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19 October 2018
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Survey gives a snapshot of the sector © iStock

14 November 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Only 8 per cent of in-house FMs report that all aspects of FM delivery are being conducted digitally, according to the results of the annual BIFM Sustainability Survey supported by British Gas.


The figure rises to 14 per cent for FM service suppliers, it adds. For most, digitalisation of FM services centres on connecting devices in workspaces and interrogating and acting on received information.


Technology in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT) is propelling the FM sector towards real-time reporting. But at the same time it is opening up a divide between adopters of new digital systems and other – generally smaller – companies which have yet to invest in digitalisation.


Other findings include how energy benchmarking data is a work tool most FM operatives are very keen to access. Over 50 per cent of respondents (52 per cent) rate it as “very important” and 32 per cent “moderately important”.


  • The overall key findings in the report were that:
  • • Sustainability has grown in overall importance to companies as well as in all levels of management;
  • • The sustainability agenda is broadening to include social value, which embraces welfare, diversity and community investment and that social value will be difficult to progress effectively until new metrics emerge;
  • • Boards need to accept that, for the moment, investment in new social dimensions of sustainability is more about “doing the right thing” than boosting the bottom line;
  • • Energy and wider environmental benchmarking can provide valuable insights to FM teams to optimise their buildings and engage at the design stage on projects; and
  • • That penetration of digitalisation is high within the FM sector and its role in delivering FM services will continue to increase.


Peter Brogan, BIFM research and information manager, said: “The BIFM Sustainability Survey provides a barometer for the industry and highlights how facilities management professionals and the businesses they represent are engaging with the sustainability agenda. We are able to assess trends across the last 11 years, but more than this, look ahead as this information enables us to identify trends which may impact across sustainability in FM in the future.


“This year’s results indicate that social value in particular is an area which organisations are finding challenging to progress effectively in the absence of appropriate metrics. In the interim, there is a need for organisations to appreciate that investment in new social dimensions of sustainability may be about ‘doing the right thing’ and being socially responsible rather than quantifiably boosting the bottom line – though this may change.


“Alongside social value, energy and wider environmental benchmarking continue to provide valuable insights for which FM teams may optimise their buildings and engage at the design stage on projects. We hope that our members will find the Executive Summary a useful and engaging document as they seek to plan sustainability initiatives.”


BIFM’s annual survey, the longest running of its kind in the UK, examines the way the FM profession is adapting to and tackling the increasing demand for sustainable business.


Now in its 11th year, the survey continues to offer a unique insight into sustainability across the full breadth of facilities management thanks to the active engagement of BIFM members.


The full BIFM Sustainability Survey Executive Summary is available now to download from www.bifm.org.uk/sustainabilitysurvey