True Partnership

Here at Key FM, our approach to FM l operates with 5 clear definitions, which we term the 5 virtues of True FM. These recognise that optimal performance hinges on experienced and independent consultancy, and solutions that are innovative, comprehensive and adaptive.

We have, and will continue to, develop many different types of relationships, however it is our intention that these always reflect something we like to call True Partnership. This true partnership approach covers all aspects of all business, but over the coming quarter we are going to focus on:

  • Best in class value add Partners
  • Academic/Thought leadership Partners
  • International Network Partners

Today we would like to highlight our latest Academic/thought leadership partnerships with The University of Western Scotland, as, On Tuesday 12th February, we had our first meeting to kick off this partnership, supported by Innovate UK.

The idea behind this partnership is to work with the University and their wealth of sector/discipline experts to augment our own FM expertise and create a world’s first framework to provide any business, or indeed building, a roadmap to the autonomous building (autonomous building is a building that operates varying degrees of its assets and functions autonomously without the need for intervention from the workforce around repetitive and administrative tasks). The partnership will create clear methods to deliver very real paths for any business, no matter the point they are on the journey, to have real understanding of both the digitisation of the operations and the building, and also the efficiencies, and ultimately the return on investment. This project will encompass, but will not be limited to, all traditional application environments available in the built environment, and this will then evolve to integrate Digital twins, virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous Smart building functions , predictive and conditional based monitoring, nano second secure transactions and so much more.

If you want to start or evolve your own Smart Estate or autonomous Building journey then please contact us for more information! OR if you want to follow the journey then please watch this space, it has only just begun!!

Bringing the Benefits of True FM to the Highland and Islands Region

One of KEY’s 2017 objectives is the significantly expansion of our operations in the Highlands and Islands region.  Our aim is to bring the benefits of our home-grown True FM to local businesses and organisations.

“We’re the longest running FM company in the UK.  While we have a global arena of operations, bringing value to our Scottish homeland has always been of special importance to us,” KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell.

KEY’s flagship project in HIE is ‘Nucleus’, which opened February 2017.  Nucleus is a new 5,000 square metre archiving facility in Wick.  We supported Crimson UK Ltd and Restore Scan Ltd throughout the design and mobilisation process.  Now we provide ongoing services for them including M&E maintenance, energy management, cleaning and other FM aspects.

“KEY supported us through all the various phases of the archive project from tender through mobilisation and into operational. They have provided a professional and innovative service which enabled us to better support our own client.  We have built an excellent ‘one team’ working relationship over the last two years.  We look forward to this continuing for many years to come,” Edd Whiting, Contracts & Commercial Manager, Restore Scan Ltd.

A core responsibility for us at Nucleus is to maintain strict environmental conditions.  This is required to protect historic records for the UK nuclear industry, and also for Caithness County.  Some of the latter date back to the c16th century.

Says Stewart Lackie, a senior Key consultant, “Wick is a perfect example of Key’s True FM thinking and value in action.  We intend to repeat that success for other organisations across the Highlands and Islands in 2017 and beyond.”

True FM is KEY’s core differentiator: a broader aspirational vision of operations which interweaves people, place, proven method and smart technologiesTrue FM revolves around the principle of optimal performance for each and every customer. It is underpinned by our unique capacity to understand your operations, needs and budget constraints.  In turn, this capacity enables us to tailor the right solution for you. Says Stewart:

“The era of the one size fits all approach to FM is over.  Relentless economic and regulatory pressures necessitate nuanced solutions tailored to the specific needs of each enterprise.  For these to deliver optimal value in each case, they need to leverage the best of what’s possible today, and be able to adapt and improve to changing circumstances,” Stewart Lackie, senior KEY consultant.

KEY’s Facilities Management Solutions embody the concept of a integrated, futureproof and cost-effective systems. Alongside conventional FM, these solutions can include maintenance management, smart sensor monitoring, and workplace optimisation.  All our designed for control, and easy implementation and scalability.

If you’re located in the Highlands and Islands region, and think you might benefit from help from the True FM experts, then talk to at or +44 (0) 1786 841603.

Key CEO receives BSI Leadership Award for contribution to global Facilities Management

We are proud to announce that our CEO, Stan Mitchell, has received a prestigious BSI Leadership Award from the British Standards Institution (BSI).  The accolade was for “strong and visionary” leadership, and Stan’s  outstanding contribution to raising the status and standards of the global facilities management (FM) discipline.

The BSI cited Stan’s “enthusiasm, superb industry reputation and support for new members”.  This was seen as important in maintaining membership and momentum Chair of the FM Technical Committee.  He has held this position for the 13 years since its inauguration.

Of his achievements, the BSI drew special attention to how Stan personally galvanised international support for a new ISO FM committee.  He subsequently also led its creation and the initiation of the new ISO FM Management System Standard, ISO 41001.

