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definition - facility management

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Facility management


Facility (or Facilities) management (FM) is an interdisciplinary field devoted to the coordination of space, infrastructure, people and organization, often associated with business services functions such as offices, arenas, schools, convention centers, shopping complexes, hospitals, hotels, etc. However, FM facilitates the business on a much wider range of activities than just business services and these are referred to as non core functions. Many of these are outlined below but they do vary from one business sector to another.

Across the globe there are two types of accepted definitions of FM. First the ones used in official national (BSI, UNI, DIN, etc.), continental (such as EN for Europe) and global (ISO) standards and norms. Secondly there are commercial standards and norms defining FM such as the ones from RICS, IFMA, etc.

According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facility management is "a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, processes and technology."

The European facility management association, EuroFM, uses the EN15221 definition. The definition of facility management, EN15221-1, provided by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and ratified by 31 European countries 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." According to this European standard the scope of FM is 'Space & Infrastructure' (planning, design, workplace, construction, lease, occupancy, maintenance, furniture, cleaning, etc.) and 'People & Organisation'(catering, ICT, HRM, HS&S, accounting, marketing, hospitality, etc.).

Currently a project is underway to develop an ISO standard that defines FM on a global level. This project is being led by the British Standards Institute represented by Stan Mitchell, former chairman of BIFM and Global FM.

Over the years, FM has been growing as a business field and also as a scientific discipline, slowly finding and anchoring its position among organisations’ business processes. Nowadays, the dedication of FM organisations to new developments and continuous innovation processes seems to be the way to stay in business, constantly exceeding customers’expectations and adding value to the core business of the client organisation (Mudrak, T., Wagenberg, A.V. and Wubben, E. (2004), “Assessing the innovative ability of FM teams: a review”, Facilities, Vol. 22 Nos 11/12, pp. 290-5).

It has now entered mainstream education with new courses being introduced for it across the globe called Facilities and service planning.



The FM sector acts as an umbrella, horizontally oriented market. It currently represents about 5% of global GDP. Because of its increasing relevance to the core business, it more and more takes the lead when developing a 'new world of work' and 'new ways of working'. As a result the need for convergence with Human Resources, Real Estate and Information Technology has increased dramatically. Also, the FM sector has started taking its social responsibility, has become a strong driver of economy and proofed its role as integrator of people, place and processes. As a result FM has become the leading business service able to integrate the tangible assets of real estate and facilities with the intangible assets of facility services.

The discipline of facility management and the role of facility managers in particular are evolving to the extent that many managers have to operate at two levels: strategic-tactical and operational. In the former case, clients, customers and end-users need to be informed about the potential impact of their decisions on the provision of space, services, cost and business risk. In the latter, it is the role of a facility manager to ensure corporate and regulatory compliance plus the proper operation of all aspects of a building to create an optimal, safe and cost effective environment for the occupants to function. This is accomplished by managing some of the following activities (The United Kingdom market is being used here as an example only. For all other countries other activities, descriptions and standards might apply.).

  Health and safety

  Fire safety

  • Fire Risk Assessments[8]


  Maintenance systems

  Periodic statutory testing and inspections


  Commercial property management

  • Lease Negotiations [26]

  Business continuity planning

  See also

Facility Management


  1. ^ (UK) HSE, Local Exhaust Ventilation, Control guidance sheet 200, October 2003
  2. ^ [1] (UK) TR19 Guide to Good Practice – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems, HVCA
  3. ^ (UK) HSE, Working with VDUs, INDG36(rev3), revised 12/06
  4. ^ (UK) HSE, Use of Contractors INDG368 Reprinted 11/03 C75
  5. ^ (UK) HSE, Electricity at Work – Safe Working Practices HSE 2003 Example of Permit to Work appendix 1
  6. ^ (UK) HSE, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: – 5 Steps to Risk Assessment
  7. ^ (UK)The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office
  8. ^ (UK) Department for Communities and Local Government, Fire safety law and guidance documents for business
  9. ^ (UK) The Information Commissioner’s Office, CCTV code of practice 2008
  10. ^ (UK) Simple guide to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, Health and Safety Executive INDG290 01/05
  11. ^ (UK) Simple guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Health and Safety Executive INDG290 01/05
  12. ^ (UK) HSE, The control of legionella bacteria in water systems. Approved Code of Practice and guidance
  13. ^ (UK) Written schemes of examination Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000, Health and Safety Executive INDG291
  14. ^ (UK) The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2006, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office
  15. ^ (UK) HSE L127 The Management of Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises
  16. ^ [2] (UK)The Work at Height Safety Association, “Guidance on inspecting eyebolts used for personal fall protection purposes” TG6 2006
  17. ^ (UK) The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office
  18. ^ (UK) British Standards Institution,BS EN 62305-4:2006 Protection against lightning. Electrical and electronic systems within structures, 2006
  19. ^ [(UK) British Standards Institution, BS8300-2009 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of practice]
  20. ^ (UK) The Building Regulations Approved Document Part M, Access to and use of Buildings
  21. ^ (UK) Advice from the Environment Agency for waste management
  22. ^ (UK) Advice from the Environment Agency for environmental issues related to the management of offices
  23. ^ (UK) Advice from the Environment Agency for environmental issues related to the management of car parks
  24. ^ (UK) Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Procurement Suppliers Guide
  25. ^ (UK) The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Pest Control Procedures Manual – Rodents 2009, May 2009
  26. ^ (UK) The Code for Leasing Business Premises in England and Wales 2007


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