Thursday, September 10, 2015
'Most associations that produce such material tend to keep it close to the vest, so only those who pay get to play. We have made a strategic decision to put this glossary out there for all stakeholders to access, including insurance, facilities management, legal, suppliers, and snow contractors.'
By Brian Birch
As part of last week’s SIMA Standards Think Tank, we were proud to launch our first official Snow & Ice Management Standard Glossary of Terms for the industry, available at www.sima.org/glossary. We started this project after advanced discussions with facility management professionals and snow contractors at the SIMA Think Tank in 2014, when it became clear that both parties need more tools for RFPs and contracts.
It’s been a challenging project, and one that has forced us to critically think about all the service, legal, and physical aspects of our industry. Our work has taken us through over 25 individual reviews, 200+ individual recommended edits, and over 100 terms. Our review stakeholders included a paid legal review, two thorough edits from Snow Business Editor Cheryl Higley, as well as insight from various facility management professionals, insurance stakeholders, snow contractors, and subject matter experts in numerous areas of the business. From here, further feedback will refine the terms, as this is a working body of knowledge that SIMA will consistently monitor and update over time.
Our next phase of the project can be broken into two major areas; delivery of the glossary and training to help all parties implement this robust set of terms.
Most associations that produce such material tend to keep it close to the vest, so only those who pay get to play. We have made a strategic decision to put this glossary out there for all stakeholders to access, including insurance, facilities management, legal, suppliers, and snow contractors. Long term, we hope to build a more integrated and useful web resource that enables people to find the terms they need, link to other related terms, and get access to more critical information on key items.
What we can’t do in this situation is put out a set of terms and expect things to just magically get better. The only way to help these terms propagate through the commercial/retail snow and ice management industry is for SIMA to spearhead various training and communication programs to help all parties adopt and use the critical terms that can help define service variables, shape the legal and insurance-related challenges, and ultimately provide more tools to help manage the business of snow.
We have already fleshed out some time at the Snow & Ice Symposium in June 2016 for glossary adoption training. We will also be investing time and effort in creating some simple resources and examples for the facilities management world to use to implement more specific and accurate terminology that truly helps them describe the outcomes they desire for their properties.
The end goal is simple; create industry-wide consistency in key terms tied to snow contracts, snow service, and RFPs in snow and ice management. Your feedback is always needed, and we will consistently be updating the glossary of terms based on information we receive from the industry at large. Here are some ways to start using the Glossary of Terms: