A new survey conducted by UK Construction Week in partnership with the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has revealed that more than 80 per cent of facilities management (FM) professionals believe more needs to be done to take whole lifecycle cost into account during the construction process.
The results of the survey have also highlighted a huge disparity between professionals’ thoughts about how they should be involved in the construction process and their experience. When asked what role FM should play in the construction process, 85 per cent of respondents said that it should be fully integrated throughout but only 15 per cent found in experience they were.
When asked about the prevalence of Building Information Modelling (BIM) use in practice, more than 60 per cent admitted they do not currently use the technology and only 16 per cent said they use it regularly. Despite the low uptake so far of the technology, professionals in the sector see the value it can bring with almost three quarters of respondents agreeing that BIM can help support the on going delivery of facilities management beyond initial construction.
The survey moved on to ask what is holding FM professionals back from using BIM and the top three answers given were: difficulty of integration with current technology and CAFM (44 per cent), training (41 per cent) and cost (37 per cent).
Interestingly, the survey also revealed that over half of FM professionals believe that the FM sector is in the same boat as the wider construction industry when it comes to the current skills shortage. And while 80 per cent of those surveyed agreed that FM apprenticeships would be one of the best ways to attract new talent, only 18 per cent said that their company currently offers apprenticeships or has plans to offer them in the future. Encouragingly however, the overwhelming majority (86 per cent) of FM professionals said that qualifications are becoming more prevalent in the sector and add value to the construction industry.
Nathan Garnett, Event Director for UK Construction Week, commented: “The FM sector is an extremely important part of the wider construction industry as it plays such a key role in ensuring that construction projects continue to deliver the high levels of efficiency and sustainability being pushed in the initial stages throughout their lifespan. It is clear from the results that more needs to be done to fully integrate FM in the construction process to ensure smoother transitions from construction to on going operations. UK Construction Week will be the perfect opportunity to highlight these issues further and develop solutions. It will also be an ideal platform for professionals to network and build stronger cross-disciplinary working relationships.”
Peter Brogan, Research and Information Manager at BIFM, added: “BIFM continues to be committed to helping equip FM professionals with further skills and knowledge by producing up-to-date guidance and building on our existing training in this area. This will drive FM professionals and others from across the built environment professions to understand the role that FM can play in design and construction planning and implementing BIM processes. This Autumn we intend to build on our Operational Readiness Guide, launched in early summer this year, and are currently finalising our latest Good Practice Guide on BIM, which will be available before the end of the year.”
Some of the other notable findings from the survey include:
• Of those currently using BIM, 58 per cent use it to improve efficiencies and 42 per cent use it for lifecycle management
• Two of the main challenges identified as a result of insufficient integration of FM during the construction process were: operational realities have not been taken into account (65 per cent) and inadequate information at handover (55 per cent)