Associate Director - FM Consultancy
Facilities Management, UK
A ‘high-flying’ facilities management (FM) consultant, Chris Bond is working with clients to realise the potential of effective support services, bringing the true value of FM to their business.
- How did your career lead you to Mace?
I started in the UK as a site engineer, and in 1999 I moved into a post-construction, operational role, which included working for the Tate Gallery organisation. It was a fascinating environment to work in, with different operational demands, and different types of people in one environment – creative and technical.
I then joined a property consultancy company. My career progression - engineer, construction, post construction, consultancy - is quite common in the FM industry. In 2006 I was offered a role in the Middle East, which is where I was based when I joined Mace as an associate director in 2013.
In 2019 I made the move back to the UK, bringing my experience to the team based here.
- What skills do you need to be good at what you do?
A key skill is presenting yourself well, and you have to be good in front of people, typically from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Consultants tend to work with senior people within organisations, as we are brought in during the early stages of the asset lifecycle when key strategic operational decisions are being made. You have to be able to get your ideas across succinctly, particularly in presentations.
Time management is also important, most people say that of course, but in consultancy there is a major focus on it, as the team is working on multiple projects. People management and resource balancing is critical. In contrast to operations, a typical consultancy project lasts around six months so it’s important to ensure staff are allocated accordingly.
- How do you adapt to dealing with clients in different regions?
- The FM market in the Middle East is still developing, and so a lot of what we did in the region is education - educating clients on what we can deliver, and how it benefits and improves their core business objectives. In the UK, as a more mature market, the focus is on improving historical processes, presenting alternative delivery options and opportunities for added value. Wherever you work, it’s about relationship-building as a trusted advisor, to achieve the client’s goals, whilst always adhering to the Mace values.
- What is your proudest achievement at Mace?
I don’t have one particular moment, but the Louvre Abu Dhabi was a great contract to win. It was a fascinating job supporting a tender procurement process, and due to my background working at the Tate Organisation I found the project really interesting.
Also, to see people develop their careers and capabilities. A colleague was recently mentored by another team member through her RICS APC qualification, and her progression was excellent to see. To see those achievements, to see people progress is really satisfying.
- What is the benefit of facilities management to clients?
Facilities management can be taken for granted, or it’s not understood in the first place. As consultants we get involved early on in a project, typically from the master planning or design stage, and at that point in the process there’s a lot of education taking place. This is our opportunity to positively influence downstream operations for the benefit of users and the physical assets.
- How does the team demonstrate these benefits?
There is a growing awareness by clients of the need to bring FM in early, but it is our job to define the benefits that FM will have for the building occupants over, say, 30 years of operation. We have to get them to see how operational delivery can be improved, how you move around it efficiently, and the practical challenges that can be overcome by early engagement. The 80/20 rule of thumb (cost of lifecycle operations/cost of design and construction) is often a good starting point for this engagement – many clients would assume it to be the opposite.
- What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have a private pilot’s licence. With my surname, I suppose I had to do it!
“This is our opportunity to positively influence downstream operations for the benefit of users and the physical assets.”