Open-access content 22nd June 2009
22 June 2009
by Richard Byatt
Pogacnik wove music, business and philosophy into a captivating presentation as he deconstructed Bach fugues to show how the composer created and resolved tensions. With its focus on performance, creativity and passion, business has already appropriated the language of the arts, said Pogacnik.
Amsterdam's project manager for municipal buildings, Ronald van Warmerdam, welcomed almost 500 delegates to the conference, including of course a strong contingent (38%) from the host country and around 50 from the UK. Other significant groups came from Norway, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark.
The city administration plans to make all its buildings carbon neutral by 2015. With around 85% of a building's lifetime energy use occurring during occupation, as opposed to 15% in construction and demolition, we must invest in our existing buildings, argued van Warmerdam: "Once in 50 years there is a chance to refit. We have to give priority to energy in city development and building."
As a profession, FM is still in the formation stage said Alexi Marmot, Professor of Facility and Environment Management at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies in London. Marmot thought it was significant that Euro FM was running business and research sessions in parallel: "We need to look at the knowledge level if we are to distinguish FM as a profession, rather than a trade; but research in a vacuum is useless. It needs business support and we need to place more corporate research in the public domain."
Marmot argued for an evidence-based approach to FM, particularly for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. "The combination of climate change and a credit crunch is a potent cocktail for innovation in property and FM - if we don't take advantage of that our profession will be diminished."
According to Marmot we need to understand how facilities can work more efficiently, meet designed energy consumption levels (buildings are typically using twice as much energy as predicted) and then keep reducing consumption. "We have to challenge cultural assumptions, which run deep, of how buildings are occupied and used. Our models, based on pure physics, are too simple." she concluded.
A fascinating three-way, cross-borders debate on procuring FM services saw Leif Møllebjerg, senior director FM with the Lego group in Denmark, argue for in-house provision. Walter Verdonk of Sodexo Altys in the Netherlands propose outsourcing and Gianmaurizio Cazzarolli, Director HR and Services for Tetra Pak's Modena site in Italy put the case for a hybrid solution.
Møllebjerg gave key stakeholders top priority: "At Lego, these are the children. Only the best is good enough in our company."
Verdonk argued that from a short-term perspective outsourcing was more expensive, due to the transition investment: "Hybrid solutions are always a compromise and in the long-term outsourcing is cheaper," he said. However, he recommended outsourcing only when needs and expectations related to the strategy were clear: "The organisation has to be ready for outsourcing."
Cazzarolli said a hybrid strategy could combine all the service advantages and allow for flexibility. The challenge with a hybrid strategy was to avoid disappointing the in-house FM staff: "They have to be proud to work for the company, but they have to be even prouder to work together with the service provider. We try to benefit from the corporate culture of a Swedish mother company as well as from the national culture at the Italian site."
The great majority of the audience agreed with Cazzarolli that quality was the most important strategic factor when considering the make-or-buy decision.
Trevor Payne, Director of Facilities at University College London NHS Foundation Trust and Peter Smith, Director of Carbon Management with Interserve Consulting, presented the challenges of achieving energy savings across six hospitals, built from the 19th century to today.
The Trust plans to have 40% of its stock under 15 years old by 2010 as many of the older buildings are not capable of accommodating new equipment, although some house world-class centres of clinical excellence.
The estate uses three times as much electricity as the NHS benchmark, although overall energy consumption at 54GJ/100sq m, producing 13,162 tonnes of CO2, is just below the benchmark.
One reason for the high electricity consumption is that new buildings have a high baseload, primarily lighting and air handling. The building management systems are very effective at delivering the correct temperature, within a very narrow band but risk simultaneous cooling and heating.
Smith explained that reviewing the BMS settings, allowing temperatures to overshoot for short periods, and checking temperature probes for local disruption (by office equipment for example) has produced results. Overall savings are relatively small (1,200 tonnes of CO2 and 200,000/year) but nevertheless the Trust was selected as one of the London Mayor's Green 500 and plans to make further gains.
One of the key themes emerging from the conference is that FMs need to understand and influence behaviour, rather than simply look for technical fixes.
Human behaviour was critical to two excellent workplace design case studies. Underlining the international nature of such projects, although located in Switzerland and Italy, they involved Dutch and Swedish managers and designers.
