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Facilities Management: The Secret Service

30 November 2011

As the Facilities Management Association (FMA) joins PFM as a regular contributor, its Chief Executive Chris Hoar introduces the series with an overview of the industry and the role FMA members play within it.

Arguably the largest hidden industry in the UK, Facilities Management is the secret driving force behind British business. The range of support activities provided by Facilities Managers across the country help to ensure that every business can effectively manage their facilities, in order to carry out their core business activities.

Facilities management is a significant percentage of the nation’s gross domestic product. The FMA represents £40bn in turnover and over 500,000 employees whilst the FM industry in total represents an impressive 5% of GDP. Government, business and industry all rely on the work carried out by our members to carry out their day-to-day business. It’s also a growth industry, with most sectors within the FM market having experienced positive growth in 2011, and with forecasts for market growth of 12% by 2015.

Not a day passes without each and every one of us coming into contact with the work of a Facilities Manager; from the train on which you travel to work, to the smooth functioning lift which takes you to your comfortable air conditioned office.

For instance, had you ever considered the involvement of Facilities Management professionals in your office layout, equipment or environment? What about the office lighting, temperature and noise, the grounds and your parking space? These are just a few of the things that we take for granted every day.

In recent years, however, businesses have been forced to think more strategically about Facilities Management and the vital function that it has in the management of ‘non-core’ services. The FMA encourages the industry to publicise the fantastic work that they do with exciting projects for all sectors as well as recognising the contribution that the industry makes to the economy of the UK.

Perhaps the only time that some of us actually liaise with our Facilities Managers is when something goes wrong. The very art of Facilities Management is that it is normally working behind the scenes, without your knowledge.

The delivery of a number of support activities is, in fact, reserved for when problems arise. Thorough planning, implementation and review ensure that these problems are also kept to a minimum.

As the complexity of our working environments increases, it is inevitable that Facilities Managers working in the UK are likely to be met with further challenges. As the industry has embraced the most recent challenges of sustainability and reduced energy consumption, you can be reassured that the industry will continue to excel in providing adaptive support solutions.

Behind the scenes for 2012
Looking ahead to next year’s Olympics,tens of thousands of professionals are working to create the event of the decade for London. The last two years have been tough for UK businesses and for many the Games present a great opportunity – to grow, create jobs and contribute to a national challenge.

Many of our members are part of the joint effort to get London ready for the Games and deliver them in 2012 – offering services from access, logistics, catering and construction through to auditing and accounting.

The Games are an extraordinary event with extraordinary requirements, and companies great and small are part of it. Contracts are still being tendered for the provision of services around the Games, such as technology, facilities management, catering, cleaning, waste management, transport and logistics. FMA members such as Harrow Green, KPMG, Lavendon Access Services, Carillion, BaxterStorey, Skanska, Savills and HSS Hire will all be involved.

It’s high time that more of our members stepped out of the shadows to publicise the fantastic work that they do across the UK. We need to let more people know just how important the FM industry is in the running of the country as well as the contribution the FM industry makes to the UK economy.

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