Stuart O'Brien, Author at Facilities Management Forum | Forum Events Ltd
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Stuart O'Brien

Utilities CAPEX & OPEX – The Lost Opportunity

By Rees Westley, Head of Utilities at Business Critical Solutions

With the perpetual pressure on clients to reduce construction costs, in a market sector that has been further tested by skills shortages, BREXIT and the recent global pandemic, there is an intensifying requirement for project stakeholders to become ever more creative when considering utility delivery strategies.

Optimising utility procurement and delivery is often overlooked when unlocking potential cost reduction, schedule improvement and risk mitigation opportunities that provide the client with a true competitive advantage in the marketplace. Realising that unique strategy on a scheme can sometimes be the determining factor as to its commercial viability. Additionally, assured delivery can also be a competitive advantage in securing that first tenant.

A project team will often look to its supply chain when seeking to reduce its construction costs. However, contractors and suppliers can only be challenged so far before quality and standards become compromised. The supply chain may however provide some of the answers to unlocking substantial capital savings capable of changing the course of a project. Furthermore, these opportunities deliver continued cost and sustainability efficiencies throughout the operational life of a project.

“Project utilities are quickly becoming the dominant driver for the ‘how’ in business strategy, to gain competitive advantage in the site supply and connectivity stratagem”

Managing risk is an all-too-common occurrence in construction with principal risks in procurement being inherently associated with time, cost, and quality. The forces of which need to be managed (held in equilibrium) in accordance with the project scope. Cost inefficiency in utility procurement and programming risks will remain whilst traditional techniques are followed. These can however be mitigated using dynamic strategies that factor management and acquisition requirements throughout the project lifecycle. This moves the paradigm from reactive cost cutting to proactive cost saving.

As with all types of risk mitigation, measures should be implemented and managed by industry leading experts best placed to do so. A traditional approach will deliver same results, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, executing the same strategy over and over will not produce a different result. Often 90% of the cost of opportunity is lost at the point of contract. By designing a delivery strategy that is unique to the project, the client will realise the greatest return on its investment.

“Previously we have stated that the data centre is the heartbeat and engine of the economy, taking that analogy further, utilities are the umbilical cord that supplies the infrastructure around us. The capital cost of these connections (excluding enabling, construction requirements and future operational costs and requirements) can often form 5% of the total out turn cost and form a significant part of early project risks, yet utilities are often not considered until the early design stages of a project.

This will, to a large extent, limit opportunity and increase costs. It is therefore essential to employ experts best placed to implement the most effective strategies during feasibility and master planning. We understand that utility networks are dynamic, and we use our expertise and extensive knowledge of these networks and the stakeholders who operate within them to maximise efficiencies through design development, procurement, and delivery.

At BCS, we adopt strategies that deliver up to 70% cost savings and assured outcomes. The expertise and value that we bring to each project offers more than just cost and time certainty but also commercial, social, economic, and environmental dividends that continue to provide benefit long into the operational life of a project.

Fusion21 launches its £1.1bn National Workplace & Facilities Framework

Procurement organisation and social enterprise Fusion21 has announced the suppliers successfully appointed to its national public sector Workplace & Facilities Framework – worth up to £1.1 billion over a four-year period.

Over 60 prequalified, highly skilled suppliers, both SME’s and multinational organisations, with extensive knowledge, appropriate accreditations and expertise have secured a place on the framework, which is designed to meet the needs of local authorities, NHS trusts, bluelight organisations, education providers and central government.

