Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



New ISO for facilities management planned

A new international management system standard, ISO 41001, Facilities management – Management systems – Requirements for Guidance for Use is now under development. The ISO standard aims to further increase awareness of, and support the development, implementation and maintenance of effective facilities management regimes in all sectors of industry and commerce worldwide.

Facilities management is currently one of the fastest-growing professional and operational disciplines worldwide, but the understanding of FM services varies globally and within different industries. It suffers from a general lack of knowledge and awareness; thus, it is believed that a framework to articulate ‘what it is’ would be extremely beneficial. Work on the first two International Standards has finished and the forthcoming publication of ISO 41011, Facilities management – Vocabulary, and ISO 41012, Facilities management – Guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements, provides a basis on which to build further awareness and understanding, providing a common language for facilities management services.

Commenting on the forthcoming standard, Stanley Mitchell, Chair of ISO/TC 267, the technical committee developing the standard, says: “ISO 41001 will help to clarify the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’, facilities management is a strategically important discipline to all organisations in the management, operation and maintenance of the workplace, its assets and operational efficiencies.”

The need for a standard against which a facilities management organisation can be assessed and measured has been acutely felt the world over and is the momentum behind the future ISO management system standard (MSS).

Facilities management, by its very nature, does not mean the same thing globally, nationally or even within different types of organisations. The capabilities of the supply side have evolved in different ways in different countries, as has the quality of service they provide. Client expectations have equally evolved from a local to a national perspective, and are now becoming globally much more consistent. Delivery methodologies continue to develop at their own pace from the ground up in each country.

However, globally capable service providers now exist, and corporations that operate internationally are increasingly seeking more consistent delivery and costing of support services through facility management techniques.

ISO 41001 is about recognising the scope of responsibilities and creating a management structure and resource appropriate to the needs of the organisation. Its main focus is to provide a framework and criteria against which facilities management teams can be measured as being ‘fit for purpose’ for the organisations that they serve.

The future standard will enable a continuity of language and set a benchmark in terms of the management approach, while providing emerging markets with a template on which to build and develop a facilities management regime.

“The development of such a standard is a first for the discipline and something that is generating a fair degree of interest internationally,” explains Mitchell. “ISO/TC 267 has been able to work together to form strong consensus across the 30+ countries that are currently members, which is globally relevant for the facilities management industry.”