Successful EFMC event in Sofia sets its sights next on Dublin

The Sofia Event Center in Sofia (Bulgaria), hosted from 5 to 8 June the 26th Edition of EFMC, the European Congress of Facility Management. The event, held for the first time in the Bulgarian capital, has brought together world experts of the sector and has served as a platform for communication between Facility Managers, suppliers, universities and associations. In the closing ceremony it was announced that EFMC 2019 will be held in Dublin (Ireland) on 13 and 14 June.

GLOBAL CIFMERS was responsible for organising the event which was attended by more than 300 people from over 40 countries. In addition, the Congress was on-line live broadcast, and there were more than 2,000 people connected from different parts of the world.

This year, as a novelty, the traditionally so-called business track and research track were unified under a single program and space, so assistants had the opportunity to enjoy all the presentations. In addition, the stage was located for the first time in the middle of the auditorium and it gave rise to the speakers to live a unique immersive experience with the public around.



The first day, the Assembly of ambassadors of EuroFM took place, Sofia city council hosted this meeting where numerous representatives of Facility Management in the world shared their experiences in the field and proposed the next aims to join forces and spread the FM philosophy

In the act, moreover, there was the appointment of new Ambassadors of EuroFM (pictured) who joined the rest of current ambassadors, promoting the visibility of EuroFM internationally.

The day continued with the welcome reception in the Sofia Event Center, where PEKKA Matvejeff, current chairman of EuroFM, opened with a speech the welcoming cocktail.


Conferences: major program

The Congress opened with a “Welcoming” in which great representatives of the Government of Bulgaria and the discipline of the FM were involved. The chairman of the EuroFM, Pekka Matvejeff stressed that it was the first event of EFMC held in Eastern Europe, a signal that they are “expanding borders and increasing awareness” in the FM world. The Welcoming closed with the speech of the Chairman of the BGFMA, Ivan Velkov, who took the opportunity to recall that it was the tenth anniversary of BGFMA and it filled him with gratitude celebrate it with the international community of FM.

Following this welcoming took place the Keynote Speaker intervention, who was on this occasion the Head of the Estates and Facilities Management Department ESA (European Space Agency), Paul Cannock (pictured right), who spoke about “excellence” as part of DNA.  Later, a first conference block was started, moderated by the EuroFM Ambassador and President of the Associação Brasileira de Facilities (ABRAFAC), Luciano Brunherotto.

In this block, the director of de Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Julian Popov, spoke about the management of the facilities and the aim of emissions of net emissions from the EU. On his part, Sean Gibbons, the head of Global Facility Management & Real Estate at Roche spoke about how to boost and improve the performance of facilities, focused on efficiency, sustainability and effectiveness. Finally, Allanna McAspurn, International Advisor of Sustainability and Resilience, closed the block speaking about the “butterfly effect” to examine the unlimited potential of consumption and behavior patterns in personal and professional life.

The second block was moderated by Toshiaki Matsuoka (right), Associate Professor Kyoto Institute of Technology, a conference block in which Stan Mitchell, Chairman ISO TC267 Facility Management, discussed ISO 41000. Later, it would be the turn of the director of Studies & Research Institute, Christian Huber, who spoke about how the intelligent use of human sensors is the future of FM. On his part, Adina Welsh, Director Bulgaria RPHI (Raiffeisen Property Holding International), discussed the role of FM in the growth of the value of assets. This block was closed by Mark Eltringham, Publisher Insight Publishing, who exposed the convergence of digital, physical and cultural workplaces as a challenge and opportunity for certain disciplines and sectors.

After lunch, the day continued to focus on the research area. The afternoon kicked off with a `Research Roundtable´ in which the future of the FM was discussed from a research perspective and in which participated: Mihaela Meslec, research assistant of the IFM (Institut für Facility Management) in ZHAW; Knut Boge, associate professor at the Metropolitan University of Oslo; Anu Karvonen, Business Director KIINKO – Real Estate Education and Sergio Vega, professor and Researcher School of Architecture in UPM like moderator.

Following this Research Roundtable and closing this first day, a `Poster Presentation´ took place in which the researchers Esmir Maslesa (DTU), Jürgen Bieser (APLEONA HSG), Marit Støre-Valen (NTNU), Coen Huijbers  (Saxion University of Applied Sciences), Suvi Nenonen (Tampere University of Technology), Dave Collins (NTNU), Helle Lohmann Rasmussen (DTU), Monique Boessenkool (Waterschap Rijn in IJssel), Paul Schmitter (IFM ZHAW) and Leo Laanen (IFMEC), had the opportunity to present their research papers to the audience and share with them how people obtain FM in different parts of the world and the identification of actions that could help to bring this discipline to a common level.

This space was moderated by Chairman de Research Network Group, Matthew Tucker, who highlighted that “Research is one of the pillars of Facility Management and also that without the work of researchers it would not be possible to advance in the development of the discipline”.


