What is facilities management (FM)?


¿Qué significa y garantiza FM ? By Global Facility Management Association.

Publicado por FAMASE el 16/05/2013 (ENG)


Each member association of Global FM has its own definition of facility/facilities* management (see below for FM definitions) but there are some common threads. The description here is not Global FM's definition as such but defines the scope and potential of FM, particularly for those new to the subject: 'FM is the management activity which supports businesses, many other types of organisation and particularly the users of the built environment, through the provision of facilities and associated support services'.

Facility or facilities?

FM is generally interpreted as 'facility management' in the US, Australia and some other territories. In the UK and across much of Europe the term 'facilities management' is used. Both are used across the Global FM website, as content is contributed from many countries and sources. The difference is largely historical and not especially significant. However, 'facility management' tends to mean the management of a 'facility', for example a hospital or office complex, whereas 'facilities management' refers to a broader range of activities.



IFMA was founded in 1980 and incorporated in the State of Michigan, with staff and financial support from the Facility Management Institute (FMI), part of Herman Miller Inc.’s research division.  In 1983, The U.S. Library of Congress asked FMI to develop a definition of “facility management.”  As noted on page 33 of What’s Next for Facility Management (ISBN 0-936658-22-3 v.1), according to Cecil Williams:

Given the needs of our culture—and particularly the needs of our information keepers—the    Institute was asked in 1983 to write a definition of facility management that could be used by the Library of Congress to catalog the information that was beginning to accumulate under the key words “facility management.” That single, simple request caused us all sorts of headaches.  We tried to write something that would help us delineate its uniqueness.  We wanted to establish the unique features of facility management as a thing or function which sets it apart from other things or functions.  We submitted the following to The Library of Congress.  And, by the way, they adopted it as their definition….

The 1983 definition is:

Facility management is the practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and the work of the organization. It integrates the principles of business administration, architecture, and the behavioral and engineering sciences.

As of 2003, IFMA has updated the 1983 definition of facility management to simplify it in practical terms and to recognize the growing influence technology has had on the practice.  The current definition reads as follows:

Facility management is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.

FMA Australia

Facilities management involves the management, operation and maintenance of buildings, precincts and community infrastructure. In all cities and regional areas facilities management provides safe, healthy, productive environments, protecting the wellbeing of the Australian community.


Facilities management 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 (Source: CEN the European Committee for Standardization and ratified by BSI British Standards). The British Institute of Facilities Management has formally adopted the CEN definition but also offers a slightly simpler description: "Facilities management is the integration of multi-disciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace".


No definition of FM as such, but the website defines what a facility manager is: “Presentation of the trade of Director and Person in charge of General Services”. The trade of Director for General Services deeply evolved/moved these ten last years. The increasing pressure on the costs, the increase in the lawful pressures, the appearance of new risks impacted directly and strongly, in a rather short amount of time, on the conditions of exercise of the trade. In parallel, there are new aspects of direct interest to the experts of work environment - who are the directors and persons in charge of general services in the companies - with sustainable development most important. An associated aspect will be that of the deployment to an international level of work environments standardised in a multi-cultural context.


Facilities Management is an enabler of sustainable enterprise performance through the whole life management of productive workplaces and effective business support services.


Facility or facilities management is the integration of multi-disciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace.

Effective facilities management, combining resources and activities, is vital to the success of any organisation. At a corporate level, it contributes to the delivery of strategic and operational objectives. On a day-to day level, effective facilities management provides a safe and efficient working environment, which is essential to the performance of any business – whatever its size and scope.

Within this fast growing professional discipline, facilities managers have extensive responsibilities for providing, maintaining and developing myriad services. These range from property strategy, space management and communications infrastructure to building maintenance, administration and contract management. Excellent facilities management can, amongst other things:

Deliver effective management of an organisation’s assets

Enhance the skills of people within the FM sector and provide identifiable and meaningful career options

Enable new working styles and processes – vital in this technology-driven age

Enhance and project an organisation’s identity and image

Help the integration processes associated with change, post-merger or acquisition

Deliver business continuity and workforce protection in an era of heightened security threats

Successful organisations in future will approach FM as an integral part of their strategic plan. Those organisations that treat FM as a ‘commodity overhead’ will be at a significant strategic disadvantage.

(Source: www.bifm.org.uk)


EuroFM initiated standard EN 15221 “Facility management” valid for 27 European countries. In this standard Facility management is defined as “integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities”.

FM is further explained as: “The basic concept of Facility Management is to provide integrated management on a strategic and tactical level to coordinate the provision of the agreed support services (facility services). This requires specific competencies and distinguishes Facility Management from the isolated provision of one or more services.” (EN 15221-1, paragraph 3)

Standard EN 15221 has 6 valid parts now:

EN 15221-1, Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions

EN 15221-2, Facility Management – Part 2: Guidance on how to prepare Facility Management agreements

EN 15221-3, Facility Management – Part 3: Guidance on how to achieve/ensure quality in Facility Management

EN 15221-4, Facility Management – Part 4: Taxonomy of Facility Management

EN 15221-5, Facility Management – Part 5: Guidance on the development and improvement of processes

EN 15221-6, Facility Management – Part 6: Area and Space Measurement

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facility_management

Published in Global FM


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