Archive for category BIFM

Addressing BIFM’s International SIG

jigsawLarge-scale outsourcing seems to strike fear into the hearts of both client organisations and fellow consultants alike. This can be for a number of reasons, many of which I’ll touch upon in a presentation to BIFM’s International Special Interest Group taking place in mid-September. The talk will focus on the challenges and pitfalls associated with cross-border tendering and – using case study evidence – will demonstrate the tremendous benefits that are achievable when a robust and professional approach is adopted.

The title of the Presentation is “Being European: Can FM Provide a Joined-Up Model” and although tickets for this event are now sold out I’d be happy to discuss the issues relating to such projects with anybody that has an interest in the subject. Certainly, if you’re on the client side and are thinking about a similar initiative, please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the form that you can find on the Contact page of this blog and I’d be delighted to talk through the issues with you.

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More good news on “professionalisation”

Some time ago, I wrote about the progress made within BIFM with regard to a meaningful qualifications framework. I now see that a further level (Level 7 – Certificate and Diploma in Facilities Management) is due to come onstream during 2012 along with a number of other new products as yet unknown.

BIFM state that these “have been approved by Ofqual and are regulated qualifications on the Qualifications and Credit Framework” and that they ” also form an integral pathway leading to a MSc in Applied Facilities Management which will be launched by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) School of the Built Environment in September 2012.” You can read more about them at the BIFM website and also by having a look at the course in detail over at LJMU.

I can’t stress enough what good news this is for the FM discipline. I’ve been banging the drum of qualification – and the professionalisation of FM that it will lead to – for years now. BIFM’s old framework that lead for some to BIFMQual clearly needed overhauling, and that’s just what the Institute has done. We now need to see plenty of take-up because, with the other higher/degree level opportunities around, it’s never been easier to bolster experience with learning. And we need to be able to demonstrate to those alongside whom we work that we really can add value; that FM isn’t just about sourcing the cheapest toilet paper.

When I graduated, it was as a mature student with a demanding job and two young children. It was difficult to juggle work, family and study but it was an incredibly rewarding experience and one that I can’t recommend highly enough. Go on… take the plunge!

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Musings on a Saturday morning…

I just had my first Saturday morning cup of coffee (okay, I may have had a Marlborough Light with it too). On this particular Saturday I had the bonus not only of a quiet household as both kids and fiancé were still quietly tucked up in bed, but also of reading the FMX interview with David Emanuel. In fact, it was the magazine landing on the mat that woke me from my own slumber.

I’ve always liked David, partly because I think he’s a good guy with an engaging personality, but also because he’s not afraid to rock the boat, or to challenge the conventional wisdom. I’ve been called both a maverick and an iconoclast myself in the past, so I guess it’s not surprising that I respect those who have the courage to question those things that disturb them and to seek the truth where others might just fear to tread.

In fact, I thought that the interview was fairly low-key (damn you, David). It did raise one or two issues about which I found myself nodding in agreement, however, and it prompted me to seek out my quill and ink in order to summarise those thoughts here. (I should really do this more often, of course, but life just seems to get in the way!)

On Chartership – personally, I just about side with the “it’s a discipline, not a profession” camp but to be honest I haven’t lost too much sleep dwelling on whether or not Chartership is the right thing for Facilities Management. What I do think is that BIFM now needs to make known it’s intentions once and for all, and either progress the issue of Chartership to a conclusion or put the matter to bed.

On qualifications – for far too long, I’ve listened to the argument that qualifications are a waste of time, and that in FM its experience that counts; almost always, those arguments are put forward by those without qualifications and who are unwilling, unable or just unmotivated to achieve them. For me, it’s a no-brainer; the higher the percentage of FM practitioners that are qualified, the more seriously we’ll all be taken. And by that, I mean taken seriously by those who are genuinely responsible for strategic decision-making; yes, the Board, where FM’s don’t sit and likely never will. (Don’t get me started on that one.)

On communication – BIFM, RICS and FMA need to understand the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. All three organisations have a part to play in the future (and the future growth) of FM, and whilst it may be something of a pipedream to imagine them all working in harmony, and with common objectives, it’s a laudable pipedream. We need strong leadership from all three, but we also need forthright, honest and regular communication; many of us would say that this form of communication has been lacking in the past, and that’s simply not good enough.

On FM and property convergence – dear god, how long will we be talking about this before something positive happens as a consequence? I’ve been fortunate to work in an advisory capacity with some of the world’s largest corporates right down to SME’s, but one consistent theme is that there’s rarely enough concrete and accurate data on the property portfolio. Indeed, in every major outsource that I’ve managed getting consistent and reliable property portfolio data is always one of the hardest tasks. Yet without that, how are we in FM to identify opportunities; to provide the added value expected of us; or to properly define the services that will best serve the business? We need to be working hand in hand with our property cousins, and we need to be doing it now!

There… I’m now going to make myself another coffee (I’ve let the one I was drinking go cold) and carry on reading.

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An Institute Coming of Age?

Some time ago, my involvement with BIFM was far greater that it’s been of late. I spent a couple of interesting years as the corporate representative on Council; was actively involved in the Knowledge and International SIG committees, and well as the Corporate sub-committee; and regularly attended events and conferences in order both to enhance my learning and to network with my peers.

More recently, I’ve been less involved than I would have liked, but my desire to do anything more that watch from the sidelines was to some extent limited by what I felt was a tendency towards bureaucracy, and a structure & public face that seemed far to entrenched in tradition. That now seems to have changed, and I for one am delighted to see it happen.

I can cite two immediate examples of this (although, bearing in mind that this is a blog, I’d be delighted to hear your views on the subject too). Firstly, the qualification framework – whilst still in relative infancy – is clearly much more fit for purpose that it’s predecessor, the BIFM Qual; the latter was to my mind singularly unsuccessful, with limited take-up and suffering from the constraints of being non-accredited. The second example is the introduction of the “Certified” status of CBIFM for individual members. For too long, I believe that members have felt that the focus on corporates has been to the detriment of the individual; however, CBIFM now means that members with tangible knowledge and experience can make themselves known. (As an early adopter and beneficiary of those post-nominals, I would say that, of course!)

Recently, I accepted an invitation to represent the Institute as one of a small number of EuroFM Ambassadors, a role I was delighted to take on in the light of my changing perception of BIFM. I’m looking forward to what will be a more direct involvement than I’ve had for quite a while, and am happy to give of my time for an organisation that seems to be heading in the right direction.


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