IWS Estates and EC Harris overcame the complexities of multi-party delivery with undisputed success.
By Adam McNestrie
29 October 2009
IWS Estates and EC Harris overcame the complexities of multi-party delivery with undisputed success
Facilities management at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) is complicated. The Information and Workplace Services Ð Estates and Procurement Directorate has overall responsibility for FM and procurement. Consultancy EC Harris is the FM agent. Catering and conferencing is delivered by BaxterStorey, cleaning by GBM, security by Pegasus, M&E services by Cofaley and lift maintenance by Apex.
As much as anything else IWS Estates and EC Harris have been recognised because they have managed to deliver a service that belies this complexity, working together with all of their partners to present a united front to the end-user. The undisputed success of the FM delivery at BIS is a result of the work that has been done to break down barriers and foster an ethos of collaboration. The BIFM judges were unanimous in their decision that EC Harris should receive the award due to their pioneering team work with BIS demonstrating a high performing and highly motivated team.
BIS, the successor to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, is a big department. It has nine ministers, 18 buildings, 5,000 civil servants, 12,000 visitors a month Ð and Lord Mandelson. It needs a lot of knitting together.
This partnership is all about teamwork, working together rather than in the old days where there was the supply-chain and the client according to Charles Stevens, head of IWS Estates.
Fittingly, Alan Kemp, partner and group head of asset and facilities management at EC Harris, emphasised the same point. If everyone is not a part of the game you're never going to achieve the common objectives. The whole has to work as a team. It's the sum of the parts that make it effective
In 2007, Berr (as it then was) decided that it needed to become an exemplar for operational efficiency. It was felt that it had to lead from the front if it was to have any credibility in pushing forward the government's budget-squeezing Operational Efficiency Programme. So it brought it in EC Harris to work alongside IWS.
As well as creating that often-elusive cohesiveness, IWS and EC Harris have achieved improvements in service level by making simple but effective changes. Encouraging staff to report any issues they see as they walk around the building by creating a league table of issues raised. The team's attitude is that every issue spotted and reported is one less problem for the building users to report.
This proactive approach is also demonstrated in the practice of walking the floor. In Kemp's view, success is based upon getting to know the end users, to understand what they want and what they feel they're getting. Walking the floor and talking to people is supposed to create the same sense of openness and availability that you get with the bobby on the beat. Focus groups are used to reinforce this Look and listen approach, which IWS and EC Harris are using to avoid the all-too frequent see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach.
One innovation has been staff rotation to spread skills and minimise the risk of sickness or holiday impacting service levels. Another simple thing that the FM team has done is to refit the toilets. In the past one of the big complaints at the BIS HQ was the frequent blockage of the toilets and the choking smells coming from the urinals. Rodding had always been used in the past to solve the blockage problem. The new team decided to refit the toilets with larger downpipes and to use a different chemical additive in the waterless toilets. Both issued were resolved and Constant calls to the helpdesk ceased to be a drain on resources.
Temperature complaints have also halved since 2007 thanks to better temperature control. In fact, complaints across the board are down. Improved utilisation of the estate has also allowed some space to be vacated by the department. This freed-up space is now yielding £24m a year in rents.
BABCOCK DYNCORP LIMITED
Babcock DynCorp supports Defence Estates in the provision of maintenance (planned, preventative, grounds and reactive) and project services ensuring the upkeep and improvement of the MoD estate across the Eastern Region resulting in a significantly improved living environment for personnel returning from front line duties. The judges offered praise for a client focussed, highly delivery focussed approach