Open-access content Monday 28th June 2010
BIFM chief executive Ian Fielder discusses the importance of keeping up standards in FM and how we could learn a thing or two from our European counterparts.
1 July 2010
The BIFM was instrumental in establishing a facilities management committee under the leadership of former BIFM chairman, Stan Mitchell working with the BSI back in 2004 which helped develop the original two CEN standards. Since then the BSI itself has restructured most of what it does and as part of that process came to recognise the importance of FM and has recently become one of the core sectors within the construction sector.
The debate centred on whether standards were a good thing for the FM industry. I started the debate by asking whether the FM industry across Europe is mature enough for these standards because unless they are adopted by a government, standards carry no force in law. If they are not used by professional bodies, business and other organisations they will not contribute to the openness and transparency of markets. One of the strengths of FM is adaptability – responsiveness to clients and customers needs. Will national differences in space measurement, apparent in the working group discussions, resurface and hinder widespread adoption of this standard or will the new space measurement standard allow genuine cross-border comparisons of buildings and services for the first time?
It is clear to me that both the supply and demand sides of the industry will benefit from adopting European FM standards as they act as a reference point for all parties. Students will also welcome any reference point but all stakeholders must be able to rely on the content and believe them to be best industry practice. One criticism of the development of new standards is a widely held view that academics are overly-represented in the process and the views of service providers and clients must been taken into account.
Fred Kloet, vice chairman of EuroFM, who chaired the debate asked for a vote from the audience, which came out in strong favour of adopting these new standards across Europe. The publication of new European standards will certainly raise the profile of FM and professionalise the industry although, I am not sure this debate lived up to its name of the FM debate of the year.