Property Management and FM Ė BIFM South West Training Day 16th March 2018

10-04-18 16:30 BIFM

A delegation of around 100 people was warmly welcomed by the event organisers, Pauline Simpkins and Chris Roberts. For Pauline it was a day of firsts: first training day of the year; first training day in our new venue at the UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre and first event as our newly inaugurated South West Regional Chair.

A large proportion of the delegation were surprised to hear that is BIFMís 25th anniversary and about the Manifesto For Change. While on the subject of updates from BIFM, we heard that submissions for the BIFM awards must be made by 20th April 2018 and that Pauline will be making her 15th application for newcomer of the year.† In case you hadnít heard, Think FM is scheduled for the 1st May 2018 and World FM Day will take place on 16th May with the theme ďEnabling Positive ExperiencesĒ.

Making Property Work

Our first speaker of the day was Phil Morton, Director at Morton Property Consultants and Essex boy with a penchant for white socks. Its official!† 2018 is a landlordís market. Very little office property is being developed due to BREXIT, which means that, taking Bristol as an example, 600,000 square feet out of 12 million square feet of office space is currently empty. Only 55,000 square feet is currently being built. Add to that the government initiative to ease the permissions for converting office space to residential and this has led to a jump in the price of office space from £27.50 to £32.50 per square foot in the space of a year. Looking positively, due to modern attitudes and workplace designs, it is possible to use lease renewals and regears as an opportunity to become more efficient and save money. By using the principles of core and flex space, the digital office, flexiworking, satellite co-working and the improvement of work life balance, efficiencies of up to 20% may be made. Savings may also be made from business rates by challenging the basis of evaluation, claiming a material change in circumstances and claiming relief on vacant or part vacant offices.

The Legal Cut

Following in the theme of lease management our next speakers were Warren Reid and Ben Tarrant, both Partners at Thrings LLP, who spoke about break clauses and renewals respectively. Break clauses in leases are incredibly risky, especially for the tenant. It is likely that landlords will want to retain tenants and hence will give no leeway over the terms of the break clause. Problems occur due to late serving of notice, historical late payments of rent or interest on overdue rent, serving on the wrong landlord and the condition of the property. The overriding message was, avoid leaving it to the eleventh hour to begin the process and get sound legal advice and representation. In the case of renewing a lease the roles reverse and it is assumed that the tenant wishes to renew or regear their lease for preferential terms and the landlord wants the opportunity to improve the return on investment. A lease that is made under the Landlord and Tenants Act 1954 guarantees the tenantís right to a new lease. A lease that is constructed outside of the act is very much in favour of the landlord as they can terminate the lease on the due date and leave the tenant with no bargaining power. There are strict time scales to follow when renewing a lease and it is not permissible for the tenant to change their mind over the proposed changes to the terms of the lease once made. The landlord may oppose the renewal but they must have very good grounds for doing so. The courts may help with the agreement of terms. Dilapidations are a further complication to lease renewal or cessation. The tenant needs to be very clear as to their responsibilities for dilapidations as it can be costly during the course of a lease if repairs are not kept up and even more awkward if dilapidations become an issue during lease renewal. Again, that all important professional advice is recommended.

Managing Estates using a FM Integrator Model

Following some much needed refreshments we welcomed our principal sponsor to the stage in the shape of Gary Barbour from Autonomous FM. Gary explained his managing agent Integrator Model with the aid of a case study. Halliburton deliver oilfield services on a distributed basis in such areas as the UK, Scandinavia, Middle East and North Africa. Like all businesses their buildings and facilities assets require management and servicing. Under the old FM service model there was a proliferation of FM service providers with multiple help desks and a large number of local delivery processes. This was very inefficient and unnecessarily costly. The integrator model consists of a single managing agent that formulates a single help desk with a set of common procedures for the delivery of services, reactive maintenance and planned maintenance. By using common standards it is easier to monitor the performance of individual service providers and hence replace those that underperform with others. This model makes other technological solutions more viable, such as business intelligence modelling, projects to replace standard lamp fittings with LEDs, monitoring legionella compliance by means of IoT sensors and just in time maintenance through the monitoring of sensors on assets. The Integrator Model uses its own CAFM and database and hence can take advantage of BIG DATA for the purpose of intelligent decision making. Data is gathered from multiple sources to enable trend analysis leading to such useful outcomes as strategic supply chain decision making. Due to the challenges in getting spares to Africa in a timely manner, the ability to predict spare part usage is a big advantage. Similarly the finance department are happy in as much as they get a prediction of forthcoming costs of spare parts.

