Category Archives: 1:5:200

feedbackfeedforward for a FM led built environment sector.

Back in 2004/5 I chaired a Constructing Excellence working group, aBeCFM, an collaborative exercise between BE (now Constructing Excellence) and CFM (Centre for Facilities Management) with a remit to explore the collaboration and integrated working across the built environment sectors of design, construction and facilities management.

Following an article in Modern Building Services “What if we bought everything in reverse order” and an associated twitter conversation, I have dusted down the recommendations from the abecfm working group below. They are as relevant today as then, maybe more so in light of the Governments Construction Strategy.

Central thinking was feedbackfeedforward that recognised FM’s unique position and role to feedback of facility knowledge to design / construction at the start of a project and to feedforward facility knowledge into the organisation for organisational improvement.

The feeding back and feeding forward of building in use data and facilities management knowledge is key in helping to close the loop between RIBA stages 7 and 1. (Which should never have been illustrated as a linear process)

  • FM to act as broker for collaborative and integrated process. Early involvement of FM must be a given 
  • Extend culture of collaboration throughout the facilities life cycle, from concept to destruction (Would probably call this Cradle to Cradle now!)
  • Increase awareness of design, construction and fm leverage through better understanding of 1:5:200 ratios 
  • Facilities Management to drive a built environment collaborative approach to sustainability.
  • Adopt a collaborative improvement framework for an integrated FM led sector (such as EQFM or Be Excellent)
  • Assess value for all stakeholders –more focus on value management. Include whole life value statements with all design proposals
  • Integrate processes to address complexity, particularly at interfaces and handover stages
  • Share knowledge for innovation and learning feedback/feedforward 
  • Address people and leadership issues necessary for the transition to an integrated and collaborative, FM led industry

Unfortunately the website that contained more detail and signposted to references and case studies has been removed. But hopefully we can track it down and give it the light of day once again.

musing on a carbon 1:5:200

Reading many items and articles on the carbon issues that the built environment faces in the coming years, I have jotted a number of random thoughts in google notebook, which may one day be useful ‘spin’ for example:

…almost every building uses more energy than design calculations …… technology alone is not enough …… design 20%, people 80% … attitudes and behaviour towards energy use need to change …….. it is our responsibility to make sure that the building users understand what they need to do to meet the carbon objectives set at the design stage…… people just change the lightbulbs and appliances as soon as they move in ……. eco bling in buildings is too complex for fm’s so they switch it off and open the window..

And then, describing the 1:5:200 concept to someone today, it clicked, maybe it is the  1:5:200 thinking that joins these snippets together and is a new paradigm required in relation to sustainability and carbon management.

Maybe, if  the impact of construction is set to 1, then could the impact or influence of fm be 5 and the impact of building users 200? (in this thinking the influence of design is 0.1)

(and of course, as with the cost 1:5:200, these are indicative magnitudes to illustrate relationships between construction fm and buildings in use, not absolute figures)

Comments welcome ….

are green buildings usable?

It seems we are becoming awash with green buildings, eco homes and eco towns.

There are some great sites out there with green architecture eye candy (check out Mad Architecture for example).

We have some major and significant conferences and events on the horizon – from the international Eco City 2008, Green Build 2008 and West Coast Green, here in the UK Think 08, and more locally the Elevate Exemplar event in September and the Lancs Best Practice Club July event.  All very different and important to their target audiences.

Even in Second Life there are great green and sustainable ‘built environment’ demonstration and education projects

And yet in all the design, conferences, events and working groups I see very little about the usability of green buildings – what is it like to work, live and play in them?  What does the comfort level  within (and around) green building do for health, for productivity and for well being?  What is it really like to be a citizen of a eco-city such as Auroville?

Once again I am convinced its not the building – green or other wise – but the way we use buildings that is paramount importance on the sustainability agenda – as Prof Keith Alexander down at the Center for Facilities Management comments – its about building consumption – not production. 

Time to turn the telescope around?  Is the green / sustainability movement in the built environment stuck in the building production with eye candy design, at the expense of the usability of the buildings?

As a Friday comment – I am throwing down a challenge for comments and evidence – are  Green Buildings usable?

