By Marimuthu Nadason

Facilities management and the need for norms

With the growing and rapid move of globalisation, organisations especially businesses are striving hard to focus on its core values in order to be more competitive and to equip itself with the ability to sustain its businesses and meet the demand from consumers. The diverse and complex structure of an organisation demands more resources and costs in order to be efficient and to fulfill their customers.

In order to do so, many organisations are looking into facilities management as one of their strategic move to reach out to multiple functions that the organisation requires as well as up to the bottom line of their operations.

The Global Industry Analysts, Inc stated that the world facilities management market is forecast to reach US$394.69 billion by the year 2017. If we look at the Asean region, Malaysia is expected to grow rapidly in this area and become the hub for asset and facility management.

According to the European Standard EN 15221-1-2006, facilities management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.  

For public sectors, there is an existing guideline, standards operating procedures and policy. Recently the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has launched the Asset and Facility Management manual that is expected to guide the contractors in order to provide the expected service.

Facility management can be very challenging and requires skills in handling changes in the organisations management but it can serve as an imperative tool to assist the organisation from many aspects. There are many initiatives that are currently available, hence by having an International Standard on facilities management, it will help in standardising the processes involved in facilities management.

The Industry Standards Committee on Organisational Management (ISCO) which is under the purview of Department Of Standards Malaysia is currently monitoring the work of the development of an international standard on Facility Management which is at the moment focusing on Terms and Definition as well as the Guidance on how to prepare Facility Management Agreements.  

This project is under the purview of ISO TC 267 - Facilities Management. ISO is known as the International Organisation of Standardisation which develops ISO voluntary standards that can eventually be adopted or adapted by member countries to suit their national needs. The participation of Malaysian stakeholders in this committee is important to ensure that Malaysia’s consensus is taken into consideration during the development of these standards at ISO.

The stakeholders in Malaysia can also participate in the technical committee at ISO to provide concrete comments and actively participate in the drafting these standards due to its status as a permanent member at this committee in ISO.

Creating demand for more standards

This in the long term can assist the contractors in not only ensuring their end result to be of high standards but they are also able to be competitive in the international arena where their services can also be extended to other organisations globally. Apart from the current two projects as mentioned, facilities management is foreseen to create demand for more standards as it covers a wide scope of business.

By having standards in this area, it also can help future facilities managers, property managers or facility management companies to have a proper guidance to ensure that they comply with the necessary requirements and meet the expectation of the consumer.

Facilities management of course has a broad scope and most of the time the services it is customised according to the customer needs.

However, by developing standards in this area, it can provide basic needs/ requirements that are needed for example defining the scope and content of services as well as responsibilities.  

In many universities, standards are used as part of their syllabus and teaching. By having standards, this can also be very instrumental for the universities to teach the students in applying standards in the field of facilities management.

Consumers on the other hand will also benefit by not having their service providers from charging them an astronomical rate for their services and the ever increasing consumer complaints due to dissatisfaction regarding facilities management can also be minimised.


DR MARIMUTHU NADASON is president, Malaysian Association of Standards Users and chair of ISCO.