05 April 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Stan Mitchell discusses the recent approval of ISO 41001 Management Systems Standards (MSS) for Facility Management.
The ISO 41001 Management Systems Standards (MSS) for Facility Management has been approved. Stan Mitchell, CEO of Key Facilities Management International and a past chair of BIFM, told FM World that the standard has now been signed off and can be published in April. It is currently being translated before being published and made available globally.
Mitchell called the standard "a big deal" and "potentially one of the most significant things that has happened to us as a discipline for years.
"It's a benchmark standard defining what a facilities management organisation is and how it works.
"It will provide a standard that both facilities managers and procurement people can use to assess whether an organisation is fit for purpose to deliver facilities management and how that delivery should be structured."
A key distinction, said Mitchell, is that ISO 41001 is a management rather than technical standard.
"Many FMs will be familiar with technical standards - such as those detailing how to manufacture a electrical plug or what paint to use on a child's toy. They are very specific, whereas a management systems standard is much more generic and applicable across all types of organisations. ISO treats management system standards differently to technical standards and we had to argue hard to get ISO to allow us to create this standard."
ISO 41001 is not likely to be accredited until September. Accreditation means that independent certification bodies can come in and review in-house teams or outsourced organisations and accredit them to compliance with this standard, "in exactly the same way as people do today with ISO 9001 or 14001".
The new standard follows the publication of others that help to clarify the parameters in which FM operates. In 2011 the ISO Technical Committee 267 Facilities Management was set up. In 2017 it published the ISO 41011 in Facility Management Vocabulary.
Mitchell says this standard was important because if "we are going to come together as an international discipline, we need to be talking the same language in the sense of the terms we use I am talking about our descriptions of what we do within FM, so it's really important that we use the same language and terminology".
The second standard the committee published in 2017 was the ISO 41012 the Facility Management Guidance on Strategic Sourcing and the Development of Agreements. Mitchell says the standard helps in "how to create an agreement between an FM team and the demand organisation; it's not prescriptive, it's descriptive it's a guide that takes you along that journey of what the parties should discuss before entering into an agreement. It's a very good practical standard that can be of everyday use."
In 2017 the committee published a technical report rather than a standard, entitled ISO 41013 Facility Management Scope, Key Concepts and Benefits, which addresses the industry as a whole.