcing and the factors influencing O&M costs are unveiled. Practical implications — The findings have exposed implications for building owners and O&M practitioners as a result of the outsourcing trend, on top of establishing a rigid framework for future practical research in the area. Originality/value — This paper explains the prime motive for outsourcing building services O&M work for commercial buildings, predicts future trends and reveals the implications for stakeholders in the O&M industry in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Building services
  • Economics
  • Maintenance
  • Operations management
  • Outsourcing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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