Seven standards which are shaping and changing the IWMS domain

This blog is a summary of the chapter 'Initiatives that shape the landscape' taken from the book 'A quest for excellence: Guidance for CRE & FM executives implementing a global IWMS'. Would you like to learn more? Please click here to order a free copy of Planon’s IWMS implementation guide.

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Communication errors can have serious consequences. That is certainly what the American space agency NASA found out when the prohibitively expensive Mars Orbiter satellite vanished without a trace after its launch in 1999. What happened? The team at Lockheed Martin which had designed and built the satellite used standard American units of measurement, whereas the team at NASA was using a more conventional metric system. Two different measuring systems meant that the satellite information for controlling the booster rockets could not be exchanged between the two teams. The fiasco cost NASA around 165 million dollars.

Without standards it can be difficult to cooperate with other departments, other organisations and other countries. In our previous blog we stated five important reasons for adopting standardisation. Today we will look at what are the seven most important standards in the IWMS domain when it comes to exchanging information.


Standards for measuring surface areas, produced by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). They have been used in the United States for almost a century. These standards also contain guidelines for energy efficiency, green buildings, accessibility, air quality and practical examples for maintenance management and safety.


The European EN15221 norm was launched as an ambitious long-term project to replace some standards in the Facility Management domain, such as DIN277 and NEN2580. The norm also includes standards on FM agreements, quality management, taxonomy and classification and FM processes. It is applicable to both hard and soft services. 


The trend leaning towards a more transparent overview of assets and liabilities means that the rules for property leasing in accordance with the IASB and FASB will change significantly in the years ahead. The changes affect the requirement for organisations to capitalise qualified obligations as operational leasing agreements and to include them in the balance as assets and liabilities. They will have direct consequences on managing and reporting on real estate in an IWMS.


The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) develops standards for a large number of sectors. Several standards are relevant to the IWMS: ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management and ISO 50001 for energy management. To implement those standards, organisations must regularly pass inspections and audits. Within the IWMS domain, the ISO norm only becomes relevant at a later stage due to the significant amount of data and processes required just to be able to audit.


The Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE) focuses on the development and implementation of standards focusing on information exchange between Real Estate and Facility Management. These standards make it easier to collect, analyse and exchange data between different IWMS solutions.


The standards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) form a foundation to evaluate a building’s performances in terms of sustainability, such as the energy and water usage, pollution, transportation, waste and material usage. These standards are used to compare buildings performances against each other.


COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) is a standard used for exchanging data in BIM (Building Information Modelling), and has been adopted by the BuildingSMART Alliance (BSA). COBie enables quicker and easier data exchange of the so-called ‘Bill of Materials’ (the list of elements which together make up the building) between a BIM model and systems such as IWMS and CMMS.

Implementing these standards in the IWMS domain creates a number of challenges for most organisations. However working with standards also has its advantages: lower transaction costs, easier access to information and processes of a higher quality. By using these seven standards, you will be able to bring the use of an IWMS to the next level. Sky is the limit!

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