Facilities Management, Coronavirus and the Value of ISO 41001

Facilities Management, Coronavirus and the Value of ISO 41001

By Stephen Ballesty and Stan Mitchell

on

Facilities Management (FM) is uniquely placed as the integrator of people, place, and processes across our Built Environment. FM aligns the facility capability and functionality with a demand organization’s mission and resources. This requires FM professionals to be innovative and respond to the ever-changing requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic is posing unprecedented challenges across many aspects of life, from support of critical healthcare through cleaning protocols to cybersecurity for remote workers worldwide.

The COVID-19 crisis reinforces the importance of having systems and standards in place to ensure resources and best practices are brought to bear efficiently and effectively contributing to our quality of life.

During and beyond the COVID-19 crisis, FM teams and networks will be expected to carry out responses outside of normal operations, as well as adjustments to routine business activities, to meet performance requirements.

Of course, FM professionals routinely take ‘Managing the Built Environment’ seriously, particularly in terms of resilience and sustainability, which can extend to emergency preparedness and extreme events response and recovery. FM has a vital role to play, supported by the initiatives such as the ISO 41000 series which have been the focus of international collaboration for the past eight years, refer: https://committee.iso.org/home/tc267

For those who may challenge the value of implementing such Management Standards as ISO 41001 for FM. We would however argue that those who implement the standard will already have:

  • Ensured that their management system manages risk 
  • Section 5.1 of ISO 41001 states that “the organization’s top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the FM system.” This includes ensuring that the approach used for managing risk in FM is aligned with the organization’s approach for managing risk.

  • Planned for the prevention, reduction of undesired effects
  • Actions to address risks and opportunities are outlined in section 6.1 of ISO 41001. This part of the standard helps FMs to determine the continuously evolving landscape of risks and opportunities that need to be addressed to ensure business continuity and emergency preparedness.

  • Identified who will be responsible
  • The FM Planning process is outlined in section 6.2 of ISO 41001 with subsequent best practice planning processes outlined in Annex 6.2. These parts of the standard guide organizations to understand how they need to establish FM objectives at relevant functions, sub-functions and levels that include considerations for the requirements of: relevant interested parties; and of other financial, technical and organizational requirements.

  • Undertaken internal and external communication associated with the risks
  • Planning for communication is key to success because of the wide scope of services, variety of locations and range of interested parties to be engaged – especially in times of crisis like we are experiencing today. Section 7.4 and Annex 7.4 of ISO 41001 provide a framework on how organizations can determine the need for internal and external communications relevant to the FM system, including: on what information it will communicate; why the information needs to be communicated; when to communicate; with whom to communicate; how to communicate; and lastly how to monitor the effectiveness of communications.

  • Considered continual improvement opportunities of controls responding to external events 
  • Section 9.3 and Annex 9.3 of ISO41001 outline how periodic planned management reviews of the FM systems by top level management of the organization ensure continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. Continuous review of changes in risk profile, service delivery options or methodologies will moreover inform the planning process and provide information regarding the FM performance. 

Whilst nothing, as we know, is foolproof, the odds are that those implementing the ISO 41000 series will have been better prepared than most!

This agility and willingness to innovate will hold society in good stead as we look forward to the time when we emerge from the current and ongoing global disruption and restructuring of our Built Environment.


Start using international best practice today! Learn more about what ISO 41001 can do for your organization: https://www.iso.org/standard/68021.html