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18 November 2018
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Group effort

Taking over the management of any site poses problems, but bringing a new one to life can be the hardest task of all.


By Adam McNestrie


29 October 2009


Taking over the management of any site poses problems, but bringing a new one to life can be the hardest task of all.

In the work that Initial Integrated Services has done for Johnson & Johnson the emphasis is very much on the word integrated. Initial’s offering to the health care products giant is based around offering integrated services, having its on-site, directly employed staff deliver a range of more than 25 services. The theory is to cut out the middleman, to put an end to the communication breakdowns that can bedevil contracts and the multiple mark-ups that can drive prices up. Talking about Initial’s on-site, self-delivery model Claire Henshall, commercial sector sales, said: It allows us to remove a hell of a lot of mark-up on mark-up.

Initial won the tender to take responsibility for the FM services at Johnson & Johnson’s UK headquarters at Pinewood Wokingham in September 2008. Johnson & Johnson were relocating from two outmoded sites to a single purpose-built site. Pinewood has a 110,000 sq ft workspace set over three levels, situated on a 28 acre woodland site.

Henshall believes that one of the factors behind the success of the contract is Initial’s relatively early involvement. Initial’s team was brought into the construction process at the beginning of the end. When we did the site survey to see how we should manage it there were no windows. It was just a shell Henshall says. This gave the team a chance to feed into the fit-out process, to ensure that the building handed over was not just attractive but also fit-for-purpose. Built-in recycling pods and the centralisation of pigeon holes were among the results of the FM function’s input.

Taking over the management of a site poses its problems, but bringing a new site to life can be even harder. Henshall says: New builds are historically a nightmare to mobilise. You have no data to work from, no information on the number of packages received or what the building requires in terms of cleaning.

So Initial had to work things out from scratch. Part of that process is to learn from experience and to adapt quickly. Although the contract is still relatively new a number of refinements have already been made. Sachets of milk and sugar for tea and coffee were phased out in favour of bulk-bought ingredients with a cost-saving of £30,000.

As always when radical change takes place in the operation of the workplace, staff buy-in has been crucial. Initial reached out to staff in a number of ways. Move Goodie bags were handed out to sweeten the pill of moving and two post-move presentations were given by Initial Staff and Johnson & Johnson. A full user guide for the building and its services was also drawn up and given to all staff. The guide is organised as an A-Z with information on everything from fire drills to lost desk keys.

The essence of the contract, though, is the breadth of the offering by dedicated staff based at Pinewood. Services range from fabric maintenance, to gym management, to pest control. The almost endless list also runs to courier management, internal planting and feminine hygiene services.

Mike Bullock, managing director of Initial Integrated Services, said that this sort of across-the-board, direct delivery was the future of the industry. When you’ve got all of the people working for a common entity, you have the same drives, the same objectives, the same goals and that raises service levels

In bestowing the award, the judges cited evidence of a high performing multi tasking FM service team working in partnership with a client FM executive. The facility has clear purpose with high standards in a stimulating atmosphere.



With 483 buildings and 650,000 sq ft of floorspace, planning maintenance across the BBCÕs estate has sometimes proved difficult. VFA were invited in to audit the whole estate to ensure that there was one central repository of information about the state of the property portfolio. Gary Hills, head of capital development at BBC Workplace, said that the major driver for the project with the VFA was to end the eight versions of the truth problem, where everyone had a different idea of what work a building required and the timescale within which it needed to be done. VFA undertook a full condition survey of the BBCÕs estate, feeding the data into its capital planning software. The database has provided the FM team with the hard information that it needs to carry out strategic maintenance planning. Peaks in future expense profiles can be established, life-cycle replacement works planned and intelligent disposal of assets that are likely to require high expenditure undertaken. . The judges held that the submissions demonstrated initiative which was visionary and goal orientated.