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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.
According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facility management is:
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:
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, by adding value to the core business of the client organisation.
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. 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).