Multi-sourcing options in Lots 1 and 2 allow the appointment of a service provider to deliver multiple services (bundled or TFM) incorporating elements of physical asset management, and service management Lots 3 to 6 offer individual services. The Lot structure includes:

Multi- Sourcing

Lot 1 – FM Principal Contractor

Lot 2 – FM Managing Agent

Single Sourcing

Lot 3 – Cleaning & Washroom Services

Lot 4 – Security Services

Lot 5 – Waste Management

Lot 6 – Building Engineering Services (M&E)

Grounds Maintenance (refer to Grounds Maintenance Framework)

Framework benefits include:

  • Flexible pricing options allowing call off of a comprehensive range of works and services to enable smooth running of any facility
  • Ability to add additional services such as catering or grounds maintenance
  • Members can manage services themselves or appoint a Managing Agent or Principal Contractor
  • Flexible approaches to call off without reopening competition – Direct Award (with or without Negotiation), Single Stage and Two Stage Mini Competitions
  • Procured in line with Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and Public Contracts Regulations (Scotland) 2015
  • Complementary Cleaning and Washroom services DPS

You can listen to the Workplace and Facilities webinar here:


Are you looking for new Fire Safety solutions? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for a new Fire Safety services providers for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

For a short period of time, your business can now be included in the FM Directory for FREE!

In these times of uncertainty for everyone, we are offering support to the industry by providing a free listing for a 3-month period, to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or

Get ahead at the Facilities Management Forum

Discover new, innovative budget-saving suppliers and solutions at the Facilities Management Forum – which you can attend either in person or virtually!

This is a complimentary invitation to attend as our guest on the 28th & 29th June at the Hilton Deansgate, Manchester.

Register here for your free pass and enjoy benefits such as;

– A personalised itinerary of meetings with solution providers who match your needs for upcoming projects
– 1-2-1 access to budget-saving suppliers

– Attend insightful and educational seminars on future trends within the sector
– Network with other senior FM professionals
– Complimentary overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments throughout

Click here to secure your place (Virtual attendance options are also available).

Or contact us today for more information.

PMC is Business As Usual during Covid-19


“It’s business as usual at PMC and we couldn’t be prouder”

At this critical time PMC is proud to be able to continue providing the same high standards of service to its clients. We’ve adapted to government guidelines and continue to provide robust support to our client network, some of which play a direct role in facilitating crucial services during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • We’re safely responding to all callouts and enquiries.
  • We’re serving both new and existing clients.
  • Our staff are closely following Government and Public Health England guidelines.

We’re quickly responding to all enquiries. Talk to our team now on 0151 526 6288 or email

How our staff are staying safe

We’ve adapted our processes to follow Government and Public Health England guidelines and help slow down the spread of the virus. We’re working hard to make sure we keep providing the same reliable service as safely as possible.

All staff are trained in and implementing national infection control advice.

Any staff members experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or living with someone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, are self-isolating for 7-14 days in line with Government guidelines.

How our staff are keeping you safe

Office staff

Our office team is providing a full service remotely. They have access to all the usual software and systems. You can reach them via email, on the phone and even through a video call.

Onsite staff

All onsite staff will follow this procedure:

  • Use hand sanitiser before, during and leaving client sites.
  • Wash hands before, after, and regularly throughout the site visit.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres between each other and anyone else they encounter.
  • Request clients also maintain a distance of at least 2 metres.
  • Clean any surfaces before and after they come into contact with them.
  • Avoid any unnecessary contact with surfaces and door handles.
  • Travelling in separate vehicles.
  • Carry access permits at all times.

For more information, visit

Technology provides a more sustainable future for rodent management

The use of technology is the ‘norm’ for facility managers and is already being used to improve efficiencies and sustainability in many areas of the business. However, pest management has been slow to the party, with limited digital options on the market, but there’s now a solution available.

Gary Nicholas, the Digital Pest Management sales manager at Bayer Environmental Science, says with all aspects of sustainability high on the agenda for businesses, facility managers should be adopting the technology out there to help improve the efficiency, traceability, accountability and transparency of rodent management.

“Facility management businesses use technology in waste management, cleaning and security services and pest management, should not be any different,” he says.

This tool can provide facility managers with accountability for rodent management on their site, as it gives them access to all the required resources to be confident in the system they have in place.