Day Two

The second day of the Congress was inaugurated with a first conference block, moderate by Alexey Grinchenko, EuroFM Ambassador and Facility Director TPV CIS. This block was opened by Ian van der Pool, Head of Facility Management Ministerie van Defensie, who discussed the importance of the activities carried out by the new generations for the future of FM. Those activities that are not “very visible” according to Ian van der Pool; he talked about which would be the reasons for this and how the situation could be changed. Also participating were Felicia Koning, Undergraduate University of Applied Sciences; Chris Moriarty, Director of Insights and Collins Osayamwen, Vice Chairman Nigeria FM Initiative,  they spoke respectively about the practice of FM in Europe, the ´Workplace’ opportunity and how a strong national FM association can  influence local government.

The second block moderator of this day was Miguel Alves Agostinho, EuroFM Ambassador and Executive Director APFM and Lars Lüttich, firstly Head of Corporate Real Estate & Workplace Services EMEA, was the one who talked firstly; he spoke about the key to design a successful region, sharing and operational model, common Mission and transformation to the future of work. Secondly, Tuuli Jylhä, Assistant Professor Delft University of Technology, who explained what the Internet of Things (Lot) means for the FM, and to finish the block, Simon Ashworth Researcher IFM (Institut für Facility Management) ZHAW shared the main findings of the “FM Awareness of BIM” survey, a collaboration between Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Liverpool John Moores University and the British Institute of Facilities Management.

The Congress continued with three successful ‘roundtables’ sessions, where numerous Facility Management professionals participated.  In the first one, moderated by the Global Property Standards Director RICS, Paul Bagust, the theme was ‘The future of FM driven by Technology’ and participated: Vincent le Noble, CEO Measuremen; Paul Cox, Deputy Programme Manager Ministry of Justice and Harm van den Boogaard, Chair of the Technology Expert Group FMN.

The second roundtable, in which the FM difference in each application field was discussed, was formed by: Anna Douneva, Director FM Operations Europe Teva Pharmaceuticals; Susanne Balslev Nielsen, Chief Consultant Capital Region of Denmark and  Ron van der Weerd,  Program manager RE & Campus Development Hanze University, who were moderated by Duncan Waddell, Chairman GlobalFM.

Finally, the third roundtable, in which the FM in Eastern Europe was discussed, participated: Alenka Temeljotov Salaj, Professor NTNU (Norwegian University of Science & Technology); Alexandros Alivizatos, President of the Board HFMA and Levent Alatli, EuroFM Ambassador and Chairman TRFMA, who were moderated by Goran Milanov, Vice Chair EuroFM.

During the event, the GACS team (Global Association for Corporate Services) was appointed, those who could not attend the Congress due to reasons beyond the Organization and who have wanted to share with all their appreciation. Sameer Saxena – Mrics, GACS general secretary, highlighted: “GACS is truly proud to be associated with CIFMERS GLOBAL & EFMC. The interaction with the team gives us an in detail insight into the way FM functions & collaborates across geographies. It also gave an opportunity to collaborate with global audience on our objectives. We look forward to being associated with such engagements in future”


Pitch – Lift Zone

The space has been one of the novelties of EFMC 2018; a dynamic area in which students, young people and companies has given their speeches on FM in a relaxed atmosphere during breaks of the Conference. Throughout the first day it was possible to enjoy the ‘European Student Competition’, in which this year seven students participated: Bart van Roekel; Francesco Capizzi; Marius Hülk; Rosalie Suurmeijer; Pim Cremers and Vincent Zwipf, moderated by Renske van der Heide, Chair PNG (Practice Network Group) EuroFM and Olga van Diermen, Chair ENG (Education Network Group) EuroFM.

During the second day, in the ‘Pitch-Lift Zone’, a talk on the FM in Asia took place, in which the participants were: Arivagara Pavithran, EuroFM Ambassador  and Chairman MyEFM; Masao Kawamura, Senior Manager JFMA and Jay Youm, Manager Sean Tecs, they were moderated by Ek Burakanul, EuroFM Ambassador and President of TFMA.


Common Area: Wellness Corner

Sponsored by Archibus foundation, the common Area has included the Wellness Corner, a space where the visitors have enjoyed free massages throughout the event.


Collaborative Wall

The Collaborative Wall was present at the entrance to the auditorium hall during the entire event. It is an initiative where attendees register their project proposals to find partners who are interested in making them reality. The five top rated projects were: ‘The people side of PPPs trust as substantied factor needs solid proof in all stages of such a project’; ‘Shadow advisory group for ISO/TC267 (Young FM´s)’; ‘Operation & Maintenance design in early stages of construction’; ‘European Innovation Platform. Research within EuroFM network with an ongoing qualitative/quantitative investigation’ and ‘Big Data-analyze-strategy for FM’.



The event ended with a Bulgarian dinner where attendees had the opportunity to meet in a more relaxed way and where during the evening awards were given to the best European Student Competition (Glintt & Servassite Portugal), European Researcher of the Year (Carmel Margaret Lindkvist of Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and the Best Research Paper (Mihaela Meslec, Simon Ashworth and Carsten Druhmann). The event ended with the announcement of the next edition in Dublin.


Guided visits

The grand finale of EFMC 2018 was the fourth and last day of this event, with guided tours of the buildings of: Sofia Airport Center; TEVA´s Office; St. Sofia Church; Sofia History Museum, and Vértigo Business Tower, all visits were of great interest


EFMC 2018 has had the collaboration of large companies such Archibus Foundation, Mundus Services and Planon as a sponsors of the event.