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Beware of geeks bearing certificates

Facility Management Systems

As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. While not as widespread as diploma and degree mills in higher education, certificate mills producing impressive-looking ISO-styled certificates on quality, environmental and energy management are on the rise. Why spend months implementing a new management system to improve your facility management when you can buy a certificate off the shelf that says you have already done it?

We can cite one case where a mill declared that it had certified a company even before ISO 41001 Facility Management Systems had been published. Maybe they had contact with the developers of ISO 41001, although no one had heard of them. It is not so much that they were off the starting blocks before publication, it was the astonishing ability to simultaneously establish, operate and audit a Facility Management System (FMS). Time is needed to implement the FMS before it can be audited. It is plain common sense, not a game, as well as sound management practice.

Mills have been sprouting up in the Middle East and India alongside legitimate firms offering auditing and certification services. Identifying a bogus outfit – a mill – might not be easy; however, certifying a management system within days of its introduction is nonsense and not worth the price of the paper it is written upon. Dealing with a mill could mean that your business is buying trouble, because discovery sends entirely the wrong message to everyone – this company is prepared to cheat.

(With apologies to Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil) and Warren Buffet for borrowing their words)