“Digital Pest Management provides a full trap activity history, ensuring complete traceability and transparency. It also helps reduce the manual aspect of rodent management and reporting, which can be inaccurate and hard to interpret. Live reporting removes the risk of any mistakes and is always up to date.

“It also allows facility managers to adhere to current stewardship guidelines. It uses smart traps, allowing rodenticides to be integrated into the wider rodent management programme and used in a very controlled, precise and targeted way,” adds Gary.

“When it comes to sustainability, an automated, digital system like this can help improve efficiency and effectiveness, which can reduce the financial investment required for rodent management. The targeted and precise use of rodenticides also helps improve environmental sustainability,” he explains.

“From a social aspect, this system is also much safer for people and wildlife, as there’s a greatly reduced need for rodenticides on site, which are of course toxic.”

Gary says facility managers have been using technology for several years and so now a solution is available for rodent management, it makes sense to use it to help improve the sustainability, transparency and compliance of this across facilities.

For more information, please visit or contact the Pest Solutions Team on

Do you specialise in Total FM solutions? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in April we’ll be focussing on Total FM solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Total FM solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on

Here’s our full features list:

Apr – Total FM
May – Energy Management
June – Security
Jul – Air Conditioning
Aug – Waste Management
Sep – Asset Management
Oct – FM Software
Nov – Intruder & Alarm Systems
Dec – Fire & Safety Equipment

Are you looking for new Environmental Services partners? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for a new Environmental services providers for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

For a short period of time, your business can now be included in the FM Directory for FREE!

In these times of uncertainty for everyone, we are offering support to the industry by providing a free listing for a 3-month period, to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or

Facilities Management Forum is back in June – Sign up today!

The hybrid Facilities Management Forum returns this summer – and it’s your one stop shop to source the latest products and services in the market.

Date & Venue: 28th & 29th June, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester

Format: We will create a bespoke itinerary designed just for you. The itinerary will include relaxed, 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers, based on mutual agreement and matched requirements.

Key Benefits: You can build business connections with innovative suppliers, as well as gain insight into the future challenges within the industry.
We will handle everything for you, saving you time and money by arranging all of your meetings – condensing months of work into two days.

Seminar Sessions: You can enjoy a range of insightful seminar sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders.

Your pass also includes complimentary overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments throughout.

Simply register your pass here via our short booking form (virtual attendance options are also available).

5 Minutes With… Bayer Environmental Science’s Gary Nicholas

In the latest instalment of our FM industry executive interview series we spoke to Gary Nicholas, UK & IE Sales Manager (DPM) at Bayer Environmental Science, about Digital Pest Management, the role data & analytics can play in controlling pests and the rewarding nature of working with the facilities management community…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

The Bayer Group is managed as a life science company with three divisions – Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health and Crop Science, Bayer are very well known for our chemical products and we’re now combining these with digital solutions.  Solutions such as Digital Pest Management (DPM) to enhance our professional pest management products range.

What benefits and ‘value adds’ does DPM offer FMs?

DPM allows for real time 24/7/365 chemical-free remote rodent monitoring.  The software is able to produce trend analysis and other analytics from the data capture. Benefits and ‘value adds’ of this for FMs are such thing as:

  • Real time live digital site plans showing the precise location of each individual trap. Smart traps that can be represented on the digital site plan by coloured icons which change colour depending on their status.  No more guessing or ‘not knowing’ where traps are located and what state of service they are in.
  • Real time trigger and capture notifications which can be sent to QA and pest manager’s devices, or indeed anyone who is authorised to receive alerts through the system software. Vastly reduced reaction lead time to pest sightings and activity.
  • Reducing the use of chemicals and rodenticides to a point where usage is very precise and very targeted and used only when absolutely necessary.
  • Heat mapping technology which provides invaluable data on current and historic rodent activity, where activity is reducing, increasing and importantly where there is no activity.
  • Daily diagnostic system checks on every trap on every site, which provides QA and pest managers with automated digital, data driven reports on status and activity. This is the equivalent of having all traps inspected, serviced and digitally reported on 365 days a year.  Real time 24/7 integrated pest management systems.
  • Audit ready systems supported by the manufactures.
  • Transparency of service.

