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Facilities Management National Conference & Exhibition, ideaction, is the premier FM learning and networking event in Australia. Held annually in May, the conference combines a line-up of world-class presenters covering the latest FM issues, insightful site visits and an exhibition of businesses providing facility management services and products. 
From this year's event Frank Budai reports (magyarul is hamarosan).

2014 Ideaction –Manly Beach, Sydney

Not only did the slogan, A Brighter Future For Facilities Management, outline the challenges of the future, but it also defined the responsibilities for industry professionals for the coming years. This year, the traditional annual Facility Management Association of Australia conference was held in Manly in Sydney, where the Hungarian Facility Management Society was represented for the first time in the history of the event.

The truth behind the slogan is well demonstrated by the fact that the conference saw Nic Burt - FMA CEO - present the bold new look of FMA in which the colour green is overrepresented together with the linked dominant message.

fmalogo
source: http://www.fma.com.au/cms/index.php

Prior to the Monday opening ceremony on Sunday evening, Chairman Chris Hunt, held an informal reception at Hotel Ivanhoe. The prestige of the event was further enhanced by the welcoming speech of Manly Mayor, Jean Hay – who was introduced for FMA by Caroline Fitzwater from DTZ –, who expressed her appreciation of the Manly hosting the event.
CHandJH

The conference lasted four days, starting on Sunday's reception and closing on Wednesday's site visits. The presentations delivered by industry professionals were held on Monday and Tuesday.

In his opening speech, the Chairman emphasised the role of productivity and highlighted that this year's event went international since IFMA - International Facility Management Association - and HFMS – Hungarian Facility Management Society - were now also represented.

CH

Nicholas Burt - CEO of the Australian association - focused on the permanence of change and the importance for the profession to understand and recognise change and the swift and speedy of identification of solutions. The concept behind the new look was also explained in detail in the welcome speech.

Master of Ceremony, the American David Rendall proved an excellent choice as not only was he well prepared, but his personality and style of presentation surpassed all expectations. David's introduction and conclusion in the great hall provided a neat framework for the event, while the two smaller rooms were used to accommodate other presentations.

DR

Although the main theme was the same, the morning and afternoon programs were centred around slightly different ideas. 
On Wednesday three different program options were on selection. All three were scheduled programs. I opted for the visit to the Opera House and the award-winning office premises of the Commonwealth Bank.

Please allow me to share my experiences of the conference with you. Naturally, I will be inclined to add personal comments and observations.

I tend to find all FM conferences interesting also because I am curious to find out how the host of the event performs as a service provider; in this instance, for example, the event organiser was responsible for FM as well. I think we had no reason to complain as both the theme and the structure of the conference were a perfect fit.

Just a few remarks on the organisation of the event: the venue, the catering, and the site visits, the miscellaneous extras such as the programme books, photography, the availability of hand-outs, information, the music, the raffle, etc. was all outstanding and left nothing to be desired.

Since it was physically impossible for me to visit all three rooms at the same time, without aiming to provide an exhaustive account, I am happy to share with you my experience below.

On Monday, Tom Elliot - an economist and economic media expert with great experience on the state budget - delivered a fascinating presentation on the economic impact of the federal budget. Tom did not spare the incumbent government and presented successful alternative solutions to the problems. While he highlighted the negative impacts, he had eventually closed his speech on a positive note.

I think the presentation of Peter Merrit is also deserving of attention as he presented his ideas on creating an enhanced employee experience. The presentation produced a whole range of emotions from the audience from laughter to tears. But perhaps the most important message he had for the top managers was that it was indeed important to "pamper" the employees.

There was an exciting and thought-provoking presentation on the role of education. Three managers on each side argued for and against education. It was a refreshing sight to see leading managers of FM companies presenting their cases outside their usual corporate roles.

On Tuesday, Louise Mahler had literally got the audience moving. It is not an easy task to describe what it is like when the former Vienna State opera house vocalist decides to coach the audience. Louise detailed the importance of body language describing to us - leaders - the do's and don'ts of public speaking.

Snr Sgt Scott Harris talked about the preparations leading to the 2014 Brisbane G20 summit. One could not fathom the degree of concentration and attentive planning the organisation of such an event requires.

Monday evening dinner was hosted in Luna Park, where trade awards, such as the FM specialist of the year or the FM organisation of the year were handed out. And here are the righteous winners.

evening party

The ceremony was then followed by an evening party of music and dance.

evening party2

The Wednesday site visits were simply breathtaking. I think one does not often have the opportunity to discover an iconic building and exceptional bank office premises from a unique perspective that is unavailable to the average visitor.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's iconic buildings and today no-one thinks about the controversies of its construction - the initial budget was AUD 7 million and works were supposed to be complete in 1963, but instead the Queen opened the opera house in 1973 and building costs were just over AUD 100 million - but only of the success. The building is even more imposing live than otherwise, but let us now look at some interesting facts.

• Each and every seat in the auditorium is inspected and repaired or replaced every single day despite the fact that the original Swedish manufacturer has long been dissolved. Given that all plans are now in the possession of the Opera House.
• The roof tiles are almost self-cleaning and owing to a new initiative, the public can now purchase pieces of the tiles in support of the facility.
• The larger and the smaller buildings are built on separate foundations.
• What was originally planned to be the library is a studio today.
• From the theatre boxes nearest to the stage, you cannot actually see the entire performance.
• The terrace may be hired for weddings or other functions.
• There is one colleague by the name of Steve who started working on the construction, then after the opening he went on to become a member of the maintenance team and today he works for DTZ - the facility provider company. He has been quite literally in the service of the opera House for more than 43 years.

steve

The other event took us to see Commonwealth Bank Place, the new office premises of the bank. It is no coincidence that this building has collected various awards - it really has made some outstanding achievements in terms of energy use. More information on this is available online. I will now make an attempt to present the approaches and attitudes through a couple of examples that are representative of the maturity of both the FM team and the decision-makers who are responsible for providing the resources. One of the bicycle storage rooms houses lockers for hire. These lockers may be rented for a year for AUD120 and the entire revenue is used for charity. Locker hire is fully automated from placing the order to expiration of the term. The other thing is the iron and ironing board in the changing room, which may seem a trifle matter at first, but if we want to be honest, sometimes impeccable appearance can be very important particularly when you arrive for work on a bike and not in a company car. When you think about it, these are all fantastic little improvements, aren't they?


commonwealthbank
source: http://www.dedece.com/projects/Commonwealth-Bank/1852


The conference however had one new positive outcome as well, namely that I managed to meet up with Nicholas Burt on Wednesday afternoon for a little chat and we agreed that the organisations we represented were open and ready for future cooperation. To paraphrase our chairman, József, we have made the first baby steps in the right direction.

Frank Budai,
Hungarian Facility Management Society - Ambassador

Perth, WA June 2014
(All photos were taken by the contracted photographer of the event unless otherwise indicated.)