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Standards: The development of standards in FM

The BS EN 15221-2 standard has been developed to help ensure consistent and effective facilities management agreements, explains Stan Mitchell, chair of the BSI’s Facilities Management Committee.


22 March 2012


Continuing our discussion of existing facilities management standards, we will focus on the second standard created by the CEN TC 348 (European Committee for Standardization Technical Council) in 2006, which was BS EN 15221-2 ‘Guidance on how to prepare Facility Management Agreements’.

CEN committee
Before discussing the standard, it is useful to outline the representatives who are responsible for its creation.

The CEN TC 348 committee was formed in 2003 to establish a common understanding of 
FM and what it meant. At this time, there was considerable debate within the UK and 
Europe regarding the legitimacy of FM as a professional discipline and its place within the context of the built environment sector.

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) was instrumental in the forming of the Facilities Management Committee within BSI, allowing formal participation with the CEM framework.

Currently chaired by Remko Oosterwijk from the Netherlands, the CEN TC 348 committee has always had a firmly European flavour. Originally, it was well supported with participants from the professional associations, educational bodies in the sector and, of course, the National Standards Bodies from the respective countries. Most EU countries participated, although the countries were involved in producing the standards.

BS EN 15221-2
The BS EN 15221-2 guidance on how to prepare Facility Management Agreements was the second standard that was developed by CEN TC 348. The aim was to raise the awareness 
of both parties associated with any agreement to ensure a successful relationship.

Initially, it was thought that there may be different documents for the private and public sectors. However, this was not necessary.

It was also recognised that while the driver for this standard started out in relation to the two distinct parties, it was almost applicable in all cases to an in-house FM organisation.

It was decided that it would be fruitless to create a ‘descriptive’ contract-type document, due to the diverse circumstances 
an agreement might be required to accommodate. The committee created a ‘guidance’ standard that would prompt which criteria should be considered when establishing a successful agreement.

The content
The process of creating a successful agreement starts with a clear understanding of the client organisation’s primary activities. Without this knowledge, it is unlikely that the FM team will fully match the required support services regime. All too often, we see tender documents emerging from procurement departments that give little or no information in this regard. Then, over time, those same departments wonder why the anticipated success does not materialise!

The standard goes on to define the different types of agreement that might be applicable from a strategic, tactical or operational level. Organisations need all three if they are to realise the real benefits of true facilities management.

It also highlights the need to consider aspects such as 
asset ownership, pricing mechanisms and performance-based payments.

Preparation, mutuality, setting strategic objectives, clear terms of agreement 
and management of client procured services are all 
factors that determine the success – or failure – of a facilities management agreement.

Issues such as sub-contracting, management responsibilities, regulations, 
the client’s standards, and the process for the ending of the agreement, also play an important role.

It moves on to set out guidelines on the preparation 
and implementation of an agreement. It provides a staged process to be considered in the procurement process, mobilisation, validation and operational phases.

It goes on to provide a clear structure to any agreement document with example clauses that could be used to create Service Level Agreements 
(SLAs). These are indicative and to be used as a guide to establish SLAs that are applicable.

Stan Mitchell is chief executive of Key Facilities Management International, chairman of the BSI Facilities Management Committee, past chair of BIFM and founding chair of Global FM