Sunday, June 7, 2009

European FM Standard – EN15221

When globalization developed momentum it quickly over ran most organization’s ability to track operational and portfolio data in a coherent manner. Recall also that the break up of the Soviet Union both added political instability and introduced new business energy into the Eastern European region. Stir that pot just a bit and you have one very interesting recipe. CRE/FM teams raced to support business expansions in an often times chaotic environment. Making it more difficult was the lack of comparative data. Forget about trying to normalize against Western measures, we often couldn’t normalize between two Eastern countries. Each, it seemed, had their own business calculus. They measured space differently and often something as simple as that had no standard within a country.

OK, so what you say? That was then, this is now. Why does that matter?

While multinationals have done a good job of integrating portfolios and operations across national boundaries in the region there has still been a lack of cohesiveness. Standards tended to be determined on a company basis, not on a national or regional basis.

That is changing with the emergence of EN15221, the European standard for FM. With first elements released several years ago it is already well rooted. New elements build on an impressive body of work and expand the reach of standardization. It includes specific standards for Terms and Definitions, FM Agreement, Quality, Classification, Process and Area and Space Measurement. This standard enables consistent, meaningful and actionable information and data tracking across thirty countries on the European continent.

As desirable as the outcome may be, it will not be easy. Thirty countries. Thirty different ways of doing things. All moving to one standard, all having to change long held definitions and methodologies. There’s that word again. Change. I expect there will be a fair amount of “dust in the air” as they say in the construction business, but it will be worth every bit of it when everyone speaks the same business language.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ken,
    Great view. Just to let you know october 19, 2011, Europe accepted the next four EN15221 standards. Including the one to measure space. More change. Especially indeed for construction, but also for real estate this time. CEN, the European normalisation body, has transfered FM from the construction unit to the services unit. The European Commission is shifting its assets focus from tangible to intangible. FM will flourish with all these shifts.