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Tim Smit to speak at BIFM conference in March

09 January 2008

Eden Project founder, Tim Smit to speak at his year’s at BIFM Annual Conference to be held on 18-19 March at Keble College, Oxford on a theme of Sustainability.

Sustainability is the theme of this year’s BIFM Annual Conference but this is not just another ‘green’ conference. The programme has been put together to cover sustainability in several dimensions – in organisations and business, through people and skills and of course, impact on the environment.

Now in its 15th year, the conference will provide unrivalled networking opportunities, with delegates already registered from organisations as diverse as IBM, The Barbican, AXA PPP Healthcare, Halfords, The Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, and Atkins.

Whether you are from a small business, the public sector or a large corporate organisation, there is something for everyone at the conference (18th & 19th March, Keble College, Oxford). The busy conference programme caters for all areas of the FM profession and industry, including end users, consultants, managers, service and product suppliers.

Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, will inspire you in the conference closing session on Wednesday 19th March.

There will be a full networking and social programme over the two days. This will include a drinks reception in the exhibition marquee at the end of the first conference day, with canapés to help you unwind after a full day of presentations.The Gala Dinner, held once again in the magnificent Dining Hall at Keble College will bring together delegates, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and BIFM staff for an evening of fine dining and great conversation. After dinner, Stringfever, the world’s first genetically modified string quartet, will wow delegates with their electric instruments and unique sound to provide a truly memorable night.

Over 50 speakers and organisations will be taking part in the conference, providing delegates with a vast number of new ideas and experiences - ensuring lively debates and helping organisations to meet social, economic and environmental challenges

All attendees can meet with FMs from the UK’s biggest and most important organisations by taking advantage of even larger, improved exhibition facilities, more time and space for networking and a new, dedicated meeting area. Plasma screens will allow delegates to enjoy the exhibition without missing what’s happening on the conference main stage.

For the first time the Conference will have a professional chairman - Stephen Sackur, experienced foreign correspondent and presenter of the BBC’s current affairs show HARDtalk will keep everything running smoothly and bring the audience into the debates. The main programme will comprise 10 plenary sessions on a range of visionary and inspirational subjects, helping delegates to see what can be achieved in the pursuit of sustainability. Twenty parallel sessions will delve into the practical aspects of achieving sustainability on a day-to-day basis.

As well as the plenary and parallel sessions, mixing best practice with research and innovation, delegates can take part in the popular Conference Fringe, offering a different and entertaining take on facilities management issues. A bigger exhibition, expanded networking opportunities and first class entertainment complete the package.

Delegates will hear from a roster of experienced and influential plenary speakers, including Barbara Stocking, the Director of Oxfam; Tom Redman, Professor of Human Resource Management / Director of Research at Durham Business School; Oliver Jones of the Asset Factor; James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University and Tim Smit from the Eden Project.

Parallel sessions
Throughout the conference delegates will have a difficult choice to make – which of five parallel streams to attend? These have been chosen to bring current experience and knowledge to a diverse range of topics. They include:
..Effective workplaces and spaces can improve productivity. A team led by Professor Michel Pitt of Liverpool John Moores University will look at the effect of factors such as air quality, light, humidity, temperature and aesthetics.
..Rigorous post occupancy evaluations (POEs) can improve standards and performance. Martin Cook, Head of Design and Building Performance at the Building Research Establishment provides an insight into the strength and weaknesses of the main POE methods and an overview of studies completed for auditing and other bodies.
..What are the practicalities, costs and benefits of the key renewable technologies available today? Are these technologies a realistic retrofit option for buildings? What are the implications for FM, including maintenance, operational costs and benefits? Phil Jones, Senior Research Fellow at London South Bank University has (some) of the answers.
..Sustainability is 'an approach which aims to balance the social, economic and environmental impacts, now and in the future". Craig Zurawski, Executive Administrator at Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment, USA will aim to inform decision-makers at every level that the choices they make in regard to their facilities can be both economically and environmentally sustainable.
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BIFM Boardroom Challenge on the fringe
Facilities managers are always being urged to, “Talk the language of the boardroom” if they want to raise their status and have their ideas taken seriously. Well now you have a chance to prove just how persuasive you can be and win £500 into the bargain!

The 2008 BIFM Boardroom Challenge will test the skills of FMs in making a business case for their projects. They’ll need to make sure their numbers add up but they’ll also have to marshal their arguments and respond to some tough questioning – think Dragons’ Den meets The Apprentice!

Teams (minimum 2, maximum 4) who enter the Challenge will be asked to respond to one of two facilities management scenarios – office rationalisation or new ways of working.

They’ll submit their short business case in advance and then present to the board of fictitious company FinSec as part of the Fringe at the BIFM Annual Conference in Oxford next March.

The winner will be the team that most impresses the Board with their grasp of the project’s features and finances, their success in getting their arguments across and their ability to think on their feet.

The winner will be announced at the final session of conference and presented with the BIFM Boardroom Challenge Trophy and a cash prize of £500. More importantly they will win the respect and admiration of their peers!

The full brief for the 2008 BIFM Boardroom Challenge, including the rules, is available at or register your interest by email at

‘The BIFM Annual Conference 2008 Sustainable FM – meeting the challenge’ is on 18th and 19th March at Keble College, Oxford.

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