A new initiative has been launched in Qatar to promote, educate and empower facilities management experts in the area of sustainable practices.

The Facilities Management Interest Group, set up by the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) and the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), has been created as a platform for professionals to meet, discuss and share best practices.

QGBC Director Engineer Meshal Al Shamari said:

QGBC’s main goal is to raise awareness and understanding of sustainability and green buildings throughout Qatar…We will achieve this, by establishing close ties with organisations already in the sustainability industry. We are delighted to collaborate with MEFMA in order to maximise the utilisation of our joint resources, expertise and industry networks. Education, training and promotion of sustainable facilities management will form the basis for our future joint programmes in Qatar and beyond.’

The Facilities Management Interest Group was officially launched at the Intercontinental Doha on 11 December 2013 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by QGBC and MEFMA. The new group has a clear agenda and will drive change via practical and innovative initiatives that are both affordable and sustainable. The group will also determine whether regulatory changes are needed for the facilities management industry in Qatar.

A member of MEFMA’s Board of Directors, Ali Al Suwaidi, said:

We are pleased to enter into this agreement with QGBC as it brings us closer to realising a sustainable and greener future for us all.’

The group is QGBC and MEFMA’s first joint initiative, and marks the start of a commitment to develop outreach activities on sustainability and to promote educational activities to advance the level of their members within the industry and wider community.

The group will be co-chaired by Richard Jowsey, Head of Operations at MMG Qatar, and his colleague Gavin Posnett. They are tasked with bringing together professionals from the built environment, including facilities management providers, construction and design specialists, to lobby for sustainable solutions to benefit the future growth of Qatar.

Jowsey said:

I am hugely excited about the launch of the Facilities Management Interest Group…Facilities management is about delivering exceptional performance within boundaries that the organisation can afford. With guidance from both MEFMA and QGBC, the group aims to introduce change through self-regulation, with the goal of promoting changes to policy and governance.

As a founding member of MEFMA, the group is something we wholeheartedly support and is a perfect union due to our long-standing association with QGBC. I believe that this group will boost the industry in a positive way. Sustainable facilities management solutions are vital for growth, and we are very excited to be involved in promoting changes to policy that will help drive Qatar’s success.’

The Facilities Management Interest Group will also be acting as a focus group for a dedicated research project that QGBC, in partnership with Texas A&M University, is undertaking with the aim of ‘developing a standard for high performance buildings in Qatar’.

John A Bryant, PhD, PE from Texas A&M University and the Lead Principal Investigator on the research project sponsored by the Qatar National Research Foundation, said:

Qatar continues to add to the built environment at an amazing pace. And therefore, this only adds to the demand placed on power and water infrastructure along with the existing buildings in Qatar…Questions arose about how buildings actually perform from an energy perspective. Further questions led us to the operations of these buildings and the effect that Facility Managers have on the energy performance on their buildings.’

The first phase of the project is the examination of various buildings to determine the gap between actual energy performance and design expectations. Project members will then interview facilities management directors and operators in order to identify their contribution as one component in the total energy performance of buildings.

This event was sponsored by the Maintenance Management Group (MMG) Qatar, a facility management provider operating across the Middle East.