ISO 41000 Series in Brief, with Implications for FM Consultants
This article will draw directly from free, online, mostly ISO, sources.
The objective is for readers to become acquainted with the documents of the ISO 41000 series. The 41000 series is devoted exclusively to Facility Management. Coverage of parts of the standard and related documents are reserved for licensed users. This article refers to them by mention, topic, short quote, or summary. We will focus on ISO 41001, Facility management – Management systems – Requirements with guidance. ISO 41001 is the centerpiece of the 41000 standard and the point of departure for implementing ISO 41000 in any FM organization.
Guidance furnished by ISO begins like most ISO standards, with a clear definition of the topic and an introduction to the team credited for the developing the standard.
Technical Committee 267 describes itself as “representatives drawn from 45 countries who have been actively progressing the international FM standards initiative since 2012. We have produced multiple documents within the ISO 41000 series focused on being the foremost contributor to a more productive workplace and sustainable environment and while achieving an improved quality of life for all.” (https://committee.iso.org/home/tc267)
Tech Committee 267 documents produced to date include
- ISO 41011:2017Facility management – Vocabulary
- ISO 41012:2017Facility management – Guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements
- ISO/TR 41013:2017Facility management – Scope, key concepts and benefits
- ISO 41001:2018Facility management – Management systems – Requirements with guidance for use
- ISO/IEC 17021-11:2018Competence requirements certification of Facility MS
FM Standard as a Management System
The ISO 41000 series taken together comprise a management standard to guide implementation of a management system. What is that? “A management system is the way in which an organization manages the inter-related parts of its business in order to achieve its objectives.” (https://www.iso.org/management-system-standards.html.)
That seems sufficient. Why have more than one standard? Before coming to FM in the early 2000s, one of the authors (DR) was familiar with the ISO 9000 standard concerning quality systems, which came into use in the 1980s. It is now widely applied, with certification required and earned as a figure of merit. Sometimes “ISO 9001 Certified” or the like can be seen proclaimed proudly on a building directory, sign or façade. There are other management systems standards as well, for example the ISO 55000 series for asset management, which is closely related to FM. “Inter-related parts of its business” signifies that distinct fields and disciplines, in their roles and functions, warrant separate management systems standards, thus an ISO series for FM.
Standards require solid justification and long periods of cooperative work to develop and vet. The ISO 41000 standard will bring large and prolonged benefits to FM and FM stakeholders. It is doing so already. How can consultants can help to bring speed, economy, and confidence to FM organizations adopting ISO 41000, focusing on ISO 41001?
Thorough and Essential
Let’s look; the table of contents and crucial introduction are here (English version; others available): https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:41001:ed-1:v1:en. The main topics and details shown will be familiar to FMs. The standard is thorough yet limited to essentials. Adoption of the components is adaptable and scalable for any FM organization.
Printed on one side on business grade stock, the standard weighs 250 g, or about 9 oz and fits on fewer than 50 pages. What is inside?
- Introduction to ISO and standards development and use (discussed above)
- Introduction of a process approach to FM system implementation and performance to meet requirements and to enhance customer satisfaction.
- A simple diagram showing the entire operational clauses (major headings) of the standard using employing plan–do–check-act concludes introduction.
The preceding points are key, to be read carefully, in full. The next four enumerate implementation.
- Scope, Normative references, Terms and definitions.
- Seven pages specify foundations: Context of the demand organization, Leadership, Planning, and Support, where support encompasses capabilities and resources of the FM Organization.
- Seven more pages complete the standard, addressing planned Operations, Performance evaluation, and Improvement – all working from an FM Policy.
- Annex, Guidance on the use of this Document, elaborates the clauses in 2 and 3.
How could so brief a document not be trivial or too general?
ISO 41001 can guide implementation and operation any FM organization of any size in a satisfactory way, at any stage. To start, the standard refers formally to FM Organization as an organ of any enterprise which makes use of facilities. The latter is termed the Demand Organization. The FM Organization supports core business strategies of the Demand Organization, forming, accommodating, reforming, and always following an FM policy as the basis for performance. All well performing FM organizations do this, each in its own context.
Implications for FMs and FM consultants
My (author Reynolds) impression on first encounter with the ISO 9000 series was what value could this have, a few pages long, lacking technical content? But I came around, as ISO 9001 took hold all over, providing a well understood environment for quality that was valid to share.
ISO 41001 is well timed for the state of FM as a worldwide industry. There is widespread international interest. Full ISO 41001 implementation projects will become more numerous, and consulting with them. That is not the sole consultant opportunity to provide client value at this stage, however. Small projects, not closely related to one another or directly to FM Policy, can draw from the ISO 41001 structure and provisions to frame the work and document the results, setting the stage toward later certification. The ISO 41001 Annex (“Guidance on the use of this document”) is necessary and sufficient, explaining and listing in specific points functions to assign and assess. For example, control of operations involves “delivering prescribed, measurable results”, “achievement through scheduled, consistent and replicable planned mechanisms”, and “providing documented reporting of results.” How these elements come about, the specifics of why, what, when, and how – the standard does not offer, only that they must demonstrably fit the needs. Each solution is different, but the universal framework, we hold in common.
The authors will continue to explore the ISO 41000 standard, including selected implementations and , as part of the “How to” program area in fmcc.ifma.com, demonstrating how you might make use of the ISO 41000 standard in your FM Organisation.
ISO standards catalog: https://www.iso.org/store.html (Multiple currencies acceptable. Default delivery is electronic.
David Reynolds is FMCC President
Karla Reid is Coordinator of Need a Consultant; Here’s How, a program appearing in fmcc.ifma.com.
David Reynolds is a founding partner in the FM consultancy Global Facility Management Alliance and an independent Facility Management consultant located in Jackson, Mississippi, U.S. He has a lifelong interest in how people experience the built environment and how the built environment hosts organizations and advances their purposes. His principal interests are in FM organizational problem solving for continuous improvement in performance – whether from financial, customer, internal process, or learning and capability point of view.
He holds degrees in science, engineering, and allied health areas. His pro bono work concerns safe and healthy housing, workplace safety, environmental health, and key process design and measurement.
David joined IFMA in 2003, became an FMP in 2005, and CFM in 2014. In addition to FMCC, he is active in support of programs of the IFMA OMHS Community of Practice.
FMCC Newsletter feature, September, 2019