Find out how new technologies and shifting customer expectations are impacting the UK FM sector, in this BIFM report

by Brianna Crandall — April 25, 2018 — The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) recently launched its UK FM Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) 2018. Researched in partnership with Barclays and i-FM, the fourth annual BCM offers a unique insight into buoyancy across the FM sector and insight into current thinking and attitudes at the heart of the industry.

The BCM canvassed the views of business leaders and other professionals, enabling an assessment of the confidence, ambition and priorities of organizations operating in the FM market.

Since the first BCM report in 2015, confidence in the FM business environment within the UK has been cautiously optimistic. However, this year’s results come at a pivotal moment for the FM sector, given the range of new opportunities and challenges facing the industry, from the adoption of new technology to shifting customer expectations.

The threats facing the FM sector are being felt more acutely in 2018; a number of large FM service providers, for example, reported profit warnings in 2017. When last year’s report was released, Carillion stood as one of the FM sector’s most prominent organizations, and while this year’s survey was live, the company entered into liquidation.

Although in general confidence levels in the sector continue to drop, respondents remained positive about the FM business environment, despite this year’s results demonstrating that as a country the United Kingdom continues to be in a state of flux regarding Brexit.

David Emanual, managing director of i-FM, stated:

The FM market has experienced its fair share of challenges over the past 12 months, from liquidations and profit warnings to strategic reviews and redundancies. Unfortunately, I suspect there could be more to come in 2018, which is why it is reassuring, if not a little surprising, to see so much optimism for the future of FM.

Nonetheless, it is an exciting time in the sector, as new technologies disrupt traditional models and as the discipline evolves to take on a broader remit within the concept of workplace.

Terry Myatt, director — head of Facilities Management, Barclays, commented:

The next 12 months will undoubtedly be an important year for the UK economy, as new trading relationships with the EU and beyond are devised. With the facilities management sector continuing as an integral element of an ever-growing services sector and one of the largest UK employers, it will continue to play an important role in future jobs and prosperity for the country.

It is therefore vital we use the BCM to understand in detail the health of the sector and the confidence and sentiment expressed by its key constituents, particularly at this time as our sector is firmly under the spotlight and attracting increasing attention.

Peter Brogan, BIFM head of Research and Insights, added:

Once again sentiment on future business activity for the year ahead is positive, with a majority expecting to increase turnover, increase capital investment and focus on technology, although on a reducing basis.

A particularly important insight and a testament to the continuity of the BCM is the changing sentiment toward the Apprenticeship Levy, mirroring wider industry concerns about its structure and effectiveness, but it is particularly pleasing to learn that a large majority expect no real negative impact from the National Living Wage increase — a sure sign that the industry has planned well and engagement between service providers and users has been strong in advance of this regulatory change. I would strongly encourage FM leaders to familiarize themselves with our findings — they reveal key insights which could prove significant in prioritizing for the year ahead.

The UK FM Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) 2018 is available from the BIFM website with a brief registration.