Companies today can do business using one single currency across many European countries. But what about the currency of real estate? The basic unit of measure of commercial property is floor area, and facility and property managers still have to deal with many different (national) measurement standards. The same net area can vary by up to 10% depending on the standard of measurement used, which makes it impossible to benchmark building performance or the cost of facility services.

Space management standardization is just one of the areas addressed by the European Standard for Facility Management (EN 15221). This standard has been accepted by 30 participating countries across Europe and is increasingly being used by both businesses and public authorities.

Why use this standard?

Implementing a (new) standard takes work and facility managers are already reporting heavy workloads. So why bother?

There are many good reasons, a central one being that this standard underpins professional, cross-border FM practice and enables a long-term strategy with measurable improvements. It helps FMs, as well as service providers, speak the same language, adopt best practice processes, objectively define quality and ultimately compare and improve performance.

Key practical benefits include:

  • Avoiding wasting time and money by reinventing the wheel
  • Improved communication and transparency in procurement and contracting
  • Improved process efficiency and outcomes
  • Objective quality assessments and increased customer satisfaction
  • Reliable and meaningful (international) benchmarking of costs and performance
  • Less time spent “firefighting” allows more focus on innovation

What does the European standard cover?

Visuel-1EN 15221 is made up of 7 volumes


EN 15221-1 Facility Management – Terms and Definitions (2007)

There are major differences in the understanding of facility management, its focus areas and terminology across Europe This first standard establishes terms that can be understood across all European countries and bring some common understanding as to what we mean when we talk about facility management. It also clarifies how facility management connects an organization’s primary and support processes on 3 levels (strategic, tactical, operational).

Visuel-2FM MODEL


EN 15221-2 Guidance on Facility Management Agreements (2007)

This volume provides guidance on the development of contract agreements between parties regarding the delivery of FM services. It assists in setting the scope of your contract and in selecting the right partners. It can also be used to profile the responsibilities of the in-house team.

EN 15221-3 Quality in Facility Management (2012)

Guideline for measuring, achieving and improving quality in FM: detailed guidance on how to prepare SLA and KPI; process description of quality management in FM.

EN 15221-4 Taxonomy of Facility Management (2012)

Focused on the concept of classified facility products/services by defining relevant interrelationships of service elements and their hierarchical structures, associated terms and cost allocation.

EN 15221-5 Facility Management Processes (2012)

Provides guidance to FM organizations on the development and improvement of their strategic, tactical and operational processes to support the primary activities.

EN 15221-6 Facility Management Space Measurement (2012)

A common basis for planning and design, area and space measurement for existing buildings and buildings in a state of planning or development, including many visual representations and real-life examples. This volume is written from the user perspective and presents a framework for measuring floor areas within buildings and areas outside of buildings.

EN 15221-7 Benchmarking Facility Management (2013)

Measurements without a point of reference are of little use. It’s only when you convert operational data into comparable information, that you can start to benchmark and understand performance. In order to be comparable, data needs to be “normalized’ according to a common standard. This last volume supports FMs to set up effective and uniform benchmarks on a local, national or international level, in order to gain insight into performance and costs.

Continuous improvement journey

The role of facility managers is expanding today and their impact on business success is growing. As the Internet of Things (IoT) is entering facility management and FMs are increasingly reporting to C-level, the ability to collect, understand, and benchmark data is becoming more central to their role.

This makes it imperative to apply standards to data collection, goal setting and performance tracking in FM. The EN 15221 standard for FM (and future ISO 41000 that will integrate part of it) makes this possible.

The implementation of the European standard (CEN) can further be supported through IWMS/CAFM software. If you are considering to buy software for managing a large portfolio or want to be able to benchmark results according to international standards, look for an integrated solution that has incorporated best practices, based on the European norm.

MCS Solutions Advisory has ample experience in European standardization projects. Our expertise ranges from space management to outsourcing projects to smart KPI setting and benchmarking. Contact us if you would like to learn more.