South-west Nigeria is renowned to have the first skyscraper in West Africa; this is the magnificent Cocoa house built and completed in 1965 located in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The 26-storey building is 105 meters high. It was the source of pride to farmers and Nigeria as a whole. In Lagos, the Nigerian External Communications (NECOM) building became the first skyscraper, a building of 32 floors. After these buildings, many more skyscrapers and other magnificent buildings have sprung up across the country.
As times went by, these buildings were largely been managed by companies and individuals that offer janitorial services.
This trend continued for many years until it was discovered by some professionals that there was a need for a special intervention that will champion holistic maintenance of the built environment regardless of the type of building.
Inferences of what was required for a new Association was drawn from the global practice of facility management and the best certifying organisation across the world that can give life to a Nigerian group is the International Facility Management Association located in Houston, the United States of America, the largest Facility Management community in the world.
In 1995, a special group of professionals was drawn from all across the industries within the built environment ranging from Architects, Civil Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Builders amongst others had a burning desire to provide Nigeria with the opportunity of developing a maintenance culture that will shape the future of the country.
With this intent of setting up our quality improvement goals aimed at bringing the international standards of facility management to bear on maintenance of infrastructure in Nigeria.
This led to the initiation and establishment of the Nigerian Chapter of the International Facility Management Association, IFMA.
By 1997, the incorporation of the Association was completed and it has since been a leading Association.
The Association has been dedicated to promoting excellence in the management of the built environment.
With a vision to universally represent facility management as a profession, IFMA’s mission is to lead and sustain the progress of the Facility Management profession. Facility Management is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure the functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.
IFMA Nigeria has offered many people the opportunity to network and exchange information with other facility management professionals locally and internationally through conferences, seminars, chapter, and council programmes.
The Association also holds professional development seminars and trainings leading to the award of the world’s most recognised FM Certifications -Facility Management Professional (FMP); Certified Facility Manager (CFM) and lately, the Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) designations.
The chapter has produced over 300 FMPs and 30 CFMs to date. The Association has two prongs of membership- the Individual and the Corporate Membership.
The individual membership is open to anyone actively engaged in the application, practice, teaching, and researching of facility management, its principles, and techniques while the Corporate membership of IFMA Nigeria is open to all companies, institutions, or organisations that are mainly engaged in facility management from designs through manufacturing and procurement to execution or in providing services and commerce including professional firms.
Membership is equally open to other corporate organisations that value their facilities highly and employs facility Management principles for their upkeep. In recent times, the Association has also organised a Knowledge Sharing Session.
This was put together for the members of the Association and other willing members of the public to mutually exchange their implicit and explicit knowledge so as to equip them for professional excellence.
Participants at the various sessions have got their individual and organisational performance increased for their career progression and the society at large.
The Association has been led by 11 Presidents namely- Mr. Bert Rybaczuk 1997-1998; Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye – 1999 – 2000; Mrs. Carmen Latty – 2001 – 2002; Mr. P.K.O. Ojo – 2003 – 2004; Mrs. Marion Johnson – 2005 – 2006; Mr. Stephen Jagun – 2007 – 2008 and Engr. S.O. Soetan 2009 – 2010. Others are Engr. Tony Ezeaku 2011 -2012; Miss Iyabo Aboaba- 2013 – 2014; Mr. Richard Okesola – 2015 – 2016; Engr. Pius Iwundu – 2017 – 2018; Mrs. Abimbola Olusegun- Adamolekun -2019 – 2020 and Mr. Segun Adebayo 2021 till date. They have all been instrumental to the growth and development of the Association.
IFMA Nigeria has not rested on its oars as they have continued to impact the society with various initiatives and programmes with government and private agencies.
The Association alongside the University of Lagos has developed the curriculum for a professional master’s degree programme in Facility Management and some students of the programme have proceeded for their Ph.Ds overseas.
IFMA Nigeria Chapter has become the strongest advocate within the built space thereby raising a new generation of leaders within the building and construction industry.
The Association has taken its advocacy programmes to Technical College, Agidingbi, and other tertiary institutions across the nation to encourage youngsters to become Facility Management Professionals.
They have also championed the training of artisans within the built environments that have led to more professionals in the industry.
The Association has organised various programmes in collaboration with the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) and other strategic initiatives with the other government agencies across the nation.
The global celebration of the Annual World FM Day and the Advocacy Day organised by the Association has become reference events in the professional circles as it has drawn participants from across corporate and social Nigeria.
Cheers to twenty-five years of impacting the built environment; cheers to the impactful leadership of IFMA and cheers to the Council Members over the years. Facility Management in Nigeria has scaled up among professional groups in Nigeria.