What is FM


Defining European facility management


In 2002 national FM representatives from 15 countries decided to develop a European definition of FM. In 2006 all 29 European countries agreed to use the following official definition of FM:


Integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities. (EN15221-1: 2006 Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions) 


They also defined terms like benchmarking, client, customers, end-user, facility service, facility, integrated facility service, service provider, supplier, It was agreed that FM covers and integrates a very broad scope of processes, services, activities and facilities. The field of FM was being grouped under two headings representing 'People, Place, Process':


  • Space & Infrastructure
  • People & Organization


Space & Infrastructure includes the client demand for (work-) space through services such as space planning, workplace, design, construction, lease, occupancy management building operations, maintenance, furniture, equipment, technical infrastructure, cleaning, etcetera.


People & Organization includes the client demand for health services, catering, event management, ICT, hospitality, security, safety, human resource management, logistics, office supplies, document management, accounting, marketing, etcetera.


As a consequence the European FM representatives defined other aspects of FM such as benchmarking, asset, due diligence, etc. These terms had not been defined and put in a European standard before by any other building life-cycle stakeholder.  The intended focus of the European FM model is to underline the client orientation of FM and to make clear that a service provider can be an internal as well as external organization. This approach respects the diversity of the European market. The FM model explains the basic functioning of FM within an organization. (Be aware this is not the original model from the actual standard. The original, copyright CEN, should be taken from EN15221-1: 2006 Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions.)



Figure 2 Definition Facility Management. CEN, 2006



Based on this model (figure 2) CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, developed a 'Guidance on how to prepare FM agreements'. This European standard allows for developing the relationship between an organization that procures or outsources facility services (client) and an organization that provides these services (the FM service provider). The guide facilitates cross-border contracting within the European Union by including references to existing European regulations.


In 2006 the European FM market started defining:


  • a classification, taxonomy and structure for FM
  • space and area measurement for planned and existing leased or owned buildings 
  • a guidance on quality in FM
  • a guidance on FM processes


Terms like real estate, support process, tenant, cost of capital, depreciation, business support, cleaning, hospitality, ICT, floor, and workplace were defined. This had never been done on a European level before. September 2010, the experts represented in the technical committee 348 of the European Committee for Standardization agreed on the text for these four new standards making. The proposed standards will be brought to formal voting at the end of 2010. In 2011 a guide on 'Performance Benchmarking' will be added.


FM is the largest business services market in Europe.
This market has been estimated to be € 640 billion large by German Sven Teichmann. Other experts estimate the FM market is 5% till 8% of GDP depending on the country and the maturity of FM in that country. Various sources from both Europe as well as the United States of America indicate that an average workplace needs about € 10.000 per year to support it with facilities and services. Based on these figures the European facility management sector delivers about 40 million FTE of work per year.

The development and growth of FM basically followed the path of integrating people, place and process. The development can be visualized in figure 3.



Figure 3 The development of facility management, 2006


So, over the years the European FM market has included more and more business services and has become more mature. Currently it is the largest business services market. In an increasing number of countries FM professionals take part in construction projects, help develop and manage DBFMO projects and are the leaders in workspace management projects. FM has become the facilitator of sustainable life-cycle solutions for buildings, new ways of working initiatives and business services innovation.

In 2010 EuroFM started connecting with the European construction industry, the European Union and (corporate) real estate networks. This means the European FM network has started adding measurable value to the European Union and its employment, productivity, transparency and competitiveness. The European FM market has reached a position to facilitate Europe 2020.