Jun 02, 2024 - 0 Comments - Profiles -

Video: BOMA President & COO Henry Chamberlain on the History of BOMA International

A Conversation: The Evolution of BOMA: A Century-Long Journey in Building Management

Henry Chamberlain, a notable figure in the building management sector, recently shared an insightful historical overview of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Founded in 1907 as the National Association of Building Owners and Managers (NABOM), BOMA has grown into an international powerhouse within the commercial real estate industry. Chamberlain serves as its President and COO and has been with the organization for nearly a third of its existence from 1907 to today.

The origins of BOMA are rooted in the early 20th century, a time when local associations in the Midwest sought to collaborate on building operations. These associations aimed to share knowledge on various aspects of building management, such as elevator maintenance costs and optimal staffing levels. This collaborative spirit led to the establishment of several foundational standards. By 1915-1916, BOMA had developed a standard method for floor measurement and introduced the Experienced Exchange Report in 1920 to capture vital operating data.

BOMA’s advocacy efforts have been a cornerstone of its mission since its inception. Early on, the organization tackled significant issues like federal energy policy and tax regulations. While headquartered in Chicago for many years, BOMA’s federal advocacy efforts took on a new dimension when the organization moved to Washington, D.C. in 1975. This relocation enabled BOMA to engage more directly and personally with federal policymakers, enhancing its influence and effectiveness.

In 1968, recognizing its growing international reach, BOMA rebranded from NABOM to BOMA International. This change reflected the organization’s expanding footprint, which included the establishment of BOMA Canada, BOMA Japan, and other global entities like the Property Council of Australia. This international growth has been a testament to BOMA’s enduring commitment to the global commercial real estate sector.

BOMA’s influence extends beyond advocacy into recognizing and promoting excellence within the industry. The creation of the TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Awards in 1985 marked a significant milestone in highlighting industry best practices. This initiative was further bolstered by the BOMA 360 program in 1999, which focuses on high-performance buildings. Recently, BOMA has integrated the BOMA BEST program from Canada into the U.S. market, underscoring its leadership in sustainability. For 17 of the past 18 years, BOMA has been recognized with the Energy Star Partner of the Year award, a clear indicator of its commitment to sustainable building practices.

BOMA’s organizational history is also marked by strategic evolutions and acquisitions. About 80 years ago, BOMA spun off the National Apartment Association, a move that allowed it to focus more sharply on commercial real estate. Some local groups, like AOBA in Washington and BOMA Wisconsin, continue to manage both commercial and residential properties. Recently, BOMA acquired BOMI International, an organization it had collaborated with for 54 years, to enhance its educational and training platforms further.

Chamberlain, who has served as BOMA’s president for a significant portion of its history, expressed pride in the organization’s growth and its pivotal role in the commercial real estate industry. As BOMA continues to evolve, it remains dedicated to advocacy, education, and providing essential business tools, solidifying its position as a leader in the field.

This historical perspective not only highlights BOMA’s rich legacy but also sets the stage for its continued influence and leadership in the future.