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The trends changing the face of facilities management

Smart cities, changing workplace design, new international standards, sustainability and improved waste management are changing the face of the facilities management sector, and how facility managers do their job.

Total Facilities 2018 will bring together experts from across the FM, design, property, energy, sustainable sourcing, digital technologies, waste management and product supply sectors to discuss the changing times and how to stay ahead of them.

Keynote speakers include Adam Beck, executive director at Smart Cities Council Australia & NZ;  Preeti Bajaj, vice president commercial transformation & smart cities at Schneider Electric; and Nathan Sri, director workplace strategy & change at JLL.

Hot-button topics include building compliance, designing workplaces for wellbeing, waste management and the impact of the Internet of Things.

“According to industry research, IoT technologies will be more pervasive in smart commercial buildings than anywhere else over the next three years,” Total Facilities event manager Andrew Lawson says.

The event will feature a new “Smart Zone” – a hub of technological innovation presenting new technologies and solutions to help create smarter, greener buildings.

“Highlighted with the Smart Zone, Total Facilities is designed to deliver visitors industry-class solutions and strategic advice on how to use technology and data to better understand and manage their building performance,” Lawson says.

Waste in the spotlight

Waste is in the spotlight, with a dedicated session on “reducing your waste line”.

Speakers will include India Korner, co-founder, Method Ltd; Blake Lindley, senior sustainability consultant, Edge Environmental; Andrew Dunne, head of innovation & development, NABERS; Rogier Roelvink, associate director, Turner & Townsend Thinc; and Tony Khoury, executive director, Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW.

The session will look at how the FM industry can adapt its practices to reduce waste, particularly during the operational phase of the building lifecycle.

Khoury told The Fifth Estate waste is an issue FMs should care about.

“The announcement by China to restrict the receipt of foreign recyclables from the start of 2018 has placed our recycling sector in a very difficult situation,” he says.

“In fact, the current situation is potentially the most difficult the industry has ever faced and collaboration between all affected parties will give the recycling industry in Australia the best chance of finding a solution.

“With our recycling markets in turmoil, commercial arrangements for the collection of recyclables may need to be varied and consideration may need to be given to other disposal options.”

The future of workplace design

The future of workplace design is another area for discussion.

The Fifth Estate’s managing editor and publisher Tina Perinotto is facilitating a session on wellbeing in the workplace and the relationship between humans and buildings.

Panelists will include Mark McKenna, Norman Disney & Young group sustainability leader; Peter Black, national director, workplace consulting for Colliers International; Nigel Hobbs, sales director, Welnis Labs; and Kate Harris, chief executive of Good Environmental Choice Australia.

In a session about agile working and activity-based working, panelists will look at how to cater for the vital element of people to ensure agile and ABW approaches deliver on their productivity promise.

Experts from the sector who will share insights include Brad Krauskopf, founder and chief executive of Hub Australia; Chris Ramsden, managing director & educational consultant, Mindlab Australia; psychologist Ruby Otero; and Sherrie Jones, workplace director – BGIS.

Another session on the future of the workplace will look at some of the criticisms of ABW and agile approaches, and whether they are just fads that may be superseded by the emergence of new types of commercial office spaces.

The session will be facilitated by Property Beyond director Rodney Timm, and panellists will include Nathan Sri, director, business transformation & change at JLL; and managing director of Resource Architecture, Graham Kirkwood.

Kirkwood’s practice recently undertook a pilot of a new style of workplace in conjunction with Latrobe University.

The pilot involved trialling a small teams-based approach to office design. Each team had a semi-enclosed space that enabled teams with diverse skills, personalities, ages and backgrounds to create a cohesive unit.

Kirkwood told The Fifth Estate the design enables teams to become more effective, connected and responsive.

Activity-based working (ABW) might be the most efficient solution in terms of how to utilise floorspace for some types of organisations, but now we are seeing that the most effective solution for people is not necessarily the most agile workplace, he says.

“We need a new measure for performance that is not based on individual performance, but is based on team performance,” Kirkwood says.

There are also ways ABW makes the FM role more challenging. In a standard office environment, cleaners might come in once a day. In an ABW or agile environment, they might need to come through every 30 minutes to wipe down desks and keyboards, and remove crumbs and other debris from floors, Kirkwood explains.

The challenge of ABW

One of the biggest complaints an FM hears in an ABW or agile environment is the risk of germs from sharing keyboards, he says.

There is a health and wellbeing perception, and this can often mean offices having anti-bacterial wipes on every desk with a keyboard so users can wipe them before use.

The agile approaches can also mean FMs need to provide a greater level of IT support for workers, Kirkwood says.

As everyone generally has their own laptop, and often helpdesk functions are outsourced, someone has to be able to ensure all users have the right software access and log-in access for their role.

Technology itself is the focus of several sessions, ranging from the macro, with discussions of smart cities and hacker-proofing smart buildings, through to the micro, such as new energy efficient technologies for building systems.

Total Facilities 2018 will be held 18-19 April at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Register here and see the full list of speakers and topics.

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