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RICS White Book for FMs published this month

08 July 2009

This month see the publication of the first part of the White Book. Rosemary Elder's review for PFM's July issue explains how this overarching FM Guidance Note covers the strategic role of FM in business performance.

Modern FM as a unique discipline can trace its roots back to the last 30 years. This does not mean it did not exist before then, only that it was in the 1970’s in the US that its importance to a business was understood for the first time. As a highly complex discipline FM is often rarely understood by those who have an influence on it and the way it is used in an organisation.

At RICS, the decision was taken to launch the FM Forum in 1998 to run alongside the existing FM Practice Panel. This was as a result of pressure from members to recognise the growing importance of FM as aspecialism within the Institution.

Building on the success of the Forum and in the light of the FM APC Pathway, FM was included as one of 16 newly created Faculties (now Professional Groups) in 1999. Since its formation the Facilities Management Professional Group has grown in number and today almost 12,000 members are either working in FM or have an interest in it.

Due to the relative infancy of the FM sector in relation to some of its more established property partners, practitioners have yet to produce a structured standards framework for the sector. RICS, as the leading global property professional body has taken up the challenge to provide leadership within this sector and produce a governance framework for professional and strategic FM.

This framework is critical if FM is to be recognised as a professional discipline within the property sector. The standards framework to be known as the White Book will also promote the added value that Chartered Facilities Management Surveyors bring to the management of core and non-core services and the overall profitability of an organisation.

The first part of the White Book, due in July 2009, will be the overarching facilities management Guidance Note - the strategic role of FM in business performance. Following this a series of Guidance Notes and Information Papers will be developed. It is intended that the RICS White Book will be of direct relevance to both Chartered Surveyors and other FM professionals.

The Guidance Note separates the facilities management cycle into five separate sections of strategy, sourcing, operational, review and continuous development. Each of the topics listed in the five sections are detailed in the Guidance Note with the enablers underpinning all activities and the context or the demand (of legislation and statutory compliance, culture, sustainability, and external stakeholders) constitutes the environment surrounding the cycle.

The guidance and recommendations provided within the Guidance Note assumes the reader is an experienced FM practitioner and so it is not handbook, but it will highlight best practice and sources of further information.

The guidance is designed to be read by members practising in both the UK and globally and as such it is recognised that members will need to have reference to local operating practices and procedures in any given environment.

Following publication of the overarching guidance note an editorial board will be established with a remit to review and update the standards. The content of future standards and guidance will also be discussed at this board level.

Copies of the White Book can be purchased from the RICS Bookshop order

● Rosemary Elder is Professional Practice Manager, RICS. This article first appeared in the RICS Commercial Property Journal, June-July 2009 issue before being published in PFM July.

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