From IFMA’s World Workplace: Open Letter On Global FM

In early 2016, IFMA and RICS formed a collaboration to meet the trends related to global facility management. From San Diego, CA, IFMA's president and CEO, Tony Keane, and RICS' CEO, Sean Tompkins, released this open letter to the industry.

Today, from IFMA’s World Workplace in San Diego, CA, IFMA’s president and CEO, Tony Keane, and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)’ CEO, Sean Tompkins released this open letter to the industry. Formed in April 2016, IFMA-RICS collaboration represents a significant evolution in the history of facility management, providing an unprecedented level of industry support to meet the trends related to global facility management, and the growing demands of the 25 million FM practitioners around the world.


Dear World Workplace,

The forward-thinking city of San Diego, where smart street lights are saving the city $250,000 annually, is the perfect place to reflect on the global impact of having smart people running smart technology.

By the latest reports, the total global facility management (FM) market is estimated to be worth $1.12 trillion annually. Time and time again, we’ve learned that designing and constructing a smart building is just the beginning. Our industry offers significant value to companies wanting to maximize their ROI on the billions of dollars invested in cutting-edge sensors and switches.

Right now, smart buildings generate incredible amounts of complex data that can’t be optimized due to the lack of consistent standards and best practices for implementation. Reports show there is as high as a 24% discrepancy in building measurements between markets caused by inconsistent global standards. Even for The Edge in Amsterdam, quite possibly the world’s greenest office building, operators indicate that “one of the biggest challenges is making sense of the mountains of data generated by the sensors.”

FM shepherds everything that comes after the building is built, accounting for as much as 85% of the lifetime cost of a building. The FM professional is responsible to make sure all that complex data is optimized and utilized. Without FM solutions strategically in place, building managers risk significant waste and often face unexpected and rising operational costs.

Under the landmark IFMA-RICS Collaboration, global standards and comprehensive knowledge-sharing are, for the first time, achievable and projected to save millions by preventing avoidable inefficiencies and maximizing productivity. The fragmentation that has historically made cost estimating and large scale investment in the FM sector more difficult is coming to an end. Common standards and a unified global FM industry will remove barriers and help eliminate the divisions that have compounded issues for decades.

There are numerous property-related factors impacting energy efficiency ratings and we simply have not been speaking the same language. Inconsistent adoption of rating systems and lack of uniformity between the metrics themselves have resulted in unreliable benchmarks and missed opportunities to compare and scrutinize data at the global level. Companies are figuring it out as they go, often not sure how to effectively use smart building data and unfortunately, making expensive mistakes in the process.

Strategic FM global protocols are coming and will help organizations around the world streamline processes and better anticipate, measure and compare energy use in buildings. Then we can set, monitor and maintain realistic and safe energy efficiency goals.

A unified FM industry means more opportunities to make sure smart buildings operate correctly, green technology actually works and innovative designs are useable. Tools like the career map for professional recognition in FM will teach FMs around the world to speak the same professional language, even if they speak different languages.
The IFMA-RICS Collaboration is bridging the gaps! FM is finally ready to pull up a chair and join the bigger built environment conversation. You can learn more – including how the work we’re doing can energize your own career and benefit your facilities at Are you in?

Tony Keane
President and CEO
International Facility Management Association

Sean Tompkins
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors