Growing the role of the facilities manager

The growing technical role for facilities managers — Geoff Prudence.
With the involvement of CIBSE, the scope of facilities management is growing to include operational and engineering aspects — and Geoff Prudence, chairman of CIBSE’s FM Group, believes that the time is ripe for further progress.CIBSE’s Facilities Management Group is now over 10 years old, having been formed in 1996, and has continued to evolve as one of the more proactive specialist groups within CIBSE. It is currently benefiting from a growing active membership and the opportunities that are emerging in the building services industry. The wider FM and support-services arena continues to grow. As well as the work the CIBSE FM Group has been doing over the last few years, two other key items have helped to raise the profile of building-services biased FM. Debate revived The focus of energy management and impact of the European Energy Directive has really revived the debate on the design and operation of building-services systems. In addition, John Armstrong, CIBSE’s immediate past president, championed the growing importance of the operation and maintenance of buildings in his presidential year. Additionally the revised Engineering and Management (Now Guide M) was launched in May 20087, with John Armstrong as chairman of the task group producing the publication. The CIBSE FM Group and CIBSE as a whole have developed in a number of areas based on strong technical competence. • CIBSE’s FM Group now has 4925 members worldwide, with a full programme of activities and input into standards and wider forums.
• Low Carbon Consultants Register — an operational strand.
• Membership of the board of AssetSkills FM.
• Input into national occupational standards and core competences for FM to establish early and technical qualifications that can lead to chartered membership of CIBSE later and also provide a framework for career changers.
• Input into a foundation degree for FM.
• Representation on Action FM. • Input into a campaign for a higher profile in Government definitions of work categories.
• Input into the setting up of a national skills academy for FM. • Publication of CIBSE Guide M — Maintenance.
• Memorandum of understanding with the British Institute of Facilities Management under its partners in excellence programme
• There is scope for FMs to become professional affiliates of EC (UK) via CIBSE, so colleagues from other organisations are interested in this opportunity through CIBSE.
• Development of a sustainability agenda for AssetSkills. There are a number of organisations associated with facilities management, including Action FM, which is endeavouring to bring together a number of interested parties for a common cause and with which CIBSE’s FM Group is also involved. However, Geoff Prudence, chairman of CIBSE’s FM Group, believes that there is more to do and additionally CIBSE and the FM Group has yet to fulfil its potential in the arena of operational building services expertise. Growing scope Facilities management in general covers more and more functions — health and safety, for example, and the interface between designer and operator is manifested through the building log book. More and more plant is controlled electronically, and there is more data than ever to back up operational decisions. Risk management in design and operations continues to be a growing requirement. As part of the FM programme, in April this year, Geoff Prudence presented his views on the future approach to operational risk within buildings (BORM). The event was held jointly with CIBSE FM Group, CIBSE ASHRAE Group and IMechE. The event and ongoing discussions was very popular, with over a hundred people attending and a further 30 unable to be accommodated due to the venue capacity. The group continues to work with other associations and also runs a season of events, details of which can be found via the website Building for the future Looking to the future, Geoff Prudence passionately believes that there is still more to do to promote the industry and develop the resources with skills that the market needs. He believes there are two key approaches to move this forward. • Develop operational excellence and maintenance into existing design degree courses. Additionally develop further operational/FM degree courses based on high-level hard-services competencies, including design knowledge, with, for example, existing forward-thinking academic institutions such as London South Bank University.
• By embracing the above points, CIBSE could also expand, develop membership capability and through its affiliate routes and additionally encourage soft-services FM practitioners to join and develop building-services knowledge and skills to a recognised level to meet the future market opportunities. For more information, to join the debate or to join and be actively involved in the CIBSE FM Group contact Membership of the group is free and open to people who are not members of CIBSE.
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