Analysis

Building for life

The Big Project caught up with senior officials from the just-launched Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA) at the FM Expo 2010 to find out how it intends to help maximise the life cycle of buildings in the region

Middle East Facility Management Association, Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Maintenance Management Group The Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA) was initiated by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) at the Facilities Management Expo 2010, with the objective of unifying the region’s industry, which is estimated to be worth US $4.2 billion.

The not-for-profit association is expected to conduct research, provide educational programmes and assist corporate and organisational firms in developing facilities management strategies, products and services.

It will represent all stakeholders in facilities management, including owner associations, for which the Strata law will affect significantly. Speaking at the opening conference Imdaad CEO and president of MEFMA Jamal Lootah outlined his vision to standardize and create effective benchmarking in facilities management across the Middle East to enhance building life cycle.

“MEFMA will contribute to developing and implementing a long term sustainable development strategy for the real estate industry by working closely with the local authorities and with the building owners across the Middle East, promoting cooperation and joint ventures with the facilities management industry.”

“We’re trying to raise awareness of facilities management, which is often thought of as basic services. We would like to see more owners and developers thinking about facilities management right from the designing and building stages,” added Maintenance Management Group CEO and MEFMA board member Youssef Abillama. FM-friendly designs

“We’ve been working on this concept for two years focused on three principles; to benefit developers, service providers and tenants,” Ahmad Hussein Mohammad, director of the facilities management department at the engineers’ office of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum told The Big Project.

“There is always a gap between these three entities so we’re promoting new techniques and educating on improving the lifecycle, sustainability and cost of a building through better facilities management. It’s about looking at the broader picture.”

MEFMA will develop benchmarking reports and work with the government to set minimum design requirements that are intended help ensure facilities management is introduced at the design stage of any new development.

The facilities association will also drive infrastructure regulation, examine service charges in the region and create gap analyses of government initiatives, thereby identifying where cost savings can be made through facility management, according to Burj Khalifa senior director of operations and MEFMA board member Ali Al Suwaidi.

Transparent pricing

He told explained that facilities management services were often priced too highly: “We need more transparency in the cost and quality of services and products across the board. We will act as independent advisors.”

Honeywell regional technical sales leader ME Chandrashekhar Sardesai, who was exhibiting at the show, welcomed the organisation and hoped that it would promote transparency and efficiency in the market.

“If building operations costs are high, occupancy goes down. There will be even more demand for our energy saving integrating technology when the price of electricity goes up in the region. Consultants, architects and developers should take on more responsibility for facilities management,” he said.

The company claimed to have completed more than 5000 energy efficient projects in facilities across the globe since the 1980s. It estimated that the global economy could operate using 10-25% less energy by implementing existing integration technologies.

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