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European Standards for RE and FM

20 May 2010

Herman van Ree charts progress of European Standards due to come into force this year, and stresses the importance of these new standards for all responsible for real estate in Europe

Over the last five years the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has been working hard to develop a number of European Standards for real estate and FM. These standards are of key importance to European occupiers and bodies like IPD who measure their performance, focussing as they do on definitions, agreements, quality, taxonomy, processes, space and benchmarking. The EU Standards will take over from national standards once they come into effect in 2010.
Contributing to the objectives of the EU and the European Economic Area, the CEN aims to remove trade barriers for European industry and consumers. Its mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment. Through its services it provides a platform for the development of  European Standards and other technical specifications.
With many of the 27 member countries of the EU currently working to their own standards, real estate and FM across borders remains a challenge in every day practice. For example, DIN Standards are used in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, BSi and RICS Standards in the UK and Ireland, NEN Standards in the Netherlands and Belgium, and DS Standards in Denmark.
As a response to this lack of conformity, the EU Standards will create an EU-wide set of definitions, providing a transparent basis for management and supporting the communication of information - not least to help organisations make better decisions in a rapidly changing world.
Currently there are six European Standards in place for facilities management:
● EN 15221-1 - Terms and Definitions - provides a constructive classification for
both primary activities and support services and defines FM as ”the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities”.
● EN 15221-2 – Agreements - Offers clear guidance on how to prepare Service
Level Agreements including constructive Key Performance Indicators for facilities managers.
● EN 15221-3 - Quality - Provides guidelines for measuring, achieving and improving quality in facilities management and complements existing ISO 9000 Standards.
● EN 15221-4 - Taxonomy - Presents a detailed structure and full classification of all products and services typically found in facilities management.
● EN 15221-5 - Processes - Provides guidelines for the development and improvement of processes supported by an overview of complete workflows.
● EN 15221-6 - Space - Offers a clear and constructive framework for measuring space use and floor areas in buildings. Joining the dots, the CEN is currently working hard to
develop and deliver EN 15221-7 - Benchmarking. By providing a transparent basis for measuring, analysing and comparing performance data important to real estate and facilities managers, objective and consistent benchmarking across borders will become possible.
And crucially, all national standards bodies will be obliged to withdraw existing national standards once all EU Standards have been accepted. As a result, 2010 will see the end of DIN, BSi, NEN, BS and all other national standards currently in existence.
As this will have far-reaching implication for occupiers’ organisations, IPD Occupiers is closely following developments and aligning its service offering with EU Standards.
● Hermen van Ree, Head of Corporate Services at IPD Occupiers and Principle UK Expert and secretary to the CEN committee for delivering the EU Standard on Benchmarking., +44 7875 776 719

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