fmME Breakfast Club guests welcomed a top official from Rera's Owner Association Regulatory Section with the news that the government authority is officially supporting the formation of an independent association for facilities managers in the Middle East.
In an historic move for facilities managers and end-users in the region, Ahmed K Al Hamdani, Owner Association Regulatory Section, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), joined guests at August's fmME Breakfast Club to officially ratify Rera and Dubai Government's support for an independent Middle East association for FMs, to be known as the Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFMA).
"Rera has been working closely with a number of FM professional behind the scenes to form MEFMA," explains Al Hamdani. "We're at the final stages of approving the constitution and getting approval from the Economic Department."
Al Hamdani went on to say Rera and Dubai Government is fully behind the move, looking forward to the big issue of customer satisfaction through best practice, legislation and regulation. "The association will be critical in forming best practice standards through continuous training and education programmes for professionals, with the intention of delivering outstanding customer service to home owners associations, commercial, retail, mixed use and industrial facilities."
Juma Bin Darwish Al Muhairy, VP engineering and event services, Dubai World Trade Centre, is the critical link between fmME Breakfast Club guests, Rera and Dubai Government. Al Muhairy, a member of previous attempts to form an association for FMs in the Middle East, has been working hard with fmME Breakfast Club chairman Stephen Barker and Reliance FM CEO Dilip Khatwani, among others, to put the case for a dedicated regional association to the relevant authorities.
"The last meeting with Rera left us in no doubt as to the agency's direction on association formation," notes Al Muhairy. "From the CEO down officials have immersed themselves in FM to come to an understanding as to its value in the Middle East. From this Rera concludes a FM association is vital if best practice, legislation and regulation are to be benchmarked and implemented in the industry."
This full backing and support will take the form of ensuring the constitution's legal validity, assignation of a transitional board consisting of FM professionals, resources, assurance of independence and support to fulfil the official association process. Economic correction
The economic correction has, on the flip side, come at a prescient time for the industry, says Dilip Khatwani. "For a lot of companies, individuals and families across the board the downturn has been harsh. The FM sector has not been spared, but what the situation has done is force those involved in real estate to take a long hard look at their bottom line and business model. The realisation, on a basic level, is that property is an asset that needs to be managed and maintained. And that the customer is now king.
"The marketplace is now consumer driven. It will never revert to the old model. This means quality service provision is now firmly on the agenda and we all know we have to deliver, and end-users demand it. The association will facilitate delivery standards."
Speed and commitment
The speed and commitment of Rera and Dubai Government in facilitating the association's formation is commendable and shows real intent, noted fmME Breakfast Club chairman Stephen Barker.
"This is an historic and incredibly positive step for all involved in the FM sector," said Barker. "One of the prime motivators for the formation of the association is to ensure end-users receive and benefit from impeccable service delivery, and it will give professionals a platform to work with, and from, to fulfil this aim."
Although independent, the association will have close ties with Rera and Dubai Government, which is viewed as a positive by Barker. "Rera agrees the association needs to be independent, yet the guidance and support of Rera as a government body is crucial if the association is to deliver on its promise to both end-users and professionals."
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