- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 13 Jun 2018
In 2006, European countries agreed to define facilities management (FM) as the ‘integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities’. Ref EN15221-1: 2006 Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions.
FM is concerned with the management of facilities in the built environment at both a strategic and a day-to day level to deliver operational objectives and to maintain a safe and efficient environment.
Whilst there has always been a need for facilities management, it has emerged, developed and grown as a profession in recent years, partly as a result of the increasing rate of change required in the built environment, but also due the trend for outsourcing services, and the introduction of procurement routes that include operation and maintenance in integrated supply contracts.
Facilities management services can be provided by:
- In-house facilities management departments.
- FM contractors, sometimes offering a fixed price and so taking the risk of facilities management from the client.
- Managing agents.
- Multi-service companies providing full or partial services.
- Special purpose vehicles delivering design, build and operate, or design, build, finance and operate contracts such as the private finance initiative (PFI).
However it is provided, it is vital that facilities management is seen as an integral part of the strategic thinking and day-to-day operation of businesses, and not as an add on. Even where facilities management is out-sourced, FM contractors must be embedded in the client organisation with their service provision aligned to the client’s strategic objectives.
Facilities management is an interdisciplinary activity that can include:
- Estates strategies.
- Asset management.
- Space management.
- Acquisitions and sales.
- The provision of infrastructure and information and communications technology.
- Maintenance, cleaning, testing and inspection.
- Refurbishment, retrofitting and renovation.
- Enabling changes in working practices.
- Delivering new technology.
- Brand management.
- Rationalisation of services and assets.
- Ensuring business continuity.
- Ensuring safety and security and establishing emergency procedures.
- Traffic, transport and parking.
- Budget management.
- Asset exploitation and income generation.
- Performance and usage assessment, optimisation and improvement.
- Procurement and project management.
- Contract management.
- Regulatory compliance and liaison with the local authority and emergency services.
- Quality assessment.
- Help desk and other support services.
- Mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) and technical services.
The recent emergence of building information modelling (BIM) requires FM input during inception to ensure that the information generated during the design and construction phases is appropriate for operational needs and asset management (that is the development of the project information model into an appropriate asset information model that can be used to assist facilities management).
Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software can be used to help manage property portfolios and ensure that they are operated optimally.
Training and qualification programmes exist for facilities managers, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) was established in 1993 to promote excellence in facilities management and to provide qualifications and training.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Appointing consultants.
- Asset information model.
- BIM and facilities management.
- Building information modelling.
- Computer aided facilities management.
- Human resource management in construction.
- Integrated supply team.
- Life cycle assessment.
- Maintenance contracts - a guide to best practice for procurement.
- Operation, maintenance and training (OMT).
- Operational costs.
- Performance gap.
- Private finance initiative.
- Reliability centred maintenance.
- Service level agreement.
- Service level specification.
- Site administrator.
- Whole life costs.
 External references
- British Institute of Facilities Management.
- EN15221-1: 2006 Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions.
Featured articles and news
BRE partner with Global GreenTag to develop an Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard for Australia.
The Chartered Quality Institute explain the pathway to success for organisations implementing management systems.
An introductory article looking at where a duty of care can arise in the construction industry.
House of Lords committee encourages the use of off-site manufacturing in new report.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can go some way to show the impact of new buildings on their surroundings.
The shortlist for the 2018 prize for the UK's best new building is revealed.
Amendment to Bill aims to provide councils with greater powers to increase tax premiums on empty homes.
As the latest summer blockbuster 'Skyscraper' is released, we look at some of the best uses of buildings in film.
Read our introductory article on how to layout a building.
New cross-party report calls for combustible cladding ban to be extended to all high-rise residential buildings.