ISO 41001:2018, the international facilities management system (FMS) standard, was released in April 2018. This is the first FMS standard to be published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
Previous facility management standards were European Standards, published by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in 2006. ISO 41001:2018 has not replaced the En 15221 standards but has taken a number of the elements from these standards and enhanced them from a management point of view.
The release of the ISO 41001:2018 was preceded by the release of a suite of supporting documents, released between April and July 2017 namely:
- ISO 41011:2017 Facility management — Vocabulary
- ISO 41012:2017 Facility management — Guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements
- ISO/TR 41013:2017 Facility management — Scope, key concepts and benefits
ISO Technical Committee (ISO TC) 267 who published the ISO 41000 family of standards was represented by over 42 countries and chaired by Stan Mitchell representing BSI.
What is Facilities management?
Facilities management (FM) is understood to suffer from a general lack of knowledge and awareness, thus the publication of these supporting documents to articulate “what it is” was seen to be extremely beneficial.
ISO 41011:2017 describes facility management as an “organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business”.
FM is currently one of the fastest-growing professional and operational disciplines worldwide. Frost & Sullivan has projected that by 2025 the global FM market of outsourced services will be worth $1 trillion. Outsourced FMS is also increasingly used to deliver complex services. (Frost & Sullivan, 2016)
In financial terms, FMS constitutes the second-highest cost for any organisation with few exceptions and can, where relevant, make a considerable contribution to the bottom line on an ongoing basis. (Organisation Internationale de Normalisation (ISO), 2016)
One of the aims of ISO 41001:2018 is to increase awareness and support the development, implementation and maintenance of effective facilities management regimes in all sectors of industry and commerce worldwide.
Structure, Aims and Benefits
ISO 41001:2018, as with all management system standards released since 2012, conforms to the Annex SL High Level Structure, identical core text, common terms and core definitions. As outlined in previous blog posts, this facilitates the integration of multiple management system standard into one easy to navigate management system.
Figure 1 Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle as part of ISO 41001:2018
Having a common global structure and standardised approach to facilities management will enhance the development of the market for FM services – it will form a common basis upon which FM can be assessed and measured.
Having a standardised approach to facilities management is envisaged to deliver the following benefits:
- improved safety, health, well-being and productivity of workforce
- better efficiency and effectiveness, hence improving organisational cost benefits
- enhanced communication of FM methodologies and requirements among and between public and private sector organizations
- improved consistency of service levels delivered
- providing a common platform for all types of organizations
Reception by Professional Bodies
The publication of international FM standards has been widely praised across the FM industry.
The past Chair of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Jim Whitaker, stated:
“The ability of FM practitioners to speak the same professional language around the world is the foundation of a robust global community that will be better situated to tackle the challenges of the future,” (International Facility Management Association (IFMA), 2017)
In addition, Neill Everitt from British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) stated:
“We believe that the set of standards offers a big opportunity for facilities management to cement its importance in the economic and social success of nations and organisations. The ISO 41000 family of standards can act as a solid base for the sector, defining clear expectations for FM buyers and providers, reducing the risk of being undercut on price and facilitating a greater focus on the value of service delivered.” (British Institute of Facilities Management , 2018)
Scope of FMS and Certification to Standard
Relating back to the definition of FM outlined in ISO 41011, we can see it covers a wide range of areas as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2 Reach of Facilities Management (Adapted from (Organisation Internationale de Normalisation (ISO), 2016))
ISO 41001 establishes a benchmark for developing and driving effective, strategic, tactical and operational FMS and FM practices. The standard will also assist organisations seeking to outsource FM. Those service providers who are able to demonstrate conformity with the standard will provide them with an assurance regarding their approach and processes.
As such, FM companies who obtain certification to the standard can assure customers and potential customers that it operates to best-in-practice standards. This will enhance their marketability and provide them with an edge over competing with non-certified FM companies.
British Institute of Facilities Management , 2018. ISO 41001 – A Significant day for FM. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/news/7809
[Accessed 5 July 2018].
Frost & Sullivan, 2016. The Future of Facility Management: A New Era of Service Integration, Energy Management, Business Productivity, Smart Technology, and Internationalisation, San Antonio: Internal.
International Facility Management Association (IFMA), 2017. IFMA celebrates publication of two new ISO standards for FM. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ifma.org/news/what’s-new-at-ifma/what’s-new-at-ifma-details/2017/04/04/ifma-celebrates-publication-of-two-new-iso-standards-for-fm
[Accessed 5 July 2018].
Organisation Internationale de Normalisation (ISO), 2016. New ISO standard in development to facilitate facilities management. [Online]
Available at: https://www.iso.org/news/2016/09/Ref2122.html
[Accessed 5 July 2018].