What is FM


The beginning of Facility Management


In the early 1970's, two significant simultaneous events helped set the evolutionary course of facility management (FM) in the United States of America:


  • the use of independent, freestanding dividing screens in the office environment gradually faded in favor of today's sophisticated systems furniture, commonly known as cubicles
  • the introduction of the computer terminal into the workstation.


At the time 'facility managers' were members of other associations, but those groups could not supply the information needed to manage the offices of the future. The first step towards the formation of a more specialized organization occurred in December 1978 when Herman Miller Research Corp. hosted a conference 'Facility Influence on Productivity', in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At this conference the three founders of the National FM Association (NFMA), George Graves, Charles Hitch and David Armstrong, voiced a need for an organization comprised of facility professionals from private industry. In May 1980 George Graves hosted a meeting in Houston to establish an FM association. NFMA was born.


Shortly after the 1981 NFMA conference the name was changed to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). In 1982 David Armstrong, one of the founders of the FM Institute, wrote his famous article describing the core value of FM: integrating people, process and place. In 1983 professor Franklin Becker introduced the first BSc and MSc degree programs in FM at the Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Professor B. Vranken of the Grand Valley State College, Allendale, Michigan offered a M.F.M. degree program. It was in 1984 in the 'IFMA Report #1' that the use of the 'People, Process and Place' model became well-known.  




Figure 1 Duffy, Bleeker, Alexander and Prodgers, 1984