Conference time!

I only managed to spend one day at The Facilities Show this year, but was delighted to open the show officially with Ismena Clout, Chairman of BIFM. I was also chairing a debate on ‘Premiership FM’ with the FMs from Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Stoke City FC. Fascinating stuff! I didn’t realise how much sway the TV companies have – of all the stakeholders that an FM has to deal with, they must be some of the most challenging. Who knew that grass is so fussy and needs specific conditions to be at its best? Of course this means that sustainability often plays second fiddle to revenue generation. Another interesting point was that FM doesn’t just cover the stadium – they also have hotels, retail outlets, farms, training venues… One of the key benefits from the session was that the FMs shared their experience of some innovative new products that could make their lives easier – something everyone in FM will understand!

The following day I flew to Prague in the Czech Republic, for the European FM Summit, organised by Marcus Evans. This three day event, chaired by Steve Gladwin, brought together global heads of FM from throughout Europe. Case study presentations were interspersed with panel discussions, on topics covering leadership in FM, involving FM at the early stages of building design, and innovative approaches to working with service providers. The thing I enjoy most about these sort of events, is the opportunity to talk openly with FM practitioners and suppliers alike, about their success and challenges, without any ‘hard sell’. I took part in three panel discussions, and in particular enjoyed debating leadership, licensing and qualifications in FM.

A week later, still in Prague, and it was time for conference number three, EFMC, organised by EuroFM. With over 600 registered delegates and a full programme of presentations, it seemed the UK was rather under-represented! Students of FM from around Europe had entered their dissertations for an award, by producing a poster to highlight key findings. Smart companies are tapping into this talent pool right now. Talking of talent, there was a panel right in the middle of the exhibition area, for job seekers to post their CVS, and companies to post any vacancies. What a sensible and low cost idea of matching potential candidates to new roles!

By Liz Kentish

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