Simon Barkes: Maintaining momentum and accelerating are key

On November 16, Simon Barkes will officially become the next President of ETIM International, succeeding Jan Janse. How is he preparing for the job and what will be his focus points?

Simon Barkes: “To be honest, as much as I’m looking forward to what lies ahead, there is so much going on with ETIM International and Jan is leaving me so many good things to follow up on, I have wondered how I will manage it all. Fortunately, as I am talking to more people within and outside the organisation – albeit mostly online due to corona –   the outlines get clearer every day.

The ETIM model is more used and more widely known than ever. My top priority is to maintain the momentum the Board created and accelerate where we can. As I witnessed myself at a presentation I did together with Margaret [Fitzsimons, outgoing Board member] for UFEMAT recently: people may not yet be using ETIM like they do in for example the Netherlands, they are really waking up to the fact that ETIM is the future. In most countries, they seem to realise that the classification model provides a ready-made solution that is sitting on their doorstep, waiting for them to get engaged. We need to maintain this momentum and raise the profile of ETIM in those areas where it is still a conversation and not yet a reality. ETIM is mainly used across the northern hemisphere and there is a lot of work to do to push it beyond the equator. The fact that ETIM North America is now accelerating is very helpful in this respect. In addition, Australian parties have shown an interest in setting up an ETIM organisation down under. Having them on board would be great to open the gateway to more countries on the southern hemisphere.

Constructively branching out with BIM

Furthermore, I think we need to intensify reaching out to other branches of the construction and supply industry. They are not yet fully engaged like Electrotechnical, HVAC and Plumbing but they are interested and willing, so we need to help accelerate that process. BIM will play a major role in this respect, as it applies to all parts of the construction and supply sector: Electrotechnical, HVAC, Heavy building material and tools. In terms of processing environmental requirements as well as providing insight into the cost of ownership of buildings, BIM is key to designing buildings with the right features and feeding governments and other parties critical information right from the design stage. Obviously, this requires a solid digital database. ETIM provides a ready-made model to which BIM features can be added and integrated. What we need to do in the next few years is to align the BIM and ETIM processes to ensure designers and consultants can extract the BIM information they need. As Margaret says, this is a journey we have only just embarked on. Some countries are very advanced in BIM, like the Netherlands, but also Norway and other Scandinavian countries, others not so much. We need to keep a close eye on every existing application in this respect and follow all developments closely.”

Global Industry Memberships to support growth

Another focus point for growth and expansion concerns our approach of our revenue generating structure: our memberships. The recent introduction of our Global Industry Membership is a great way forward, I believe: this way, we offer large international organisations, that are not particularly country-based but span many countries, their own place in ETIM. These companies don’t necessarily want to be tied in on a national basis across multiple countries. Being connected through a global membership makes sense. Thanks to a set of ground rules that ensure the standard’s independence we expect it to work more smoothly as well: I am confident the Global Industry Membership will prove to be very beneficial to both the large companies we attract and the further rollout of ETIM in the future.

A team to match our ambitions

Finally, with all the work that lies ahead we urgently need to address the level of resource of ETIM International. Our trusted Technical Director Marc Habets already has a more than full plate and an overly broad task range. To have our team match our ambitions, we are currently drawing up a job profile for a fulltime colleague, which will be published for recruitment shortly. So, to all those who are just as driven as we are to help move ETIM forward: please keep a close eye on our website and LinkedIn page!