Facilities Management (FM) is not new in terms that it has now been around for some 30+ years within some markets such as the UK. However, in the Middle East it is a relatively new discipline which is still ‘finding its feet’ as it were. The same can be said for many other parts of the world such as Asia and South America where it is fast emerging. In terms of the built environment sector FM is the new kid on the block and as such will inevitably be measured and benchmarked alongside its peers such as the Architects, Engineers and Surveyors who have a long history in terms of being a recognisable professional discipline.

It is on this premise that in 2011 the ISO Technical Committee 267 for Facilities Management was established to meet the growing need for international standards to both give the discipline some credibility as well as provide those within the sector standards which can be used in a consistent manner. Within ISO TC 267 therefore we embarked upon the development of two initial standards, namely ISO 41011 Facility Management – vocabulary and ISO 41012 Facility Management - Guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements. These two ISO standards are the first two international standards to be published in FM, became available as of 31 March 2017.

To enable consistency across the FM sector we must try and speak the same language i.e. not Arabic versus English but the technical terminology that we use on a day to day basis. This will become ever more important as further standards emerge. This is the intent with ISO 41011 standard. Whilst the 41012 standard is self-explanatory via its title this is an extremely useful standard that will provide those operating within the sector with guidance relating to strategic sourcing and how to go about structuring an FM agreement that works for all parties. This will be particularly beneficial within the Middle East region where there is a lack of understanding surrounding FM contracts and how to achieve the greatest value from them, especially within the procurement functions of large or governmental organisations.

Management System Standard

ISO 41001, which is the MSS for Facility Management is due for publication in 2018. It will help to clarify the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’ FM is a strategically important discipline to all organizations in the management, operation and maintenance of the workplace, its assets and operational efficiencies.

The need for a standard against which a facilities management organization can be assessed and measured is likely to be the most significant step forward for the sector as it will give a benchmark against which organisations and internal departments can measure themselves. It will also give the client organisations an ability to differentiate between contract service delivery organisations as opposed to true FM organisations who want to deliver real ‘added value’ in all that they do.

FM by its very nature, does not mean the same thing internationally, nationally or even within different types of organizations. 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. Delivery methodologies continue to develop at their own pace from the ground up in each country and region. ISO 41001 is about recognizing the scope of responsibilities and creating a management structure and resource appropriate to the needs of the organizations that it serves.

(The author, Stan Mitchell is the CEO Key Facilities Management International and Chairman ISO TC 267 Facility Management)










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Nivedha Sridhar is a member of the founding team at Facilio Inc