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16 January 2019
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As the ramifications of the BIFM’s Manifesto for Change become clear, the profession continues to debate the potential of a name change.


05 April 2018 | FM World team


Following initial response to the announcements on 1st March, reaction to BIFM’s seeking of chartered status has, broadly speaking, been positively received. 

Among those who have either posted their responses online or discussed their views with FM World at various events, a majority has been in support of this aspect of the Manifesto for Change proposals.

The suggested change in name has elicited a great variety of responses, with debate coalescing around which is the dominant term – ’workplace’ or ‘facilities management’ –  and which should take this lead role. It comes down to two FM ‘world views’, and which you prefer:

1. Workplace is a big part of FM, but still just a part

These FMs see ‘workplace’ as descriptive primarily of the office environment. From this perspective, workplace represents a large part of the base served by FM, for sure – but still just a part. 

Consultant Martin Pickard describes it thus: “Workplace is one of many disciplines, such as business continuity or project management, that are specialisms in their own right but fit appropriately within a broader FM umbrella. ‘Workplace’ always has been a big part of FM, but it’s not the other way around, or equal to it.”

2. Workplace is a wider, more appropriate descriptor for FM in most circumstances

For these FMs, the term ‘workplace’ describes any work environment. These BIFM members see ‘workplace’ as having a stronger role in describing places where the general public or any other end-user base is served, for example, a supermarket where the majority of people visiting are end-user shoppers. 

For these FMs, every kind of organisation’s spaces – hospital, warehouse, laboratory, university – are connected by the fact that each is also a workplace; just a workplace with its own unique balance of end-user customers, both corporate and consumer. FMs, after all, are as responsible for maintaining the air conditioning in a concert venue for concert-goers as they are for the back-office staff serving those concert-goers. 

The ‘work’ conducted in this ‘place’ goes into maintaining the theatre’s fitness for purpose for all who use it, whether paid or paying.

What varies is criticality of individual service line. Prisons, for example, are a workplace for guards – but catering is one of the most important service lines because of its impact on prisoner (end-user) morale.

Workplace Leadership Programme – unlocking the potential of workplace for performance

BIFM’s first course in its new Workplace Leadership Programme, ‘Essentials of Workplace Leadership’, is now booking.  

The course is designed for professionals who are involved in and around any of the spatial, cultural and technological facets of workplace provision, and looking to appreciate the role workplace can play in unlocking organisational advantage and navigate the challenges of workplace change.

Delivered in partnership with consultancy 3edges Workplace Ltd by Ian Ellison and Dr James Pinder, the dates for the course are 18 and 19 July and 6th September, or 7th and 8th November,  and 6th December.  FREE ‘taster’ events are set to take place on 22nd May in Manchester (time and venue TBC) and on 24th May in London at Herman Miller, Aldwych, 4.30pm.

Book a free ‘taster’ event by going to Eventbrite and searching for ‘Workplace Leadership Programme’.

Book on to the course at the BIFM Academy: 


The next steps in the debate

In a statement BIFM reiterated that from its perspective FM will remain a discipline in its own right, with both the capacity and focus to be a driver of workplace performance. 

“We believe that our members would rather be Chartered Facilities Managers or Chartered Workplace Managers, and that they believe that they warrant being Chartered in their own right. We want to offer that opportunity.

“Embracing workplace does not mean turning away from FM. We expect many members at all levels will continue to identify as facilities managers, especially where their work context demands it; and where perhaps, there is [already] an unquestionable coupling of facility and business.”

A series of events continues with a vote on the name change and chartered status scheduled for 5th July at BIFM’s AGM.

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 second of three features discussing the response for and against the proposals. 

To have your say email membership@bifm.org.uk