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RICS: Enhancing Strategic Role of FMs

Author : Johnny Dunford

07 May 2013

FM professionals need to embrace BIM as part of a strategic FM plan says RICS' global commercial property director

It is vital for the entire property industry to work together if we're to run our buildings as efficiently as possible. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) which if employed by all sectors of the built environment can help to drive down costs and increase productivity throughout the lifecycle of a building. Facilities management is a vital part of this chain.

RICS' recent UK Construction Market Survey asked respondents about the prevalence of BIM in different areas, and only one per cent of respondents reported using it in FM in the last quarter of 2012, compared with 28% of respondents from across the industry using it overall. This is a drop from the previous quarter when 3% of respondents said they used BIM in FM.

It is clear from these results FM is lagging behind the rest of the industry in the adoption of BIM. FM professionals are missing a trick by failing to embrace BIM, which has the potential to necessitate FM professionals' involvement in projects from conception through to completion - thereby supporting the shift towards a more strategic picture for FM.

From operations to strategy: While the rest of the industry and board level executives do need to wake up to the benefits of FM, there is substantial work required from the FM sector itself to raise its game in order to be valued by these groups.

Our recent report, 'Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management', which questioned 400 FM professionals globally, found the majority still spend most of their time on the day-to-day running of a building, despite the fact 75% believed FM should be strategic. While this is in part down to restrictions imposed by board-level executives, it is the responsibility of FM professionals themselves to make a case to their boards for a strategic and integrated FM plan with a strong layer of operational management focused on outcomes rather than processes.

The FM sector is being held back from the lack of a single 'voice' and industry endorsed guidance that demonstrates best practice and can support the FM industry in its development.

Here to help: RICS is addressing the needs of the industry in developing a Strategic FM guidance note, the consultation for which will be launched this month. This is an extension of the UK consultation launched last year, which highlighted the need for further industry input and is reflective of our desire to fully engage with the entire FM sector to ensure the guidance directly represents the views and requirements of the industry.

When published, this note will support FM professionals worldwide in delivering strategic management services that complement and contribute to business development. In addition, it will provide a 'one-stop shop' for companies looking to identify what best practice should look like in the management of their own facilities. If followed correctly, it will enable FM professionals to take a more strategic approach throughout the lifecycle of a building, including the use of BIM, that will bring noticeable benefits to the overall productivity of the property and businesses.

The guidance notes open for consultation include Facilities Management Core Principles, the Strategic Role of Facilities Management in Business Performance and a Facilities Management Positioning Paper. The guidance will cover all areas of FM services including catering, cleaning, building maintenance and security.

Government incentive: Crucially, the government is also starting to offer some much-needed support for the industry through its Government Soft Landings (GSL) initiative. The initiative is aimed at aligning design and construction with operation and asset management - ensuring FM is involved from inception through construction to handover. A key element of GSL policy is post occupancy evaluation from facilities and estates managers to design and construction teams.

The aim is this feedback will ensure lessons can be learnt and addressed for future projects - further highlighting the strategic importance of FM professionals integrated involvement throughout the lifecycle of the building. The initiative forms part of government's action in helping the FM industry to embrace BIM, as outlined by Deborah Rowland, Head of Facilities Management at the Government Property Unit (GPU) at RICS' annual BIM Conference

RICS is committed to supporting the FM industry in becoming more strategic and therefore welcomes the government initiative, which complements the development of RICS' guidance note in giving the FM sector the support it needs. In order to ensure the Strategic FM Guidance Note directly addresses the needs of the industry we are actively encouraging feedback globally from across the sector.

These activities can help FM professionals to develop a strategic approach, which incorporates BIM, and ensures FM is aligned with the wider construction industry in the move towards a BIM culture.

To contribute to the consultation into the Strategic FM Guidance Note please follow the lines below and make comments directly on the documents.

* RICS facilities management positioning paper -

* RICS facilities management standards - core principles -

* The strategic role of facilities management in business performance, 3rd edition -

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