The Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) have announced a joint initiative to explore the potential to develop a completely new form of contract explicitly for facilities management.
The initiative comes in the light of feedback from some BIFM members that existing forms of contract, developed primarily for use in construction or mechanical and electrical projects, did not meet all their needs. If findings from the project research uphold this a new form of contract will be developed as part of the well-regarded NEC4 contract suite.
The new contract products seek to reflect and support the diverse FM industry. The aim will be to advance good practice in the procurement and management of FM services in what could be the latest iteration of the widely used contract form, NEC4. The form has been enhanced to reflect procurement and project management developments and emerging best practice, with improvements in flexibility, clarity and administration; and is suitable for procuring a full array of activities from major works to small-scale projects.
The first piece of joint work under the memorandum of understanding, signed this week by ICE and BIFM chiefs, will be to identify the contract-related needs and challenges of those working in FM through a discrete piece of research. The insight resulting from the research – to be announced at the NEC User’s Group Conference in June – will determine the development of a potential bespoke service contract adaptation of NEC4 to provide an industry-wise framework for ‘best in class’ facilities management activity. It builds on earlier collaboration between the NEC team and BIFM’s volunteer-led Procurement Special Interest Group.
Further activity under the MoU will include collaboration on training and up-skilling opportunities for FMs to optimise the impact of the standard contracts in service.