Look beyond the tech skills of engineers in FM and reduce that over design!

(Written by Fiona Buckley)

soft skillsTwo of Magenta’s clients took to the floor at a BIFM London region event last week at London’s Guildhall to discuss two major issues affecting the FM industry. The fact is, there are many groups of people that need to come together to design, facilitate and maintain buildings. In reality, that doesn’t always happen and as a result there can be serious and expensive consequences.

So what are those challenges? Ergro, and Guardian Water Treatment kick-started the debate around soft skills and why they believe they are increasingly important to the engineering side of FM. This is in addition to problems with water system design, which can lead to ongoing maintenance and health and safety issues, delegates heard.

“Looking beyond maintenance and focusing on customer service is key to unlocking long term relationships with clients, reducing overall maintenance costs, increasing client satisfaction and raising the profile of the industry as a whole,” said Chris Wollen, chairman of Ergro. “We are getting positive feedback from clients and plan to extend our engineer training programme as a result”.

Steven Booth, Associate Director, Guardian Water Treatment discussed the multiple situations where FMs are left with “badly” designed water systems and the impact this has on business. “We commonly see water systems designed without thought for how a building will be used, leading to poor water hygiene, system failure and unnecessarily high maintenance requirements.

“Designers are following building regulations guidance but that is not always comprehensive enough. What works on paper may not always work in practice, there is no follow-up. Designers may benefit from coming back and to see how a system works a year or two down the line and adjust future designs accordingly.”

So, what next? I suspect we will see companies increase their long term profits by investing in engineer soft skills training. They will standout among the crowd and the smart organisations have got this underway already. But will we see designers revisit the buildings they design to learn from any mistakes made? I’m not so sure… time will tell.

Magenta Associates