I invite guest posts here and links to sites that discuss this issue.

meeting tomorrows needs?

Alex Steffen over at Worldchanging posts an interesting comment on the future usability, flexibility and appropriateness of facilities designed by ego -starchitects.   Alex calls for : An open architecture, an architecture which asks a question of the future — how does our inspiration today serve your needs tomorrow?

(This question of inspirations today meeting the needs of tomorrow is being raised on many public PFI facilities at the moment, withing education and health for example. (Are we really building schools for the future)

A global, and virtual, open source architecture movement is gathering momentum within second life (wikitecture) and the open architecture network amongst other places.

And of course this all comes back to real integrated and collaborative working across the whole facilities and project players, stakeholders and end users. (see studio wikitecture concept for a nice approach to integration and collaboration)

isite 08

For what its worth, here are my top ten themes for the built environment sector in 2008. These are not predications as such but more of an extension of what I have seen emerge in 2007 and will most likely increase their presence on agendas in 2008…and beyond …

1 Carbon supply chain management – with carbon zero and carbon neutral being the buzz for 2008, will we see a re-evaluation of the value that supply chains add from a carbon reduction perspective? Each member of a supply chain will prove its worth to the overall chain through reduction or carbon emissions in the product or service it passes on to its customer. Essential in achieving the targets before us as we move along the route to a low carbon sector

2 Construction (and fm) Carbon footprint – of the construction or maintenance process – we have little understanding of the contribution the construction process itself makes to the life of a building – estimated from 11% to the equivalent of 3 years emissions for a typical home. Not knowing your carbon footprint may well be the equivalent of not knowing your health and safety stats at the end of 2008

3 ouses, ouses, ouses – a recognition of the importance of wilderness, national parks in light of housing expansion, and the importance these areas have – as a contribution to the environmental balance as well as our collective psyche.

4 End of greenwashing – well, at least a move from anecdotal blatant greenwashing to more evidenced based claims – we will still see many guilty of the greenwashing sins though to be caught by bloggers, watchdogs and bloggers alike.

5 Social networking – private facebook type networks such as xing for collaborative working across organisations, projects, supply chains and communities of practice. The use of Web 2.0 technologies to source knowledge and best practice, leading to a re-appraisal of IP perhaps

6 Open source – An increase in the sharing of technology, knowledge on an open source creative commons approach within our industry. Maybe value will come from using technologies and knowledge rather than just ‘owning ‘ it and restricting its real potential

7 From excellence to experience – the world of quality seems to have gotten stuck in excellence mode. Yet organisations are increasingly concerned with the experience – the experience of a journey the customer or end user makes through the facility or with an organisation. Often the level and nature of this experience is determined and shaped by the front of house (or organisation) people – facilities management people!

9 Virtual assets – as more and more organisations move activities and processes on line we see the reduction in need for built physical assets – eg large HQ’s – will the fm sector come to understand the concepts of virtual assets. Will we see FM organisations within Second Life? (we already have a thriving architecture and construction community there)

10 Community based fm – this one has been bubbling around for a while – but with the increase in social responsibility, social enterprises, community owned assets and the regeneration agenda we can see more community based facilities management approaches, some small such as management of village halls, some larger such as Transition Towns

More on these in future posts – your comments and additions are more than welcome


Mel over at Elemental posted an interesting and useful round up of BREEAM stuff. BREEAM and LEED (the US version) is certainly in the news at the moment, with both appearing to develop into specific sectors of construction. Rightly or wrongly BREAM and LEED will become central to achieving carbon neutrality and other sustainable targets in the coming years.

I am still not convinced of the benefits of these schemes over the life of a facility and contribution to the users business or organisational costs. (ie a focus on the 1, rather than the 5 or 200 from the 1:5:200 school of thinking)

My comments left in response to Mels article are copied below…would appreciate your thoughts…

…BREEAM and LEED tend to be taking off in all directions – much as the EFQM did 5 or so years ago – can this be a good thing or is it a watering down of a good original concept?

We are seeing more and more targets being set to achieve BREEAM Excellent for this or that sector, yet for the construction and fm sectors this means very little, so is ignored.

