Towards better-run buildings

The news that the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the British Institute of Facilities Managers are to co-operate to develop and promote excellence in facilities-management practice marks the much-needed breaking down of barriers between the various disciplines that are involved in the design, construction and operation of buildings (page 5). It was early in 2003 that the then president of CIBSE, Terry Wyatt, emphasised the need for the institution’s membership to be continuously involved throughout the entire useful life of buildings. Even then he declared that developing CIBSE’s Building Operations FM Group in conjunction with British and international facilities-management organisations would be a good start. CIBSE’s current president, Graham Manly is also an advocate of such co-operation and expressed delight that the formal signing of the agreement had come during his presidential year. Given that CIBSE promotes itself as an inclusive institution for building-services, not just consulting engineers, there is also scope for solving one of the other pressing problems — the movement of people and skills from one discipline to another. It was Graham Manly who highlighted in his president address last year that there is little movement of staff from contracting to consultancy and almost zero the other way. He also said as the agreement was signed that traditional employment routes do not lead people from FM into design — thereby bringing skills and experience relating to the operation of buildings into design. Those involved in design and construction are often accused of handing over a project and then walking away from it. This agreement should make possible joined-up thinking to overcome such concerns.

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