A Certain Level of Knowledge
Patricia Delaney, Secretary General of FIABCI – The International Real Estate Federation and Martin Von Hauff, President, FIABCI World Council of Managers, discuss the relationship between property management and facilities management, and the underlying dynamics of international property markets with FM Magazine.
FIABCI represents professionals engaged in a diverse array of property-related disciplines; including urban planning and architecture, real estate development and property management, estate agency and brokerage work, and financial services. Are significant numbers of facilities managers members of your organisation?
PD: FIABCI was founded by five national associations of property managers and the management of real estate was, and continues to be, a core competency of FIABCI members.
MVH: Managers account for approximately 30 per cent of FIABCI Member Association members and a similar percentage of FIABCI Direct Member Associations. The majority of these managers provide facility and/or property management services.
What benefits might facilities managers gain from joining the Federation?
PD: FIABCI is an international network of real estate professionals located throughout the world. The advantages of being part of this network include identifying and creating business opportunities with facilities managers in other markets, and also identifying concrete business opportunities involving other professions within the real estate industry.
MVH: Within FIABCI, there are several World Councils focused on specific real estate sectors. The “FIABCI World Council of Managers” is geared specifically towards addressing the needs of managers associated with FIABCI. This Council’s mission is to share knowledge and best practices worldwide.
It is often said property developers and property managers adopt a shorter-term outlook than facilities managers. What is FIABCI’s view?
PD: This will depend largely on the marketplace. Whilst in some regions the statement might hold true; especially when there are clear lines of demarcation between the activities that are undertaken by developers and those undertaken by property managers, there is a growing recognition amongst real estate developers of the importance of sustainability in its broadest sense.
MVH: Within FIABCI, this is one of the common areas of interest to both the World Council of Developers and the World Council of Managers.
Contracts to manage the biggest global property portfolios are invariably awarded to property managers rather than facilities managers; with recent examples including JLL’s award of HSBC Bank’s portfolio and the renewal of CBRE’s global contract with Bank of America. Does this suggest facilities management is more “localised” than property management?
PD: Facility Management generally requires a far more stringent level of expertise in vertical integration of services. As a consequence, it requires a certain level of knowledge from service partners, many of whom are acting locally themselves. And the widely held perception that facility management is more “local” in its scope is a consequence of that; despite the existence of markets, including the office and industrial property sectors, where large national players offer facility management services.
With 100 national real estate associations, 65 Academic Institutions and 3,000 individual members in 65 countries. FIABCI is the largest network for property professionals globally. Is size everything?
PD: FIABCI doesn’t measure itself by numbers. What is most important about the Federation and what provides the utmost value, is the quality of its members and the fact that it is the most representative real estate organisation in the world.
MVH: FIABCI provides access and opportunities to real estate professionals who are interested in gaining more knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other. With members from every profession and sector in real estate, and with a wide geographic coverage, FIABCI can ensure its members are part of a truly global real estate organisation which can enable them to network effectively and conduct business on a global basis.
FIABCI enjoys Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Organisation (ECOSOC). Why?
PD: FIABCI’s relationship with the UN dates from the 1950s when FIABCI started to provide the UN with an unique, private sector perspective for facilitating public-private co-operation. Today, FIABCI works with the UN on a number of projects, including promotion of the For Sustainable Real Estate Markets policy framework which provides principles and guidance for the development of a country’s real estate sector. Other areas of co-operation include the development of sustainable cities and methods for their assessment, and social housing issues. FIABCI holds a privileged position by virtue of being able to contribute to the development of these policies.
Does FIABCI’s involvement with the UN imply the dynamics of property markets in different countries are fundamentally the same?
PD: At the macro- level, the fundamentals of property markets in countries which have established property rights are comparable, as they are based on the human desire for adequate housing and business premises. Beyond these very basic similarities, the dynamics of property markets depend largely on the underlying economy, national and regional demographics, and legal and fiscal conditions: these variables can lead to huge variety within different national markets.
The May 2014 edition of FIABCI’s global annual event is dedicated to “Building Humanity.” Why?
MVH: This theme was chosen to embody many aspects of the real estate sector and the role of the sector in the future of humanity. The topics chosen address many different subjects highly relevant to real estate, starting with Keynote Speaker, Jeremy Rifkin. Jeremy Rifkin will present his theories on the “Third Industrial Revolution.” The Congress will then build upon Jeremy Rifkin’s presentation by focusing on “Real Estate Opportunities;” “Cities & Technology;” “Finance & Tax;” as well as “Architecture & Urban Design.” Each topic will include a special focus to ensure that the real estate sector leads the way towards a sustainable future.
How do you ensure your members across the world maintain professional standards?
MVH: FIABCI members are admitted through our network of FIABCI Chapters which are located throughout the world. This allows the application of a member to be considered relative to the professional setting and standards of each local country. It also provides an assurance that applicants are qualified to become FIABCI Members. All members are obliged to adhere to the “FIABCI Code of Ethics” as a requirement for membership. This is one way FIABCI helps to maintain professional standards within the industry.
PD: FIABCI also offers on-going education to members through the FIREC (FIABCI International Real Estate Certificate) designation. Obtaining this designation requires a combination of continuing educational credits and professional experience. In addition, FIABCI’s international events offer a full professional programme filled with an abundance of knowledge and education enabling members to learn and develop new skills on a continual basis.
Many of the largest project announcements come from emerging regions of the world. Does this surprise you?
PD: The emerging regions of the world are experiencing huge demand in real estate. This is a trend we can expect to continue. It is related to specific demographic, the rise in GDP which, as a result, causes a growing demand for quality real estate within those countries.
Are you reaching out, for example, to the Middle East or China, or even Latin America?
MVH: FIABCI has had a strong presence in Latin America for many years, with FIABCI Chapters and FIABCI Members located in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica as well as Uruguay.
PD: Presently our membership in China is growing. Over 200 Chinese professionals have obtained the prestigious FIREC designation during the past year. We are working closely with professional associations within China to continue this trend. A new chapter, FIABCI-China, will be launched before the end of 2014 which in turn, will allow us to continue to develop our presence within the country. FIABCI-China will be a wonderful addition to our global network of real estate leaders and professionals. We are also expanding our Federation within the Middle East with members in Dubai and Lebanon. Again this demographic will be an area for expansion for FIABCI membership during the coming year.
What part has FIABCI played in working with governments to make property development more sustainable?
PD: FIABCI, representing the private sector, collaborates with the UN ECOSOC on a number of topics associated with real estate. For example, through the organization of combined events, FIABCI facilitates discussion and collaboration between the private and public sectors. Recent, FIABCI-organised events to promote the “UN Policy Framework for Sustainable Real Estate Markets” have been successful in encouraging discussions and contributing to changes in legislation and public policy. FIABCI has organised these events in several countries including Portugal, Italy, Ukraine, the United States and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates.
MVH: FIABCI is currently working on promoting the UN criteria for “Sustainable Cities Development Assessment” with the objective of encouraging real estate markets to take a leading role in global sustainable development efforts. FIABCI will again assume a leading role in facilitating and encouraging discussion between private and public entities.
Has this been successful?
PD: As a result of dialogue encouraged by FIABCI, legislative changes have been introduced in many countries. FIABCI has also been proactive in championing a continuing discourse on sustainable development by widening the participation of different real estate professionals to encourage proactive contributions.