For many, holding registration with one of a myriad of accredited certification bodies is a must. It is a pre-requisite to getting on the tendering ladder, without which businesses can’t even get off the starting block, putting them at a disadvantage with their competitors.

So surely, if this is the primary reason to go for certification, why do we spend so much money maintaining certification without seeing what else we can gain from it?  

Adhering to the requirements of these three standards is really the cornerstone of any successful business. Quality is there to ensure a focus on customer satisfaction, or should we now say, meeting the needs of ‘interested parties’. This is achieved by ensuring products and services are fit for purpose and meet agreed requirements. Furthermore, environmental management ensures a focus on pollution prevention from an organisation’s own activities and those associated with its interactions that occur both upstream and downstream. Finally, we have the new 45001 health and safety standard, focusing on hazard identification and mitigating the associated risks to all who might be impacted, with a core emphasis of worker participation ensuring all are consulted in an environment of openness and frankness without fear of reprisal.

ISO standards now follow the familiar Annex SL format, commonising the overall structure in such a way that aids integration, providing organisations with an opportunity to coordinate process requirements together, making compliance a whole lot easier. These standards place responsibility on senior management, ensuring ISO standards are considered on an equal footing with all other business matters. A sure-fire way to gain the attention when external auditors look to see top management demonstrate they are fulfilling this requirement.

Understanding the business, its purpose and its interactions with others is also a key requirement. As is considering the needs and expectations of its interested parties and the identification of risks and opportunities throughout every facet of operations.

Despite all these changes we still see the familiar, Plan Do Check Act (PDSA) cycle underlining core processes together with the clear objective of striving for continual improvement.

So where do other ISO standards fit in and more specifically the new ISO 41001:2018 Facility Management standard. These standards can be both viewed as standalone certifications or used to augment existing certifications. Certainly, the standards follow the new Annex SL format but focus intently on the facilities management environment and the unique requirements that are part and parcel of providing services to a wide range of clients both in the public and private sector.

Typically, this includes developing the scope of the FM system, including pertinent information and data requirements together with coordination of processes with interested parties to ensure the integration and effective delivery of services.

Then we have the ISO 50001 Energy Management standard, which for many people who manage energy on a client’s behalf is a key standard to take on board, as it has a clear focus of achieving year on year energy performance improvement.

And let us not forget the ISO 44001 Collaborative Business Relationship standard. Originally BS 11000, it gained ISO status in 2018 in recognition of the importance of developing effective, open and frank business relationships, creating a homogeneous correlation of activities throughout the whole partnership chain to the betterment of all concerned. 

So together with the formative three standards of quality, environment and health and safety, we have a range of opportunities where the FM industry can really focus on improving key areas of service performance and enhancing client perception of the important role facilities management plays in today’s world.

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