Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
This issue of Facilities brings together a diverse collection of papers from Australia, Hong Kong and the UK. The annual longitudinal survey on Corporate Real Estate by Bon and Luck provides an insightful beginning to the papers from academic contributors. It is based on an increasingly diverse and sizeable sample of facilities management organisations around the world. It allows the reader to see how the profession is developing over time. It is interesting to note that negotiation skills have emerged above strategic planning as the most important skill set for professionals in corporate real estate.
The paper by Cho and Fellows reinforces the conclusions of previous authors regarding intelligent buildings. Critical issues are "accessibility and adaptability" - not necessarily leading edge technology. The paper describes the shortfalls in building controls compromising workplace comfort.
Also on a technological note, the paper by Shabha describes the complex situation in the higher-education arena. It describes an uncertain future in which virtual distance learning emerges and the role of the built asset becomes much less important. The appeal of the "campus university" and the "red-brick" university is less evident. Combine this with the changing age profile of university students, the political support for life-learning and moves towards industry partnering, and one soon becomes aware that facilities management in higher education must change dramatically.
The paper by Steane and Walker provides a critical appraisal of compulsory competitive tendering. It suggests that many superficial measures used to measure productivity contain a wide margin of error. Moreover, the authors suggest that little evidence exists regarding the quality of service that arises as a result of the competitive tendering process. Clearly many lessons can be drawn from the Australian experience of competitive tendering - it is interesting to compare this with other countries' experiences.