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The year of the framework

17 November 2014  


When we get look back at what 2014 meant to the further development of the facilities management sector in the UK, it could well be that the word ‘framework’ will feature prominently. 


For example, the framework defining the BIFM’s professional standards is a major piece of work that will doubtless grow in importance in the months and years ahead. First published in February, this framework seeks to become an international structure for the dissemination of FM training at all levels. Then there’s the recently announced workplace management framework, developed by Graham Jervis and Andrew Mawson of consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates – which has as its aim the determination of “how well an organisation achieves best practice in the management of its workplace”. 


This particular piece of work has come together over the past year with the involvement of clients, service providers, and other senior facilities management consultants. It’s intended as an open framework, owned by a charity, to which others can contribute in the years ahead. The involvement of some very high-profile people and organisations suggest that there’s considerable interest in the idea, so it’s one we’ll be keeping an eye on.


Then there’s the much-heralded soft landings. Initially designed by BSRIA, you’ll have read before about how this framework seeks to help secure better ‘building outcomes’ through the use of operational performance data to influence future building projects that have similar aims. The government’s own version of soft landings commits organisations to including FM teams in the construction process for central government projects from 2016 – and what’s that, 14 months away? This particular framework has the potential to have the most impact on how the FM profession is viewed. 


You can read more about both soft landings and the workplace management framework elsewhere in this edition. AWA’s Andrew Mawson believes that the latter has the potential to help shift the perception of workplace management being the domain of real estates and facilities to used by occupier organisations as a standard to run alongside those organisation’s outsourced service provision, providing tramlines for specifications and service levels that outsourced providers must stick to. 


Of course, these exist in contractual agreements already. Perhaps what’s new in this fashion for frameworks is their potential to demonstrate to a wider range of third parties the standard of work conducted, playing their own part in enhancing the standing of FM within organisations and the wider business world.


When someone in 2050 traces back the trajectory of FM’s development in the early years of the 21st century, the various moves to develop these framework initiatives is likely to loom large. Understandably, because they typically involve the codification of minimum standards of communication, collaboration and reporting. Theoretically, those who contribute to their development - by deploying them in their own organisations – help ‘raise the bar’ in performance terms.


So then, 2014 as the year of the framework? Makes you wonder what 2015 will bring.


Martin Read is managing editor at FM World