There was a great turnout at the Annual Members Lunch of the IPFMA (Irish Property & Facility Management Association) in Dublin (Shelbourne Hotel), at which the first graduates of the new Higher Certificate in Property & Facilities Management were honoured.
Attendance numbers were well up on previous years’ with over 255 property, asset and facility manager members and guests turning out to hear the after lunch speakers, sports personality and commentator Ray Houghton, who as a former professional footballer represented the Republic of Ireland at international level, and Des Cahill, Ireland’s well-known sports broadcaster.
The first four graduates of the IPFMA’s new educational course accredited by DIT Dublin, the Higher Certificate in Property & Facilities Management, were honoured at the lunch. They were awarded their Higher Certificates at a graduation ceremony at DIT.
Also addressing the lunch, the IPFMA’s biggest social event on its calendar, was the Association’s chairman, chartered surveyor Vincent Hickey FIPFMA MSCSI MRICS, an operations director with global management company Aramark.
In commending the new Higher Certificate graduates, he said that education has played a significant part in the IPFMA’s response to market growth in the property and facility management industry in Ireland.
“There has been momentous growth over the past 25 years in this sector in Ireland and the IPFMA structure, with its commitment to furthering educational qualifications, has responded well. We now find ourselves in a property and facilities market that is more professional, regulated and demanding than ever before”.
The IPFMA estimates the current size of the facilities market in Ireland to be in the region of €650 million. Vincent Hickey says that “this is a figure that continues to grow, as more and more multinationals locate in the Republic of Ireland”.
Vincent Hickey, chairman of the IPFMA, Julie Lynch, one of the first 4 graduates of the new IPFMA / DIT Higher Certificate in Property & Facilities Management, and Tom Dunne, Head of School, DIT Bolton Street.
In comparing the property management sector to facilities management, the IPFMA chairman says that growth in commercial property management has remained stagnant in recent times.
“However,” he says encouragingly, “there is movement and growth in the residential property management sector. This is mainly attributed to owner management companies appointing reputable management agencies, who are compliant with the property regulator”.
In the facilities management sector, Mr. Hickey pointed out that in the UK 60% of services are provided by external providers, whereas in Ireland it is lower. Currently in the Irish market 45% of services are provided by external providers, based on tender return information.
“This figure is set to increase”, says Vincent Hickey, “as more ‘big name’ multinationals and key players in the life sciences industry relocate here, coupled with the fact that they are influencing the development and character of the Irish facilities management industry in a major way”.
It is Mr. Hickey’s opinion that the anticipated growth of facilities management over the next 5 years in the Irish market is 4-5% in soft services (security, cleaning etc.), and 2-3% in hard services, such as mechanical and electrical.
The IPFMA chairman Vincent Hickey spoke of the need for property managers to adopt a shorter term outlook than facilities managers, on account of their objective to minimise expenditure and maximise ROI for building owners.
“The majority of leases these days are for shorter terms with favourable conditions for tenants. Property managers are now more focused on keeping tenants’ needs satisfied in order to retain them for longer periods”, he explained.
“Owing to the significant drop in building values in recent years, property managers are tasked with both maintaining and upgrading premises on tight budgets, as well as ensuring that service charges remain competitive”.