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International experience aids Blue Fin Building management

06 April 2018

Caspar Luiken has found that his former involvement in the hotel and leisure sector has proven valuable in his most recent role.

With conjecture on the best means to manage facilities continuing to develop, the necessary skill sets of FMs is another topic of conversation that has involved a wide variety of options, reflecting the numerous areas requiring attention in each setting.

Similar to many of those in the property management sector, Caspar Luiken has enjoyed a career that has evolved in different areas and helping to develop the necessary skills to manage one of the most notable mixed-use development facilities on London’s South Bank.

His previous extensive experience in the hotel and high end residential real estate sectors has been particularly useful in developing awareness in the importance of delivering high levels of customer satisfaction, seen as one of the most important aspects of current day FMs.

Speaking to PFM at the end of last year, Mr Luiken had celebrated his first 12 months managing the Blue Fin Building and confirmed that this had proven to be broadly in line with his expectations.

“If you manage hotels, retail or commercial space or an estate, the message is always the same: it’s all about the level of customer service,” he says.

Having previously managed a number of hotels around the world for Hilton International in London to high end private islands and resorts in the Caribbean, as well as luxury residential real estate with Sotheby’s International Realty in the British Virgin Islands, and after an 18-month stint at the Hilton Gatwick Airport, he is now bringing his extensive experience to the commercial sector.

His role at the Blue Fin Building began in the latter stages of 2016 and has seen the levels of customer service develop further through engaging with a specialist consultant to create a “bottom up” leadership style.

This had led to a survey of building users, asking for their thoughts on topics including their perception of the front of house service with the effects continuing to be evaluated at the end of his first year of service.

“Our main aim was to see how we could improve the customer experience,” says Mr Luiken.

He further explains that the exercise provided added value in showing the willingness of the building management team to listen to occupiers and service providers and take the appropriate steps to deliver improvements.

“The big difference I’ve seen is that the on-site service team used to come into my office and ask questions that I would have to provide answers for,” he continues.

“Now people tell me about a situation that took place, the solution that they have already discussed with their colleagues that they think should be proposed, and they’re just checking in from that perspective.”

This shows that the introduction of thought leadership had been appreciated by those using the building and had led to the creation of new initiatives, such as the staging of a Christmas market and the installation of photo booths by reception personnel: “This is usually done at management level and we’ve received a high number of compliments on how well these have been run,” he says.

Regular meetings are held with the 18 occupiers and 11 retailers present within the Blue Fin Building to inform them of any new developments and how the service budget has been spent.

One of the more recent changes has involved contracting a new provider to take over the waste management services on site.

The new provider is seen as offering more options for sustainable disposal of the waste and providing accurate reports, as well as discussing improved waste management practices with the occupiers.

With up to 4,000 people present on site on a daily basis, this is understandably another highly important area of concentration.

“It’s all about relationships,” says Mr Luiken, describing how pleased he is with the new service provider. “The better the relationship, the quicker you get things done and see results.”

Continuing to discuss the outsourcing of services, he explains the importance of continuing to monitor each area to ensure that service providers are meeting expectations and prove to building occupiers that their service charge is being well spent.

“It’s only fair to tender these contracts on a regular basis to make sure that the service charge is continuing to deliver value for money,” he says.

Mechanical and electrical (M&E) is another important area for every facility and the Blue Fin contract is handled by Birchall, which had just completed the first year of its contract at the time of PFM’s visit that had seen the company introduce the latest energy-saving technology.

This had also continued well, with the company quickly coming to terms with the complex M&E requirements within the building as proven by its engineers rectifying a fault with the underfloor heating system that had arisen in the second week it was on site.

Mr Luiken further explains that the building is kept in excellent condition through employing a full-time painter on permanent night shift, while the cleaning service includes the use of sensors to monitor footfall in washrooms so that the frequency of cleaning operations can be adjusted accordingly.

“The more data you can pick up and analyse, the more information you can return to your occupiers,” says Mr Luiken.

“Each company likes to know that it works in a building that is being managed efficiently and that you’re exploring the use of the latest technology.”

He credits Principle Cleaning with the innovative use of technology, which has seen initiatives such as the remote monitoring of toilet rolls to show when they need changing, in addition to the washroom footfall sensors used in the building.

Additional service providers include Portico for reception and Incentive Lynx for security, with Mr Luiken emphasising the need to enable all service partners to work together to create the impression of a single team with building users.

“One of the secrets of good building management is being very clear on your expectations of service delivery from your service partners, then letting everyone work out how to meet and exceed these expectations,” says Mr Luiken.

Having had a positive reception to the special events and pop-up facilities introduced at the Blue Fin Building last year, he further states that these will be extended throughout 2018 through continued collaboration with the building users and service partners such as hospitality provider BaxterStorey.

One of the extra features under consideration at the time of PFM’s visit was a climbing wall, for example.

The building management team will also continue its efforts with organisations such as Better Bankside to maintain good relationships with neighbours and help to improve the local area and environment wherever possible.

Within the Blue Fin itself, additional effort to coordinate systems including BMS and CAFM will be seen, in the continuing drive to leverage the benefits of intelligent building technology.

Mr Luiken further states that the delivery of high quality service will continue as a main priority: “We aim to deliver a five star service for all our occupiers and visitors, continuing to focus on areas of common interest that always aim to exceed expectations.”

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