Please raise your hand if you don’t want to see a new ISO published! I like it. It helps us reflect on the challenges facing those who use our energy management technology. Now that the ISO 41001 Facility Management standard is here, let’s take the opportunity to see what it is and what it can contribute.
What ISO 41001 is
Like the other ISO standards, ISO 41001 is the most recent standard published by the International Standard Organization.
With ISO 41001, the organisation places its focus on building management, more commonly known as facility management.
ISO 41001 was implemented to establish the requirements a facility management system must meet in organisations that:
- want to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of facility management, and what it contributes to the organisation’s goals,
- pursue consistency in defining the requirements and needs of all the parties involved in the facility management process and
- aim to be sustainable in a highly competitive environment.
It should be considered that the new ISO 41001 functions like other standards we have discussed (for example, ISO 50001). It is NOT a law and is not mandatory; it is not a document that describes how to work step by step.
A standard is a document that provides a set of requirements, specifications and characteristics we can use to guarantee that materials, products and processes are adequate for reaching a series of objectives.
In the case of the new ISO 41001 standard, its requirements do not apply specifically to any particular sector. Standards are designed for all types of organisation (public or private).
After all, isn’t it true that they all use some kind of facility management?
Why an ISO for facility management processes?
Apart from the fact that facility management is an activity present in all companies, the organisation has worked hard to launch this standard, in view of the importance of the sector for many economies:
- In the USA, outsourced facility management services will represent one trillion dollars in 2025 (source).
- In Spain, the facility management sector accounts for 6.4% of the GDP (source).
What’s more, it is a booming market, and growth is expected to be rapid and continuous. Apart from the economic factor, other factors indicate the importance of facility management. According to Forbes magazine, the future of work lies in the experience of the employee in the company.
Working in a badly managed building or one with high greenhouse gas emissions are parameters that employees now see as negative when deciding to accept a job.
That is why facility management exists.
Why the new ISO 41001 is vital for facility managers
Facility management is becoming more and more complex. Dealing with multiple processes of different types is much simpler if one uses a standard.
Furthermore, standards are like “badges” awarded to a company, about which it can boast. Complying with the ISO 41001 standard may lead to a considerable increase in brand visibility for the facility management company. But it can also increase the visibility of company departments that devote their efforts to other matters.
There are also important external influences that determine the need to achieve the ISO 41001 certification. For instance, legislation related to sustainability, energy and emissions is increasingly strict. Having an ISO in place usually helps facilitate compliance, because:
- you can prove you have a complete, coherent process under way,
- you can establish clear, precise performance indicators and
- it enables the creation of a reporting culture to guarantee the organisation is up to date. This is useful in that it is easier to provide regulatory bodies with reports when requested to do so.
Another important benefit for a facility manager is reducing risks arising from implementing ISO 41001. Standards reduce the possibility of human error. If errors are limited, productivity increases, as there are fewer work stoppages.
Lastly, as already mentioned, there are genuine business reasons for implementing ISO 41001:
- Facility management companies:
- It sets you apart from the rest, and allows you to win new clients.
- You give value to your clients, with a common framework within which to define requirements and goals.
- Facility management departments:
- It enables the department performance to be evaluated in an aseptic, objective and honest way.
- It makes the work of the department visible to the rest of the company.
- It increases productivity.
ISO 50001 for facility managers
One of the tasks that takes up the most time is energy management. Why? Because it involves technical knowledge (the ability to “talk” in kWh, for example) and the ongoing review of the facilities to check their operation, among other things.
For this reason, implementing ISO 50001 may help facilitate this task for facility managers. ISO 50001 has the same objective as ISO 41001, but applied to energy. In other words, it establishes requirements and directives for implementing energy management systems throughout the organisation.
It is advisable to read more about this standard if your work as a facility manager involves energy processes. We recommend this guide which can be downloaded free of charge.
How can I learn more about ISO 41001?
For more information on ISO 41001 for facility management, we recommend you visit the following websites:
- Article by Croneri in English on the process of creating the new ISO 41001 standard
- The international facility management association (IFMA) has closely monitored the new ISO 41001. We recommend you sign up for its news and newsletters on its official website.
Like other standards, you must purchase it to download the full text. You can do this through the ISO 41001 official website.