Standards in Facilities Management

The context in which I describe standards is that of the British Standards Institute (BSI) as opposed to any commercially generated standards that might exist.
Why Bother? You may well take the view that such activities are not relevant to the ‘day job’ but as standards are developed they will increasingly become more relevant in that context. The kind of objectives that they are designed to achieve, that will hopefully enhance our abilities within the sector include:

Develop better understanding of what it is that we do and the potential value that we can bring through:  Improved communication and understanding between stakeholders  Improved effectiveness of primary activities and FM processes  Improved quality measurement and output delivery  Development of management and customer service tools and systems

Enhance our ability to bridge the gap across:  Different languages  Different views of Facility Management  Different development stages of Facility Management  Different cultures, different markets and different expectations

Position us as a sector to:  Improve competitiveness in global market  Improve transparency in procurement and contracting  Introduce realistic and meaningful benchmarking  Enhance true Pan European and International reach  Demonstrate our maturity of a profession

Failure to do so will inevitably leave us as a fragmented and disparate profession, and industry where every voice will have a different story to tell the consequences of which will be that we will never be taken seriously and we will disappear as quickly as we have emerged. The route to such recognition is well trodden and whilst we are as a profession most certainly on a fast track when compared to the development of our peer groups in the past we live in a different world today and if we are not to fast track our development of standards we will indeed have missed the opportunity.

The Centre Europeanne du Normalisation (CEN) is responsible for standards within all sectors except electro technology & telecommunications. The standards come from the voluntary work of participants representing all interests concerned, the content is determined by the market via those representatives.

The CEN standards will be applied by the following 28 countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Standard PrEN 15221 Facility Management – Terms and Definitions The purpose of this standard is to establish terms that can be understood across all European Countries and bring some common understanding as to what we mean when we talk about Facilities (facility) Management. It encompasses:

  • General Terms and Definitions
  • Facility Management Agreement related Terms and Definitions
  • Facility management model and Structure of Terms.

Within this standard there were 5 different versions of the definition of Facilities Management considered, the final form of words being accepted was:

“Facility Management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.”

You will note that the term ‘Facility’ is used this reflecting the majority of Countries who use the singular as opposed to the plural which is the term used in the UK and some other countries.

The structure of this standard is as follows:


  1. Scope
  2. Normative References
  3. General Terms and Definitions
  4. Facility Management Agreement related Terms and Definitions
  5. Facility Services Structure
  6. Annex a (informative) facility management model
  7. Annex b (informative) structure of terms
  8. Annex c (informative) structure/ scope of services

This standard is the ‘Mother’ standard and will be considered as the reference in relation to all other standards that might be created in the future.
PrEN 15222 Guidance on Facility Management Agreements This standard has been produced in order to enable and encourage constancy in the development of contracts agreements between the parties regarding the delivery of facilities management services.

The standard has been developed on the basis that it can be used within public or private sectors and indeed can be used within an organisation where it can profile the responsibilities of the in-house team.

The standard is structured as follows:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and Definitions
  4. Primary Activities
  5. Different Types of Facility Management Agreements
  6. Main Characteristics of Facility Management Agreements
  7. Preparation and Implementation of Facility Management
  8. Facility Management Agreement Structure Annex A (informative) Public Procurement Legislation

Two tables are provided within the standard under the heading of ‘Facility Management Agreement Structure’. These are designed to provide examples of what might be intended in relation to Section 8.1 General Clauses and Section 8.2 Service Level Agreements. Both sections are structured in a table format as follows:
Clause Element of Contract
Intention Proposed Content

Key objectives in the development of this standard are to:

  • Promote cross-border client/ facility management contractor relationships
  • Improve the quality of facilities management agreements
  • Assist in the selection and scope of the right partners to deliver such services
  • Assistance in and advice on drafting and negotiation
  • Identify types of facilities management agreements
  • Aid comparison of facilities management agreements
  • Highlight the different types of FM agreements (management level, investment strategies, pricing mechanisms, performance based)
  • Outline the main characteristics of FM agreements (relation primary process, necessary components, considerations)
  • Identify the stages in preparation and implementation of facilities management agreements (preparation, implementation, ending)
  • Voting and time Plan All countries represented within the CEN TC have indicated that they are likely to support the standards as we enter the final voting process. The remaining timetable is as follows:

• March 2006: Document send to formal vote • June/ July 2006: National mirror committees to vote • August 2006: Official Text ENs available • End of 2006: Publication ENs

Future Standards Now that the work on these two initial standards has been completed the focus has shifted to future requirements. With a 3-year timeframe to create new standards the need to start the process again is now. It was decided that the following consolidation of the above and discussion with the TC that the following new work items would be considered when the TC next meets: Facilities Management Processes Benefits: A generic standard for processes is necessary to underpin future standards. Will support the explanation of the FM Model (strategic/tactical/operational). Clarifies the distinction between process and service.

Scope: Process identification; Process mapping (Using standard tools, e.g. IDEFO); Generic process protocols

Classification/cost categories/ Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of building and taxonomy Benefits: Common language for all professionals; Faster, transparent and comparable specifications; Different structures linked together, compatible with each other; Basis for development of tools and systems; Necessary for creating interfaces between systems; Basis for performance indicators and benchmarking.
Scope: Taxonomy; Hierarchic structures, network structures; Structures already defined, included directly or by adaptation; Structures w/different definitions: decide the most suitable or create new; Structures not defined: new definition.

Quality/Service levels (SL) / KPI’s Benefits: Guidance on how to prepare SLA and KPI; Explain how the SLA and KPI contribute to reach quality objectives and how the quality management methods contribute to the interaction between primary activities processes and FM processes.
Scope: Methodologies applicable to all services (but with facility service specific examples)

Measurement of space Benefits: Develop a European standard in terms of accuracy, protocol and usage of space to facilitate benchmarking of facility efficiencies.
Scope: Space m² (and m³) and its use; Process and its use; Inventory of existing space measurement standards in 28 European countries.

With the declared intent to continue with the process of creating standards in Facilities Management it has also been decided, subject to CEN approval, to renumber the initial two standards and any subsequent standards in a manner that will create the family as per the ISO 9000 family on Quality Management. It is therefore proposed to change the existing draft standards as follows:

PrEN 15221 to become PrEN 15222-1 PrEN 15222 to become PrEN 15222-2 All future facilities management standards to follow this logic i.e. EN 15222-x.

Stan Mitchell March 2006

Stan Mitchell has been involved in the development of standards for over 16 years since he started the first region of the Association of Facilities Managers which in 1993 became the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM). He has served on the Council/ Board of
the BIFM since its inception and is currently its Immediate Past National Chairman. He also heads of the International Region of the BIFM.

He is the Chairman of the Facilities Management Committee at the British Standards Institute in the UK and Convenor of the working group that created the European Standard on Facilities Management Contracts.

He has recently been appointed to the Board of Global FM which is a worldwide alliance of member-centred facility management organisations, providing leadership in the advancement of the Facilities Management profession.

In his day job he is CEO of Key Facilities Management (Key FM) which provides consultancy and management services support to organisations large and small across the UK, Europe and farther afield. Key FM was one of the first facilities management businesses to be established in the UK.