Seven standards that 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 read 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’s certainly what American space agency NASA found when the prohibitively expensive Mars Orbiter satellite vanished without trace after its launch in 1999. The cause? The Lockheed Martin team that had designed and built the satellite used standard American units of measurement, while the NASA team was using the more conventional metric system. The use of two different measuring systems meant that the coordinates of the satellite for controlling the booster rockets could not be passed between the two teams. The fiasco cost NASA around $165 million.

Without standards it’s difficult to cooperate with other departments, other organizations and other countries. We have already listed five important reasons for standardizing. What are the seven most important standards in the IWMS domain when it comes to exchanging information?


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


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


Aspiring to 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 organizations to now capitalize qualified obligations as operational leasing agreements and to include them in the balance as assets and liabilities. This has consequences for both managing and reporting on real estate in an IWMS.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops standards for a large number of sectors. Several standards are relevant to IWMS: ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management and ISO 50001 for energy management. To implement standards, organizations must regularly pass inspections and audits. For the IWMS domain, the ISO norm only becomes relevant later, because sufficient data and processes must be available to be able to audit.


The Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE) focuses on the development and implementation of standards for information exchange between Real Estate and Facility Management. This standard makes it easier to collect, analyze 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 the basis for evaluating the sustainability performance of buildings, such as the use of energy and water, pollution, transportation, waste and material usage. These standards are used to compare the performance of buildings against each other.


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

Implementing these standards in the IWMS domain creates a number of challenges for organizations, but working with standards also has advantages: lower transaction costs, easier access to information, and a higher quality of processes. By using these seven standards, you can raise the use of an IWMS to the next level. The sky’s the limit!

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