All of this would be impossible to achieve without DPM.

Do different types of site require different DPM solutions – what are the key considerations?

Not necessarily different solutions, but each site will have individual needs.  The system is flexible enough to allow bespoke solutions to meet those – Key considerations would be:

  • Nature of the business.
  • Size of the particular sites where DPM is to be installed.
  • Are non-chemical solutions preferable? I.e. food & beverage manufacturing, critical health care, and the impact of using chemicals on the business and surrounding environment.
  • Levels and locations of recent, current and historic rodent activity
  • Will the customer benefit from an audit ready digital platform? Invariable the answer to this will almost always be ‘Yes’.
  • Tailoring the system to the exact requirements of individual managers and their sites.

What is your biggest priority in 2021 (in terms of developing the DPM solution)?

To ensure businesses managers, FM managers and pest managers are aware that our system is available and on the market.  To demonstrate its functions and all the benefits of DPM.  We’ll also be ensuring that everyone’s able and confident to work with our system on their sites. Myself and the Bayer DPM team are dedicated to offering our full support to all users for as long as it is needed.

Tell us about the underlying technology in Bayer’s DPM solution

It’s a cloud based, remote management system, developed in conjunction with Microsoft that uses LoRa technology to connect smart traps, both rat and mouse, to a central Gateway.  It can be used indoors and out, plus smart traps are water and dust resistant. Continual development and data refreshes bring new features and functionality – ultimately the solution is designed to enhance and compliment the skills and abilities of the service technicians and the wider pest management industry, bringing all the benefits of digital to their customers.

What role does data and analytics play in more effectively managing pests?

In short, monumental improvements in ‘knowing’ the pest status of sites, every day of the year.  In particular, trend analysis helps PCOs understand and get to the ‘root causes’ of infestations, control infestations in a very targeted and much quicker manner, and predict when and where future activity may occur, understanding the rodent behaviour and  acting accordingly. Therefore, the data protects people, property, assets and reputations from rodent damage. Plus, using data to ensure when chemicals and rodenticides are needed and employed means the system is very targeted, precise and therefore sustainable.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

The widespread use of mobile apps to self-manage medication and personal healthcare. Providing real-time status on such things as vaccinations and wellbeing.

Which person in, or associated with, your industry would you most like to meet?

All of my Bayer colleagues in our team. COVID restrictions have so far meant that we have been unable to meet in person since I joined Bayer last October.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the FM sector?

Not surprising, but certainly what I have learnt most is just how much I enjoy working with the FM industry. It’s challenging at times in terms of tailoring specific solutions to such diverse needs and requirements, but always great fun and very rewarding.  I’ve met a lot of lovely, interesting people, surveyed some iconic and often fascinating buildings and locations, and made some life-long friends from within the FM industry/sector.

You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

Sauvignon Blanc – Chilean if available, and a large one, thank you!

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Being the person at Bayer ES leading the commercialisation of, in my opinion, professional pest management’s latest and most exciting innovation in the past 50 years or more. I get let loose on the technology and get to showcase it to businesses and people across the UK, Ireland and also into Europe! That’s amazing!

And what’s the most challenging?

Helping the pest management industry to shift its mindset from age-old ways of thinking and working and getting those people to share our vision that digital innovation brings.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Be yourself. Trust and believe in your own ability and never stop learning.

About Gary Nicholas

Over 35 years working within the pest control industry, the last 20 of which have been working closely with Facility Managers and Building Managers, previously as Surveyor & Account Manager and now as UK & IE Sales Manager (DPM) for Bayer Environmental Science. Lives in NW England in the beautiful Fylde coastal town of Lytham St Anne’s with wife Paula. Outside of work, enjoys watching Rugby and MotoGP as well as having a keen and active interest in aviation and flying.