Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 8 Jun 2009 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Breakfast Club

The second fmME Breakfast Club meeting - the forum for passionate industry leaders and knowledge sharers - moved forward on the formation of a licensed trade association for the sector as a whole.

Breakfast Club
Juma Bin Darwish Al Muhairy (JD), director – Engineering, Dubai World Trade Centre.
Breakfast Club
Terry John-Baptiste (TJB), FM director Omniyat.
Breakfast Club
Louisa Theobald (LT), group exhibitions director SMG FM Expo.
Breakfast Club
Dilip Khatwani (DK), CEO, Reliance Facilities Management.
Breakfast Club
Alan Millin (AM) director of consultancy, Imdaad.
Breakfast Club
Christiane Murray (CM), BDM Special Projects, ServeU.
Breakfast Club
Ulysses Papadopoulos (UP), BDM, CitySpace.
Breakfast Club
Stephen Barker (SB), GM, ServeU.
Breakfast Club
Bradley Robbins (BR), Infrastructure and Facilities Manager, Nakheel.

The second fmME Breakfast Club meeting - the forum for passionate industry leaders and knowledge sharers - moved forward on the formation of a licensed trade association for the sector as a whole.

June's meeting at the Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai, saw the appointment of ServeU GM Stephen Barker as inaugural chairman to steer proceedings, and the addition of three new industry faces - Ulysses Papadopoulos, BDM, CitySpace; Juma Bin Darwish Al Muhairy, director - Engineering, Dubai World Trade Centre; Dilip Khatwani, CEO, Reliance Facilities Management - invited for their previous involvement in attempts to form a dedicated FM trade association for the Middle East.

Read on and find out how the group is shaping up to the challenges ahead to form an association for you and the industry to work with, and from, to implement best practice...

Volumetric surveys and other methodologies are among the key presentation components if the group is to crack the Chamber of Commerce. - Dilip Khatwani Reliance FM

Chairman appointed

Inaugural fmME Breakfast Club guests agreed the way forward in setting and implementing standards and to gain a regional FM industry voice, was through the formation of a trade association. It was therefore agreed upon in the second meeting to appoint an interim chairman as a single point of contact for the group with government and other key bodies.

With this in mind, ServeU GM Stephen Barker has volunteered to take on the role for an interim period.

How do you go about setting up a licensed trade association in the Middle East?

Stephen Barker (SB):I think we all agree that if this group is to go further and put itself in front of government and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce we need a single point of contact to steer the group. That said, we need to be fully prepared before we seek an audience. Ulysses, why did the earlier attempts fail?

Ulysses Papadopoulos (UP):The initial effort in 2003 stumbled when the meeting we secured with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce fell through. From that point on it became very hard to keep the group moving forward until we had another meeting, which didn't happen. We also tabled the association as member centric, which not only smacked as a trade union and was therefore not particularly appealing to the chamber, but also meant we had to have 25 Emiraties sitting on the board by law. That just wasn't possible then, and I doubt it would even be possible now.

Juma Bin Darwish Al Muhairy (JM):We had around 20 senior people in the group and aligned ourselves with IFMA, the International Facilities Management Association. In short we got too big and the momentum dissipated when the meeting with government failed to materialise. Plus IFMA backed off.

Louisa Theobald (LT):So you think the group should stay small?

Terry John-Baptiste (TJB):Yes. If you have that many people operating around the globe it's easy for people to drop out. They don't think they'll be missed at meetings, but their expertise is and it's then difficult to solve problems and move on if they're not at hand. I've experienced it before with various committees and we need to be mindful of having too many cooks. There's also the time issue. People are giving up their time, and if it's not productive they will stop coming.

Bradley Robbins (BR):Although I agree, we don't want to exclude the wider industry.

Alan Millin (AM):No, we want to reach out to the wider industry once we have something tangible to present. The same as if we went to the chamber, we need to have some to offer, or the movement will be seen as not only toothless, but totally rudderless.

LT:I agree to an extent. But I feel the people around this table should integrate with the wider industry. The industry is talking about this club and we don't want to be perceived as elitist or protectionist. The message has to go out as to why it's being kept small - i.e. to keep momentum and ownership, but also talk about the aims and objectives for the industry as a whole. The FM-Expo networking evening would be a good chance to have an informal chat with the industry. SB:Ok so that's agreed. To return to what we physically have already in terms of a framework, what's on the table Dilip?

Dilip Khatwani (DK):We have everything we need. From the data, processes and financials, to the code of ethics and the constitution, which Juma has. But I would advise that if the group is to gain a license it must present the association as company centric, rather than member centric. As Ulysses said, this was one of the major stumbling blocks of previous efforts. We also need to decide whether we piggy back on another relevant association or we go it alone and are standalone.

AM:I think we need to be independent here. This is the Middle East after all - a very different and specific region for FMs. The association needs to reflect the challenges faced here. Nowhere else in the world was experiencing such real estate growth before the correction. That means a huge number of developments are due for completion this year, which will have to be managed.

We want to reach out to the wider industry once we have something tangible to present. The same as if we went to the chamber, we need to have something to offer. - Alan Millin Imdaad

TJB:We need to develop our own brand first. Facilities managers in other regions and countries don't have to deal with district cooling, for example. And legionella is not recognised in this part of the world, despite 70 percent of its energy being used for cooling.

BR:And it's not just about traditional buildings. Beaches, parks, whole communities are also in the FM mix in the Gulf.

Christiane Murray (CM):We do face unique challenges. Take strata law and service charge budgets - there is as yet no single methodology. However, I have my own volumetric survey which I carried out at the Dubai International Financial Centre when it implemented strata law; we could use it as a template. Market conditions mean Rera might realise a FM trade association is something worth being involved with, especially if we can present our own tried and tested standards and measurements.

DK:Volumetric surveys and other methodologies are among the key presentation components if the group is to crack the Chamber of Commerce, not just the likes of Rera. To reiterate, everything is there, the challenges need to be understood. The churn of people and groups for example. There is also no defined process of putting a case to the chamber. That's where Juma and Ali Hassan Al Suwaidi at Imdaad can help, they're the national element needed.

SB:We need to return to action points before we break-up. There is obviously a lot of work to be done before we even look at making contact with the likes of the Chamber of Commerce. We need to act quickly but methodically. I put it to the floor that the constitution is passed to the chairman who will define a structure and delegate tasks to be presented at the next Breakfast Club meeting.

Floor:Aye!

Watch this space...

For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Hal-Luke Savas 8 years ago

I can only hope that this venture has succeeded as 28 years in ME taught me the basics of benefits of FM and such a grouping can provide first class service to industry there.
Good luck gentlemen.
Hal-Luke Savas MBA FCIM MBIFM ICIOB affCIBSE
london@tekomekhtn.eu