Even with the more eco aware construction organisations , their contribution to the whole process is sometimes seen as too limited, (patronising maybe?) ie around waste, transport etc, rather than making real contribution to the environmental life cycle of the facility, so again drops quickly to the bottom of the to do lists.

Integrated Project Delivery

ExtranetEvolution posted an in-depth review and commentary on the recently published Integrated Project Delivery guide, from the AIA in the US. Thinking this would be all IT and Technology I have given the guide a quick scan, but a few things caught my eye for a more in-depth read. As a Constructing Excellence‘s Collaborative Working Champion , I liked the opening…

Envision a new world where …

... facilities managers, end users, contractors and suppliers are all involved at the start of the design process
… processes are outcome-driven and decisions are not made solely on a first cost basis
… all communications throughout the process are clear, concise, open, transparent, and trusting
… designers fully understand the ramifications of their decisions at the time the decisions are made
… risk and reward are value-based and appropriately balanced among all team members over the life of a project
… the industry delivers a higher quality and sustainable built environment

Note the order of the first bullet point – facilities managers first. This resonates back to the early work between Constructing Excellence (then BE) and the Centre for Facilities Management, with a clever title of abecfm , where the future was envisaged as facilities managers as the process broker for the whole process, from user requirements to design to construction to building in use. This related to expressions such as the industry formerly known as construction (Richard Saxon) and the the industry formerly known as fm (yours truly)

Is this then the world of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)…. (It will be interesting to see if the rest of the paper delivers a route or road map this new world – watch this space – or Pauls blog at ExtranetEvolution )

“Anatomy of a disaster” to reopen

I note that the Clissold Leisure Centre is to re-open next month .  It was described, when it closed in 2003, a year after it opened as a ‘landmark Millennium project’, as the wrong building in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The building became a case study in bad practice, in focusing on the building rather than the users needs, (on the 1, rather than the 5, or 200, if you follow the 1:5:200 concept), It has been used by many quality and technical managers across the country as a lessons learnt case study, and to reinforce the 1:5:200 thinking of relationships between design, construction, fm and (business) costs.

The project attracted a huge amount of industry,political and local – social – attention, including one of the early reports in the Guardian by Jonathan Clancy – Anatomy of Disaster:

Clissold leisure centre’s catalogue of problems is a frightening read. A local activist group, called Not the Clissold Leisure Centre, lists no fewer than 59 defects on its website. These include a “changing village”, which Orthodox Jews and Muslim women would be unable to use. The children’s changing areas, moreover, were located next to two-metre deep water. Shower drains have blocked. Dirty water from showers flowed into the pools. Tiles around these were slippery.

Yet these are relatively minor complaints compared with defects number 32, “roof leaking across whole centre”, 33, “roof sweating with condensation”, 34, “glass walls around pools retain fetid water”, 40, “inadequate ventilation to both pool areas”, 56, “significant cracking in squash-court walls” and, last and by no means least, 59, “water damage to sports-hall floor causing warping and lifting at less than 12 months, with injuries sustained by users.”

And, now ….

It reopens with a new toddler pool, improved disability access, reception area and new office space. Contractor Wates has installed a new roof, with a vapour control layer to prevent condensation, and new pool floors. The total cost of the centre, originally budgeted at £21 million, has risen to £45 million. bd online website



I have had three occasions this week, in different workshops or events to explain or discuss the 1:5:200 concept. I am surprised that 1:5:200 hasn’t made it on to the pages of this blog, as I do use this concept a lot to explain why facilities management should be approached from an understanding of the business or organisation drivers, and construction approached from a facilities management (facilities in use) direction.

In our traditional approach to construction we are looking the wrong way through the telescope.

1:5:200 may now have a greater role to play now as we consider sustainability, ie the need to focus on the 200, the business costs of ‘going green’ or becoming sustainable – rather than on the ‘1’ where we are focusing on the costs of greening buildings.

In addition to the original paper on 1:5:200, the wikipedia entry for 1:5:200 provides an overview. For a more detailed and considered view take a look at Be Valuable. (available as pdf from constructing excellence). It should be noted that as a cost ratio 1:5:200 also attracts academic critisim