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GCC experts react to new ISO standards for FM

Two regional experts tell ConstructionWeekOnline what ISO's latest standards spell for the GCC's FM industry

The new ISO standards could change GCC's FM industry. [Representational image]
The new ISO standards could change GCC's FM industry. [Representational image]

Regional experts are optimistic about two new standards introduced for the global FM community by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) last week

Defining the terms used in FM standards, ISO 41011:2017, Facility management – Vocabulary, it was reported by fm-world.co.uk last year, would "help to clarify the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’ FM is a strategically important discipline to all organisations".  

Meanwhile, ISO 41012:2017, Facility management – Guidance on strategic sourcing and the development of agreements is aimed at improving contract standards in the FM sector. 

FM consultant and trainer, Alan Millin, told ConstructionWeekOnline he hopes the standards will buoy the level of FM agreements in the GCC. 

He added: "We have had a European standard – EN15221-2 Guidance On How To Prepare FM Agreements – since 2006 but [even] today, more than 10 years later, we still find extremely weak agreements in the market.

"Perhaps as clients become aware that there is a new international standard, they will require that agreements are drafted based on [it]." 

Millin said an "awareness drive for clients" must be organised so the standard may gain traction. 

"Having only FM providers aware of the standards is not enough," he continued. 

"FM organisations will also have to spend money to buy the standards, something which many have been hesitant to do so far." 

Experts such as Richard Naylor, chief executive for Cushman & Wakefield's Saudi Arabia operation, are also hopeful that the new standards will bring "much-needed" changes to the regional FM sector.

He explained: "It is hoped these standards will now be adopted by all stakeholders within the GCC FM industry, and hopefully help bring much-needed clarity and [a] standard approach to the relationship between the client and service provider, as well as bring greater understanding and expectation levels by the client and assist in defining what FM is." 

Particularly, Naylor told ConstructionWeekOnline, the standards may also help standardise bidding processes across the region. 


"Here in the GCC we regularly find ourselves being asked to bid against various different standards from different parts of the world, [which is] very much dependent on where the author of the RFP [request for proposal] originates from and what s/he is familiar with," he continued.

"However, what is even more frustrating is bidding on a document with no standards, in the knowledge the other four service providers who you are [...] against are probably all bidding to provide a different level of service to the one you are pricing for." 

As FM consultants, Naylor explained, the standards' level of clarity would help his company better advise its clients and standardise "specifications that are put out to market to ensure our clients receive a similar response back from the various service providers, as opposed to five different answers based on various standards, which can often cause delays in the evaluation process".

Meanwhile, Millin is counting on the regional FM industry to collectively adopt the standards. 

"The global FM community has provided a tool; to what extent that tool will be used is another matter," he added. 


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