Property Development Case Study

A splendid lunch of lasagne preceded the opening afternoon session led by Gavin Bridge of the property developer Cubex. Finzelís Reach is Cubexís mixed use development that occupies the old Courage Brewery site opposite Castle Park in Bristol. The name, however, represents a time before even that of Georgeís Bristol Brewery when the site was partly occupied by a sugar refinery. The refinery was rebuilt by Conrad Finzel in 1846 when it became the largest refinery in Britain, taking advantage of the Bristol docks for its supply of raw materials until its closure in 1881. In 1999 the old brewery was acquired by an American property developer who developed the site until 2013 when the banks foreclosed. Cubex bought the site for £40M and set about marketing the 73 unsold apartments. The site has moved on since then due to the mixed use policy and now contains a large selection of apartments, including 194 rental units available through Grainger, a Premier Inn hotel that opened in 2017 and the Aurora office block, briefly among the 600,000 square feet of space awaiting occupancy. There are also a number of retail and leisure outlets opening on the plot to†complement and complete the mixed use policy. The final cherry on the cake is the bridge that spans the river from Castle Park to Finzelís Reach. It is designed to be low maintenance and copes with a height difference of seven metres. There are no moving parts or steps and it meanders across the river providing a gentle slope by which users can navigate easily from one side to the other.

Manifesto For Change

Pauline Simpkins, South West Regional Chair, next posed the question Is There a Future in Workplace? This was the precursor to a discussion about BIFMís Manifesto For Change in which the tables were each given an Anniversary Pack and invited to note their reactions to the proposals and its recommendations both before and after undertaking a structured discussion. There are a number of drivers behind the manifesto for change, but principally it is due to a lack of recognition that FM is part of the high level leadership team and that the functions of HR, IT and FM are merging to produce a workplace experience for employees. The discussion centred around two aspects, the change of name to IWFM and the introduction of chartered status. Paulineís aspiration is to get the outcome of the deliberations published in FM World.† But the feeling around the room was in favour of chartered status while the idea of a name change was not as universally popular.

Historic England and their work in the South West

For our final session of the day we were joined by the person with the longest job title in the room. Simon Hickman, the Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, Historic England came to ask the question, why bother with the old stuff? Historic England has managed to put numbers to use to demonstrate what we all thought made sense and that is the economic value of heritage. In the South West alone it is worth £2.5 billion. There are also some fluffy reasons: The power of place in terms of distinctiveness, character and identity; the risk of being nothing special, and so it can be demonstrated that a historic environment contributes to economic growth; so why bother? Because heritage makes us happy, it provides social cohesion and inclusion and inspires local pride. The name, Historic England had not been heard before 2015 as it was only then that it was formed as the advisory counterpart of English Heritage. English Heritage became the English Heritage Trust, charged with managing the heritage sites in their care. Historic England looks after Englandís historic environment and advises the government on which parts of heritage are nationally important by designation. They provide grant aid to assist in securing the future of a designated site and their aim is to reduce the numbers of sites on the At Risk register which currently stands at 5254. In 2017 £10.5M was granted to 260 projects to remove them from the register. There are four types of heritage: buildings, graded II, II+ and I; scheduled monuments, such as Aylesbury Stones; registered parks and gardens; and conservation areas. An example of constructive conservation is St Pancras Station where the old structure was preserved and modern facilities added inside for utility and aesthetic value. Historic England provide services to the public including: screening for potential listing; listing enhancement; extended pre-application advice; and fast track listing.

The Chairís chosen charities for the day were the Alzheimerís Society and Shelter, both of which benefited from the prize draw at the end of the day. Our sponsor, Autonomous FM, provided a signed England Rugby Shirt for the business card raffle.

One final mention must go to PlantCare who kindly provided a demonstration of biophilia with much needed plant life to brighten our surroundings.

Paul Cullen, South West Regional Committee Member

Find out more about the BIFM South West Region here

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