• International Workplace
  • 16 May 2007

Partnering in FM: addressing conflict in facilities management contracts

Beating the culture of “adversarial contract-based relationships” should become a priority for facilities managers says FM Guru consultant, Martin Pickard.

Speaking at Workplace Law’s Facilities Management Legal Update One-day Conference yesterday, Pickard said that the FM sector is a completely “divided and inefficient sector” where there is “too much conflict and failure at service and business level.”

Where facilities management contracts are concerned, said Pickard, customers often see suppliers as lazy and out for profit and suppliers believe that customers are out to rip them off.

In order to avoid this conflict, Pickard recommends the practice of developing “partnering relationships” with suppliers and outsource service providers. This practice involves a commitment to working together for a longer period of time - agreeing long-term contracts of between five and ten years or even longer instead of a year or two.

The successful partnering-based relationship is based upon the following principles:

  • Choosing the right partner by assessing their capabilities
  • Working and staying together through good communication and developing trust
  • Having a shared objective and vision
  • Creating value
  • Agreeing an exit strategy

The British Standards Institution has issued a formal practice specification - BS 11000 - on managing collaborative relationships. The standard is said to be a “route map” on how to manage a successful, collaborative relationship. It can be adopted by enterprises of any scale, from SMEs to multi-nationals.

The standard can be found on the BSI website