Open-access content Tuesday 16th July 2013 — updated 1.53pm, Tuesday 5th May 2020
This year marks the 20th anniversary of BIFM. There are within the membership a large number of people who moved across to BIFM at the time the Institute was formed from a merger of the Institute of Facilities Management (IFM) and the Association of Facilities Management (AFM) on 1 September, 1993.
16 July 2013
The AFM, established in 1986, was originally a networking group of corporate facilities managers based in London and the south east, established originally by Derek Butcher of the BBC.
The IFM, also established in 1986, was an institute formally set up by the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM). The IFM had an elected council, was recognised by the appropriate bodies, had an approved examination scheme and formally approved professional membership grades.
While BIFM has part of its heritage from the IFM, which itself was established by the IAM (originally the 1915 Office Mechanisation Users Association in London), FM cannot look back that far. However, the IFM can trace its own facilities management heritage through the IAM.
At an IAM Council Meeting on 14 March 1968, the council approved the establishment of the new 'Office Design and Office Services' division, complementing the other six divisions already in existence:
- Communications management
- Education and training
- Management information
- Organisation and methods
- Staff management and supervision.
Shortly afterwards, I commenced my career in FM, in what was then known as 'office services', first in Rover British Leyland, then Tube Investments, and finally The Phoenix - planning its relocation from London to Bristol in 1973, which then led to a 30-year FM career within Royal Sun Alliance (RSA).
Looking back to the early 1970s, office layouts were constructed using miniature cardboard templates and wooden models of desks and office furniture. The first office telephone call recording equipment was a second generation computer (ie transistors), with cable crocodile clips to every phone line in the office switchboard, which quickly established that a cleaner was ringing her mother in Portugal every evening, having found the one phone in the building that had not had its foreign dialling facility cancelled!
In a report to the IAM Council on 8 May 1969, the 'Report of the Divisional Chairman for Office Design and Office Services' contains the first official reference to an IAM 'Office of the Year Award'. This was followed by a further report to the IAM Council on 14 May 1970 stating: "The Office of the Year Award 1971 scheme has been launched and publicised", indicating that the BIFM Awards celebrate 50 years in 2021.
While BIFM itself celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013, facilities management represented by the IAM's Office Design and Office Services Division going back to 1968 can celebrate its 50th year anniversary in 2018.
Learn more about the 20th anniversary at www.bifm.org.uk/20
Graham Briscoe is chair of the BIFM audit committee and a BIFM board member