15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris
What South Africa badly needs, says Andre Klopper of Redefine Properties, is the establishment of formal recognised courses applicable to all levels of FM.
Qualifications currently provided are few, failing to address the gap that exists at degree level and higher. Education is key - "of people, about FM, and of clients, about what FM can do".
Klopper estimates that about 70% of FM work in the country is carried out by in-house FM teams. (A large number of institutional investment property organisations manage vast portfolios through internal FM departments.)
And there's a major problem with outsourcing. Andrew Mason, originally from the UK, has worked in South Africa for 20 years. "If anything the government here is anti-outsourcing," he says.
Stringent labour laws led recently to confrontations around a "fees must fall" campaign at most tertiary education institutions. Aimed at lowering or scrapping tuition fees, service providers' staff used the campaign to demand full-time employment. Black economic empowerment is an endemic issue, with outsourcing seen as 'white monopoly capital'.
Some institutions have been "held ransom" to take FM services back in-house. Clearly, labour and labour practices have a profound influence on how FM is practised.
The country has a number of well-developed FM outsourced providers, as well as large corporate organisations with strong in-house FM departments. The country is experiencing an upswing in new property developments and re-developments, and in the last two years various multinational and large corporate organisations have consolidated their organisations into new corporate head offices in Santdton - known as the most expensive square kilometre in Africa.
This is bringing fresh opportunities to the FM market, with most new builds are four-star green rated buildings requiring high level FM interventions on a daily basis.
The profession has developed over many years and various cycles into a discipline in its own right, with a growing number of corporates and other institutions seeing the benefit of employing dedicated FM staff.
SAFMA believes that there are between 45,000 and 65,000 people working in FM, with the market worth around 45 billion SA rand. SAFMA's take is that just 13 per cent of the market - comprising commercial & retail, government and manufacturing - is outsourced.
As well as more recognised training, there is growing demand for suitable metrics for performance measurement of FM organisations, departments and auxillary service providers.
"Capital development programmes are much slower in South Africa for two reasons," says Mason. "Availability of space means that you're not forced to see projects through quickly. Also, the environment isn't as tough on buildings as it is in UK. That said, the building regulations are just as tough, absolutely first world. The ability of our engineers and architects is as good as anywhere - it's just that FM has yet to catch up."
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.