An entirely new contract model specifically designed for procurement and facilities management (FM) is the subject of a joint initiative between the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) announced this week.

BIFM members have repeatedly pointed out that existing contracts fail to meet their needs. These are generally written with the construction industry in mind, or for use in mechanical or electrical contracts.

The initiative is intended to respond to their call for a new form of contract that will encourage and reflect best practice in the procurement and management of FM services. Initially there will be a research stage to ascertain if this is needed. If the findings support this view then a new form of contract for FM roles, procurement jobs and services will be devised.

The new contract model would be part of the popular and widely-adopted NEC4 contract suite. The standard NEC4 form has recently been enhanced to reflect emerging best practice in procurement and project management, resulting in increased clarity and flexibility in these areas. As such, the NEC4 currently forms the basis of most contracts for a wide variety of procurement projects – large and small.

ICE and BIFM have agreed to research the needs and challenges of those employed in the FM sector in discrete ways, and to look into how these might ideally be reflected in a new contract model. The resulting insights will be revealed at June’s NEC Users Group Conference. These will then be used to move forward in adapting the NEC4 contract into a bespoke service contract for facilities management, providing a premium level, industry-wide framework for FM activity.

The NEC team and volunteers from BIFM’s Procurement Special Interest Group have worked together previously, and further collaborations will focus on training and skills improvement for facilities managers.

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