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By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the March 2014 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
QIn your opinion, what is the best way for one to attain the best practice standard defined by facility practitioners or IFMA? How long does this take, and in what learning environment?
Can you provide insight on the correlation between these professional practices—facility manager, project manager, and property manager/estate surveyor/realtor?
A Creating a standard for facility management practices is helpful in numerous ways, such as providing a vision map in the organization leadership, behavioral expectations, construction standards, and maintenance and renewal criteria for ongoing resource needs and allocations, etc. The standard has to be carefully crafted to work within the mission of the organization that you serve, and leadership needs to understand and support the standard.
Fortunately, we are in an age where a vast amount of information is easily available, and we have associations and organizations that are eager to help and share experiences. Associations are a very powerful way to get a quick start on developing your standard. You first need to align yourself to the association(s) that best match your industry type.
Since I don’t know what industry your organization is in I will list a few examples. I don’t participate in all of these associations, and they might describe their focus a little differently than I have, but this will give you an idea of what I mean: IFMA, General Industry; BOMA, High Rise and Commercial Industry; APPA, Higher and K-12 Education Industry; AFE, Commercial and Industrial; ASHE, Medical Industry. If there is a comprehensive, long time association that most closely aligns with your industry, start there.
Since I serve in the education industry, my first introduction to associations was with APPA back in 1993. I was blown away by how giving they were of their information and mentoring. They even had an educational institute that I graduated in 1998. I still send staff to this today.
In my experience, one thing is for sure. All the well developed associations have many books, ongoing development of standards, classes, and conferences available. But nothing is more powerful than to get involved with an association to help. I have served in numerous capacities from web interfaced committees to the President. There is no class that will teach you more than you will learn in these capacities. However, these positions don’t typically become available to you until after you have attended many of the classes, written several articles for their publications, and/or presented topics at their conferences. As far as the descriptive titles go, each association will have specific ways to describe these. So again, find your association and start there. The fuel for all this is sharing information that others within the organization need. It’s really an unbelievable thing in today’s era.