Open-access content Tuesday 19th April 2016
25 April 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The interviewees: Ian Entwisle, CEO of EMEA at Global Workplace Solutions, CBRE, and Richard Williams (right), managind director of UK Asset Services at CBRE
The issue: The changing landscape of global FM.
"We are seeing the increased trend of outsourcing - so companies can focus on delivering their own services to clients," says Richard Williams, managing director of UK Asset Services at CBRE, who believes it's all part of a wider FM trend.
Ian Entwisle, chief executive of EMEA at Global Workplace Solutions at CBRE, agrees and cites the merger between CBRE and Johnson Controls as a way the company has been able to extend its reach.
"That acquisition has significantly enhanced CBRE's ability to self-perform enterprise FM services in more than 40 countries worldwide. It has also deepened our relationship with large multi-national corporations. Today, we serve over 90 per cent of the Fortune 100," he says.
"As a result of our merger, we brought on board many new clients and significantly expanded our enterprise and service scope. We've strengthened our capabilities in Europe and Asia, as well as in key verticals, including data centres, manufacturing and life sciences. Across EMEA, we have 14,000 dedicated GWS employees delivering occupier services for our clients. Simply put, we are now able to offer more services in more locations."
The role of property management continues to evolve, says Williams.
"30 years ago, most buildings were owned by a maximum of one or two parties, and more than likely the owners were based in the same country as the property located. Today, the ownership model is complex, with joint ventures the norm and multiple international parties in play."
This, says Williams, is giving rise to new strands of property management, including what he calls "true international property management relations".
"It means clients aren't necessarily 'on the ground' in the country to manage their own buildings in-house. As a result, we are increasingly employing individuals with many languages under their belt to cater for client demand. This just wasn't the case a few years ago.
"The commercial relationship management side is particularly crucial when it comes to the management of trophy assets - i.e. the most technically advanced and world-renowned buildings around. At CBRE, we call them 'Premier Properties'.
"Today, building managers, security and reception staff at such assets are often trained by experts from the hotelier industries. We ourselves use the same trainers as the Ritz Hotel Group. In essence, at such buildings, property management is interlocking with concierge services. Clients are looking for 'value-added' initiatives and if we can provide such a service - clients will pay."
Another example, says Williams is that specialist skills are developing. "An increasing phenomenon in property management is special purpose vehicle accounting. Essentially, companies will use us for their real estate corporate accounting. This area is growing hugely and today we employ as many accountants as we do building surveyors. This is particularly prevalent for large global asset or investment management companies who are increasingly outsourcing day-to-day property management."
How is CBRE preparing for issues raised by the national living wage (NLW)? Williams says that CBRE has always paid staff in line with, or above, minimum wage increments.
"There are no planned changes to our approach. That said, like all businesses we are interested in its impact over time."
And Williams foresees tricky issues ahead for retail clients.
"One example is that some retailers who have 24-hour opening hours will essentially become unprofitable with the NLW. This means that their current business model could become untenable. How this extrapolates down to the management of their real estate is yet to be seen."