23 October 2014
There's a single hour on a single day each year that's become quite the event in recent times.
Specifically, it's the hour between 11pm and midnight on the second Monday in October when we at FM World get to talk to the newly crowned BIFM Awards winners.
Fresh from visiting the stage at the Grosvenor House hotel, they then climb the stairs up to our special suite where they talk briefly in front of our cameras. Think of it as a form of euphoria-based speed-dating, with one or two representatives from each category winner talking for three minutes about the reasons for their success. Despite the lateness of the hour, you'd be amazed at just how quickly the arc lights and sponsor board get people to focus - and what's particularly impressive is just how happy they are to get straight to the heart of their service, product or project's success. They know their stuff alright - and they're happy to explain it.
You can find out for yourselves who won, and why, later in this edition and in a number of case study articles soon to come. But as for initial impressions of this year's crop, I was struck by just how many people made reference to FM being 'all about the people' - so much so that those who mentioned this time-honoured truism were almost apologising for doing so.
It would be wrong to pick out any of the winning entries for particular praise given the variety of awards made, but one that was perhaps instructional about what themes are emerging in the current phase of the sector's development was the winning entry in the 'FM Excellence in a Major Project' category. The project, in which King's College London worked with its PPP partner Bouygues Energies & Services, involved both parties working on an all-encompassing accommodation efficiency review.
So much of this project - the fresh approach to asset maintenance and the risk assessments involved - required new ways for both client and provider to work together. Entirely new ways of assessing the maintenance requirements of specific assets involved plenty of work between representatives of both client and supplier. The introduction of a 'one team' approach is nothing new in itself, but given the existing relationship between client and provider, developing this anew on a long term contract is no mean feat. It's clear that the BIFM Awards judges were impressed by the level of detail and communication that this involved.
"Over the first 12 years of the relationship we had introduced new ideas, tools and skills to keep abreast of technological changes and developments," explained David Carr, Bouygues Energies & Services' managing director FM. "The review gave us the opportunity to think outside the current relationship and look at what else could be achieved by both parties."
Other winning entries also emphasised the relationship between provider and client. And on a night in which many told us how we might look back on 2014 as the year in which FM finally 'broke through' in terms of wider recognition, the King's College/Bouygues project is as good as any for demonstrating the levels of communication, tolerance, co-ordinated development and harmonised action that are quite possibly unique to the work required in this sector.
Martin Read is managing editor at FM World