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Three things we learned from EFMC2015

5 June 2015 | Martin Read


1) Facilities management in the Netherlands ‘is hot’

Ron van der Weerd, chairman of EuroFM, is also the dean of a school in the Netherlands in which there are currently 1,200 students studying FM, “and every year we welcome another 300-350 new students”.


Contrary to the concerns expressed by many in the conference hall that FM remains outside of mainstream career choices, van der Weerd explained that “we in the Netherlands don’t have any problem with the image of FM. FM is hot. Fifty per cent of our students are male, 50 per cent female. And in general, the females are achieving a lot better than the males.”


2) Historic Scotland faces some interesting challenges

Barbara Cummins, director of heritage management for Historic Scotland, explained to delegates some of the work the organisation does on the 345 of Scotland’s most iconic sites that come under its care.


“We’re not dealing with standard building types,” said Cummins. “Air and watertightness are not necessarily possible or even desirable for us.”


Historic Scotland is the UK’s biggest employer of stonemasons and has recruited 58 building skills apprentices over the past five years, “ensuring ongoing succession planning in supporting traditional skills”.


Some of its properties need to be closed occasionally on health and safety grounds because of high winds, and drones are increasingly being used for maintenance surveys. The control of biological growth on stone and the nefarious activities of burrowing animals also feature prominently on the agenda.


3) New standard could be big news

The ISO 14000 standard specifically for facilities management, being worked on in Glasgow this week, represents a pivotal moment in the potential for such standards to boost the profession, according to the British Standards Institution’s Stan Mitchell.


“We now have approval to create this standard and I honestly believe it is probably the biggest thing we can collectively do to promote the status and professionalism of FM,” said Mitchell.


Work on the new standard carries on in Glasgow today, two days after the end of the EFMC itself.


More on the EFMC conference will appear in the 18th June edition of FM World.