Making sense of requirements in standards

ISO 41001 Facility Management Systems

Most standards are basically of two types – those that specify requirements and those that provide recommendations and guidance. ISO 41001 Facility Management Systems is of the first type, but with guidance to support the requirements. Those requirements are mandatory, but the guidance is not and is there to explain and elaborate on what shall be done. The accepted way of presenting requirements for a management system, be it for quality, energy or whatever, is to provide a summary of them in a manual, followed by a statement of the appropriate procedures.

A newcomer to the world of standards might find the wording of requirements to be terse and difficult to follow. They are meant to be precise and unambiguous; however, they need to be interpreted in a way that the users of the standard can implement practically. This is usually achieved by describing supporting procedures or offering a narrative on what needs to be done to conform with the requirements. In some cases, users might find it difficult to move from the requirements directly to the supporting procedures. This can leave the user feeling that there must be more to be said. Indeed there is.

FMS Audit structures its Facility Management System Manual by, first, providing a summary of the requirements expressed in ISO 41001 and, second, describing the expected practices that will meet the requirements. From those expected practices, it is then possible to see the procedures that must be followed together with any applicable form needed to capture evidence of the procedure being followed. We would like to think there is a certain logic in this sequence. But is that enough?

Many management system manuals that we have seen and which some of us have worked with over the years seem to assume that the user always knows what to do, why it needs to be done and when it has to be done. FMS Audit accompanies its Facility Management System Manual, including the expected practices and necessary forms, with separate guidance that is designed to help you establish, implement, maintain, update and improve your Facility Management System. So, if you have not already joined us, what are you waiting for?