Also commended was Stan’s leadership as acting chair of a UK panel which supports ISO experts.  In this role, he was said to have demonstrated “diplomacy and excellent communication skills which have helped resolve a number of fundamental disagreements through consensus”.

Congratulations Stan! Below is a photo of the BSI award taking pride of place on the wall at our Head Office.


An update from the CEO on the new ISO global standards for FM

The vision of Facilities Management (FM) embodied in the new ISO FM Standards, and ISO 41001,  is set to transform the operations of businesses and organisations worldwide.  It represents a genuine win-win for providers, organisations and end-customers.

We have finally managed to nail down our CEO, Stan Mitchell, to get an update. Stan has been integral in the development process.  He inspired international support for the new ISO FM Technical Committee.  He is also acting as its first Chair, and leading the creation of the new FM standards.

What are the new ISO FM standards?

The new standards will provide a framework for global FM.  This includes a common terminology and benchmarks against which organisations and working relationships can be assessed.  Currently, three new standards are under development, or completed and awaiting publication:

ISO 41001 deals with the requirements for, and guidance for use of, management systems. Its aim is to improve awareness and support for effective facilities management regimes globally and across all sectors (in development).

ISO 41011 standardises an international vocabulary for FM.  It affords a clear common terminology for providers and customers (complete, awaiting publication).

ISO 41012 gives guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements.  It will help define and regulate a better working relationship between providers and customers (complete, awaiting publication).

Why is standardisation important?

The global FM industry is growing and evolving at an astonishing rate, encompassing an ever broader range of workplace and operational requirements.  In a context of relentless economic and regulatory pressures, FM’s ongoing expansion seems inevitable.  So too does its increasing importance to compliance, performance and the bottom line.

Yet at the same time, FM means different things between countries, even within organisations.  Bottom-up development in emerging markets is only adding to the complexity and confusion.  There is a burning need for a common language around Facility Management, and a framework which enables consistent, high-quality working relationships and delivery across territories. This need has been the momentum behind the ISO standards.

“The Committee has been able to work together to form strong consensus across the 30+ countries that are currently members. The new standards will help clarify across these countries both the ‘what’ of FM, and also ‘why’ it is a strategically important discipline to all organisations in the management, operation and maintenance of the workplace, its assets and operational efficiencies” CEO, Stan Mitchell.

Of particular importance is the future ISO 41001.  This will help facilitate appropriate Facilities Management structures and resourcing for customers.  It will also give them performance criteria for assessing whether their FM suppliers are fit for purpose. Additionally, it will provide emerging markets with the template they need to develop a world class FM regime.  This includes professional training and certification, and supplier benchmarking for public and private sectors.

If you want to find out more about the new ISOs and how KEY would apply it in the context of your organisation, then contact us on or +44 (0) 1786 841603.

Profile of Senior Key Consultant, Stewart Lackie

Senior Key consultant, Stewart Lackie.

We‘ve dropped in on one of our senior team, Stewart Lackie, at his base in a beautiful coastal village overlooking the Moray Firth – both an idyllic spot and perfectly located for Key’s ambitions to become the True Facilities Management provider-of-choice for the Highlands and Islands region.

Stewart is one of Key’s senior consultants, with particular specialism in strategic business planning, process development and the management of projects, supply chain and contracts. His qualifications include a CBIFM, Postgraduate Diploma and Certificate in FM, and PRINCE2 project management, and he was previously a member of Scottish Government’s benchmarking estates expert group.

For some time, Stewart oversaw services for our multinational customers across 21 countries and 4 continents, including regular site visits to far-flung destinations including Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. Currently, he is spearheading contracts on Key’s home turf.

“A key objective for me right now is to raise the profile of ‘tailored’ True FM across the Highlands and Islands region, and the significant cost and efficiency benefits it can bring to local business and organisations.”

Stewart grew up in an Army family and had a peripatetic childhood. Growing up in Malaysia, cold-war Germany and various locations around the UK, he developed an appreciation of disparate cultures which has served Key well since his appointment. Making an early move into FM, his former achievements include a high-profile role as Facilities Manager at 10 Downing Street.

Relocating from London to the Black Isle in 2002, Stewart worked as Head of Facilities Management for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Head of Business Support Services at Scottish Natural Heritage, before joining the Key team in 2011.

Over a diverse career, Stewart has developed a deep and comprehensive know-how of all facets of facilities management and delivery. His proven track record ranges from the specifics of hard and soft services – mechanical and electrical maintenance, workplace ‘greening’, health and safety, SLAs, landscaping, catering, and more– through to strategic and tactical planning across distributed portfolios.

Stewart’s rare grasp of both the detail and the big picture of operational management is a differentiating characteristic of, and requirement for, all of Key’s senior team. It is this capacity which gives us our unique ability to tailor True FM solutions to any specific operational need, big or small.

If you’re located in the Highlands and Islands region, or anywhere else in Scotland or the rest of the UK, and think you might benefit from Stewart’s help and his True FM toolkit, then may Key might be able to help you. Contact us on or +44 (0) 1786 841603.