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23 February 2019
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Join the Think Tank to have your opinion reflected here — 

© Alamy

05 April 2018 | FM World team


BIFM’s Manifesto for Change, adding ‘workplace’ to the institute’s title and seeking chartered status has led to a debate among FM practitioners that is touching on the very identity of the facilities management profession.

At the heart of initial response to BIFM’s ‘manifesto for change’ project are questions of status and identity. Those who have always been identified as facilities managers have questioned what chartered status might mean for them, while what is meant by the word ‘workplace’ has had others wondering whether the sector is swapping one crisis of identity for another.

Even the suggested name itself – IWFM instead of BIFM – has split opinion. It doesn’t so easily roll off the tongue, say some; it might too easily be confused with the titles of other institutions, suggest others. And in any case, would it not need to change again should the pursuit of a Royal Charter prove successful?

Other still believe the project is effectively a fait accompli; that any debate concerning such a potentially significant change should have begun prior to the outlining of a new name and branding. BIFM refutes this, and points to the four-month platform for debate it has and is continuing to set out in order to allow members their say.

Over the following pages we set out the questions raised and BIFM’s response, together with opinions from key individuals within and on the fringes of the sector. 


BIFM Response on the reasons for change

“We want to harness the opportunity to widen our remit and purpose to include Workplace alongside FM, which will help us to reposition the profession and generate greater understanding of the value that facilities and workplace managers contribute to organisations.

“Recognition of FM, particularly in the knowledge economy, has typically been weak. We’re good at talking about the ‘how’ of FM and embracing workplace allows us to reframe the ‘why’ of FM. We need to reach out to the clients requiring skilled individuals who understand and can add value to the elements that comprise organisational performance. Workplace speaks best to that. It builds on the work already happening in the FM profession and positions it as core to an organisation’s success.

“We also want to address members’ desire for Chartered Body status conferring standalone recognition for the profession. This has clear advantages for those already in FM and it has a huge impact when we compete to attract tomorrow’s talent. A combination of repositioning and Chartered status will help us achieve our ambition for the profession to realise its potential.”

What’s happening

On 1st March, BIFM announced its ‘manifesto for change’.

1. At its AGM in Manchester on 5th July, the Board of BIFM will put forward a special resolution to change its name from BIFM to The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management.

2. Board members are pressing their case for change with any BIFM member keen to engage, and through its regional networks and special interest groups.

3. The Board has also announced its intent to seek chartered status for the institute. This will be pursued whether the vote for the change of institute name is endorsed or not.

4. Board members and HQ staff are attending as many member events as possible between now and the vote in order to listen to members and understand what they are saying. BIFM is also organising webinars to seek feedback from members unable to attend events.

5. This is the first of three features discussing the response for and against BIFM’s proposals. To have your say email membership @bifm.org.uk