15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris
The Caribbean suffers a scarcity of funding, with FM too often seen as an afterthought when proposing business cases for operations & maintenance funding and other capital initiatives.
However, awareness of FM and what it can do for organisations is growing as regional FM communities network together more routinely.
Tourism, a large part of most Caribbean countries' GDP, has declined steadily since the US financial crash, with other less tourism dependent (for example Trinidad - Oil; Guyana - Natural resources / minerals) sectors also affected. The upshot? FM professionals called upon more frequently to help organisations cut costs. This, says Tyrel Melville, creates a valuable opportunity for FMs to be strategic.
A spate of construction in the region has energised FM with the Caribbean built environment modernised significantly over the last 10 years. This has led to increased demand for FM jobs and an increase in their proficiency.
As organisations have modernised their buildings they have improved the criteria they use to recruit and hire facility professionals, as evidenced by the advertising of FM positions and growing number of professionals on LinkedIn bearing the title facility manager or similar.
The legislation driving how FM is practised are the various national Occupational Safety & Health Acts. (Not all countries have had their acts passed by their respective government legislative bodies, but most are close to being enacted.)
Key issues range from disaster preparedness to health and safety, but one that particularly concerns Melville is FM's battle to be considered more in the design process related to new construction and renovations.
"Our respective construction industries have been slow to include FM as a part of the construction solution. This has led to many instances of retrofits, long lead times to order replacements, consumables that aren't readily available locally, and no local subject matter expertise for the assets being installed. It's a steep curve to be behind on, but its gradually being overcome."
We're broadcasting live at 12 noon BST on World FM Day, Wednesday 17 May. You'll be able to hear audio interviews with some of the international correspondents mentioned above, as we capture a snapshot of FM across the globe in 2017, as well as live discussion on the issues and themes that have arisen. Tune in here.