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Pascal Robin, Sanofi Romania
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High potential for sustainable growth on Romanian FM market

Facility Management is still a developing market in Romania, with a lot of challenges to overcome. The Romanian Facility Management Association (ROFMA) analyses the relevant aspects that describe facility management services in Romania.

2018-04-12 13:28:01

For example, in 2016 there were 6,990 active companies in this sector, representing 1.1 per cent of the total active companies in Romania, a 7.3 per cent increase compared to 2015 and an 84 per cent increase compared to 2010.

This illustrates the time-varying market demand for certain types of FM services and highlights the growing importance of complex, high technology and added value services (for example, support and maintenance services).

According to ROFMA, the FM market potential remains very high with a concentration of business interest in Bucharest, followed by counties such as Cluj, Timis and Constanta.
ROFMA: Considerable potential for sustainable market growth for at least five years
Although official data on 2017 Facility Management companies' performances are not yet available, ROFMA estimates the FM market in Romania has grown at least by 5 to 7 per cent in terms of overall turnover.

"This increment is related to 2016 existing data, when the national FM market recorded 1.46 billion Euro for almost 7,000 active companies with an average profitability of 7.1 per cent," Tudor Trita, president of ROFMA told The Diplomat-Bucharest. "Last year's ROFMEX was the first trade show exclusively dedicated to the FM industry. It was a complex event that included an international conference with an extraordinary roaster of speakers, training sessions and an experience area. This is unique in our region and sets Romania as a point of gravity for FM at European level. The next event is already scheduled for the autumn of 2018."

According to Trita, there is a concentration of business interest on the Metropolitan area (Bucharest and Ilfov County), making up approximately 50 per cent of the total, followed by the districts of Cluj, Timis, Constanta, Brasov, Prahova, Bihor, and others. This territorial distribution strongly corresponds to the situation and trends of investment areas in real estate (residential / non-residential) during the last years, with Bucharest and Ilfov leading, by far, the lot."

Regarding new FM companies on the market, Trita expects the upward trend to continue, on par with the national economy development, specifically in the increase of number in FM companies, but also in more M&As, given the multi-annual figures and the booming Real Estate sector.

"One of the main drivers is the increased demand of national coverage at the same standards of services," explained Trita. "There are just a few service providers able to deliver, and I expect more will attempt to develop regionally through M&A. Comparing the local FM market, with a history of just two decades, to "mature" FM markets, we still have a large room to develop, to grow and diversify. Thus, there is considerable potential for a sustainable market growth for the next five years, at least. What is remarkable is that the FM market growth is almost double to GDP each year since 2010, showing the value of this industry which now represents 0.54 per cent of GDP. Compared with countries in the western Europe where FM is three to five per cent of GDP, Romania has a lot of space for growth. What we've seen is a constant increase of gross productivity per employee as well as an increase of number of people working in this sector which now is over 140,000 people (approximately 2.4 per cent of the total active workforce in Romania)."

Main market stimulators these days are the companies' need for outsourced FM services, by focusing on their core business, a strong demand for higher professionalism, cost efficiency, flexibility and integrity, to the stakeholders' satisfaction and occupants' comfort and wellness.
"It is always a matter of balance between maintaining the property value, providing the tenants with quality services, and cost reduction," said Trita.

As for opportunities in 2018 on the Romanian FM market, he mentioned a robust growth of office, retail, industrial/logistic and residential subsectors, although at different rates; a stronger demand for professional FM services; increasing support from hi-tech and IT. Meanwhile, the challenges are the shortage of specialized workforce, legislation fluidity, and persistence of the gray market in certain areas of services.

According to Trita, the main challenge is workforce shortage at any level of qualification. "To satisfy the need of qualification, in September 2017 the first Master's Degree for FM was successfully launched at IMST," he mentioned. "ROFMA continues the flagship training in cooperation with TUV, now having over 200 FM specialists trained. More is needed on all qualification levels, from cleaners to managers and this sets the focus for ROFMA as the industry and professional association for 2018. The demand is becoming more sophisticated. There are more companies implementing modern concepts of workplace, such as Erste BCR in their new office at The Bridge, thus requesting better and more complex services.
The buildings become even more sophisticated to become energy efficient, lower their carbon footprint and general environmental impact while providing exceptional well-being for occupants. New skills are required from facility managers operating such buildings, both technical, managerial and communicational."

Trita also said that embracing the technology to increase productivity, decrease response time and make more with the same money is becoming critical for service providers and is increasingly a differentiator in the market.

"There are now global trends making ripples in Romania, IoT, Big Data, and AI that cannot be ignored and need to be adopted to maintain the competitive edge," he concluded. "Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges comes from the legislation and for FM is fire protection legislation - very important but currently incoherent and incomplete - making it very difficult to comply with."

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