Peter Bernard Ernsting, Chairman of Unilever's service provision arm is responsible for FM across 65 factories and 300 warehouses, employing 19,500 people. He manages the operations with 200 staff working in Scaffhusen, Switzerland.
Expectations for the new workplace were almost schizophrenic, said Ernsting. On the one hand it had to reflect Unilever values of efficiency and service, on the other he wanted people to feel proud and happy in a fun setting.
Dutch designer Hans Topee explained how they introduced surprise into a quite severe concrete, glass and steel building, from oversize table lamps to a floor covered with Moroccan rugs! One of the most successful features is a wide, shallow staircase connecting two floors which can be closed off to create an auditorium.
The new building has instilled a sense of pride, encouraged collaboration and helped to create a more open culture. What's more, Ernsting said, it wasn't excessively expensive: "If you're smart you can have unique concepts at a benchmark cost."
Swedish architect Peter Frost said design methods are more engaging, innovative, fast and stable than traditional methods of developing proposals for new workspace. Working with volunteers from across the Tetra Pak production and R&D site in Italy, his team led a series of design dialogues, with solutions tested against the problem.
The staff group first looked at social media (sharing, blogs, wikis, mash ups), then reflected on their existing office (what to take, what to add, what to leave behind) before taking part in a design game, creating a 2D workplace using shapes and icons.
The final stage was to work with a computer design tool, dragging and dropping 24 different components (media library, task table, informal meeting space, wiki totem etc) to build a 3D realisation. The results are guidelines for what Gianmaurizio Cazzarolli called Office 2.0.
A distinctive feature of EuroFM events is the involvement of FM students. One particularly successful feature is the annual Poster Competition. 40 entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 18 and three finalists were selected to present in Amsterdam. The students, from Breda and Hanze universities in the Netherlands and Kufstein in Austria, had the nerve wracking task of addressing EFMC delegates in the main hall but all acquitted themselves well. By popular vote the winners, of an expenses paid trip to IFMA's World Workplace in Orlando, were two students from Kufstein with their 'Generation Renovation' project to make better use of the existing building stock in a continuous improvement cycle.
European FM Awards
Students also featured in the third European FM Awards presented at the EFMC2009 Gala Dinner. The European FM Student of the Year award, sponsored by New Directions, was presented to Hanna Koskisto from Finland who has studied at Helsinki University of Technology and is currently working towards an international Masters at Hanken School of Economics.
The European FM Researcher of the Year award, sponsored by Facilitec, went to Nils Gersberg from Germany, studying at the University of Salford and also a researcher at Helsinki University of Technology.
Eurest Services with Shell International won the Partners Across Borders award, sponsored by EuroFM. Eurest delivers integrated FM Services to 70 of Shell's offices, refineries, remote gas plants and offshore platforms in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland and the North Sea in a five-year contract.
The judges said: "The Eurest/Shell partnership has transformed FM at Shell from a traditional base to a highly successful and fully fledged European partnership across borders. They have come a long way in a short space of time, showing significant improvement in results and FM delivery. They have also achieved a high degree of integration and a successful alignment. It is clear the core business recognises the value creation and positive contribution to Shell this excellent partnership brings."
EFMC finished with a dazzling presentation by Dutch information industry trend watcher Rob Creemers. Bombarding the audience with facts and figures, he demonstrated the rapid advance of information technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Technology has the capacity to solve problems, such as those caused by demographic change, but it is also creating new problems. "A globalised world cannot be regulated or controlled. Everybody is connected, but nobody is in charge," said Creemers. "There are three questions everyone has to answer concerning his job: Will there be a demand in the future? Can someone in Asia do it cheaper? Can a computer do it faster?"
"We need another mindset," he argued. The environment should be our first concern, then society and only then the economy. "The core message for facility managers is: We have to use less energy," Creemers argued. "It's all about sustainability." In five years' time facilities manager could become sustainability managers. He encouraged the audience to keep learning and to be creative: "You have to be able to change. Adaptability matters. Try something new!"
EFMC 2009 was supported by the Center for People and Buildings, Facility Management Nederland (FMN), IFMA Holland, Landelijk Overleg Opleidingen Facilitaire Dienstverlening, TU Delft and Wageningen University.
BIFM members can access all the papers from EFMC 2009 by using the member link to EuroFM on the partners page of the BIFM website.