ISO 55000 standards – implications for Australian FM

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The implications the introduction of the ISO 55000 series of standards on asset management have for facilities management is discussed by PETER WAY of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).


The introduction of the ISO 55000 series of standards on asset management potentially has an impact on all who have responsibilities for managing assets, including facilities managers. The standards are intended for use by any sized organisation and have a range of objectives, including the promotion of good practice through to full third-party certification of conformance to the standards. They strongly focus on organisations realising value from assets in the achievement of their organisational objectives by applying a management systems approach.

This article comments on the possible implications for organisations, particularly those currently managing facilities, that may choose to apply the standards or that may be required to do so by way of regulation or other parties. It also provides information on various tools and resources available through the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) that can assist in the implementation of these standards. These views arise from the author’s involvement as the IPWEA representative on the Standards Australia Mirror Committee for the development of the ISO 55000 standards.


There are three standards that have been developed:

  • ISO 55000 Asset management – overview, principles and terminology
  • ISO 55001 Asset management – management systems – requirements, and
  • ISO 55002 Asset management – management systems – guidelines for the application of ISO 55001.

Prior to the standards’ publication on 15 January this year, there were five meetings of the project committee (PC) established to write the standards over three years. Over this period they progressed through a series of Committee Drafts to now being a final published standard. There were 31 member countries on the PC and 12 observer countries.


These standards are the first written in accordance with ISO established Annex SL for the alignment of the consistent structure and contents of all its management system type standards. Accordingly, users will ultimately see similarities between the quality management, environmental management and risk management type standards, to name a few.

While PAS 55, produced by British Standards, was seen as an initial catalyst for the ISO Asset Management Standards, they have since evolved into quite a significantly different format and approach to what is in PAS 55. The first important thing to note is that these standards specify a management system for the management of assets. The requirements part of the standards are very much about the ‘what to do’ in establishing such a system and not about ‘how to do’ it.

Another significant departure from PAS 55 has been the question of to which assets these standards can apply. It was initially promoted and supported by ISO that the standards need to be generic and applicable to all types of assets. It rapidly became apparent, however, that the standards were being drafted with a strong emphasis on the managing of physical assets. The solution has been a clause as follows:

“This International Standard can be applied to all types of assets and by all types and sizes of organisations.

“NOTE 1: This International Standard is intended to be used for managing physical assets in particular, but it can also be applied to other asset types.”

There has been some preliminary ‘testing’ of how the standards might apply to non-physical assets such as intellectual property, brands and other ‘intangibles’, and it is felt it will be quite robust in being able to be applied by organisations that choose to do so. That leads to another important point, which is that it is up to each organisation to determine to which of its assets it wishes the standards to apply.


As the title indicates, this first standard spells out a number of concepts and principles related to assets, asset management and then the management systems for such. It also lists all the definitions to be applied throughout the three standards. For instance, the following is the definition of an asset:

“An ‘asset’ is an item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organisation. Value can be tangible or intangible, financial or non-financial and will be determined by the organisation and its stakeholders, in accordance with the organisational objectives.”

The overview is intended to give senior management a quick appreciation of why the organisation should embrace asset management and the value realisation they can attain by so doing. The concept of asset life cycle is introduced and it has been left to each organisation to decide how they wish to define the asset life stages.

The standard describes the concept of asset management as involving the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets, to achieve the organisational objectives, which might need to be considered over different time-frames. It then goes on to elaborate on a number of key fundamentals desirable in achieving asset management, including value, alignment, leadership and assurance in service delivery.

It then addresses the asset management system, which it describes as: “An asset management system is defined as a set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organisation, to establish the asset management policies and asset management objectives, and the processes needed to achieve those objectives.”

The relationship between key asset management terms is shown below.

ISO 55000 then outlines a number of benefits to various stakeholders and parts of the organisation by having such a system, including integration of asset management and financial management in the organisation. It then lists the seven key elements that comprise such a system, which is a logical lead into the next standard.


This is the most critical standard incorporating all the ‘thou shall’ statements – some 70 with a number of sub-elements. A lot of these ‘shalls’ and the supporting text is fixed by the aforementioned ISO Annex SL Guidelines on MS standards. The additional text deals with specifics that are peculiar to how a management system operates in terms of managing assets. Some of the key elements in this particular standard are as follows:

  • context of the organisation
  • needs/expectations of stakeholders
  • scope of the asset management system and to which assets it will apply
  • leadership and commitment
  • policy, roles, responsibilities and authorities
  • planning
  • risks and opportunities
  • asset management objectives and planning to achieve them
  • support
  • resources, awareness and competence
  • communication
  • information
  • operation and control
  • change management
  • outsourcing
  • performance evaluation
  • monitoring and review
  • auditing
  • improvement
  • nonconformity
  • corrective and preventive action, and
  • continual improvement.

Some of the important aspects of this standard are the degree of weight placed on understanding stakeholder needs and expectations. Top management has far greater responsibility in terms of integrating the asset management system into overall business planning and ensuring the asset management functions are properly resourced. There is a strong focus on a whole of organisation approach, which should help break down silo effects in many organisations. There is a requirement for an organisation to adopt an asset management policy and broad direction on such policy is spelled out.

The planning aspects deal with planning for both the asset management system and asset management activities under that system. This involves setting asset management objectives (consistent with the overall organisational objectives) in a Strategic AM Plan. The next step is the asset management plans to achieve those objectives and strategy.

The next section on support deals with the organisation allocating the resources necessary for implementation of not only the asset management system, but also the asset management plans. It then goes on to specify requirements with respect to the competences required of those performing asset management functions. It also covers the need to communicate and create awareness of policies and objectives and plans among all involved and information requirements. This section also promotes better alignment between asset management and financial management terminology throughout the organisation.

The operation section then deals with operational planning and control of the processes needed to meet requirements, and to implement the actions determined in risk management and the asset management plan(s) and change management.

The section on performance evaluation deals with monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation of the asset and asset management performance, including financial and non-financial performance, and the effectiveness of the asset management system. It then deals with internal audit requirements to ensure appropriate conformance. It then deals with top management review of the organisation’s asset management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

The final section deals with improvement and includes a number of requirements relating to conformity and corrective action. The standard promotes continual improvement for both the system and asset management in general.


This third standard contains explanatory text necessary to clarify the requirements specified in ISO 55001 and provides examples to support implementation. It does not provide guidance for managing specific asset types.

This standard follows the same layout of contents as in 55001, but has no ‘requirements’, instead focusing on providing further clarification of the intent of the requirements clauses in 55001, where deemed necessary. Similarly, each part of the 55001 standard is expanded upon with more detailed explanation and, where appropriate, examples to aid practitioners in better interpreting the requirements.


It has been recognised that there are a number of excellent reference materials available around the world, including documents such as the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM) that IPWEA sees as being pretty much ‘the how to guide’ for implementing asset management. It is widely used, including for facilities management. The IIMM has been cited in the bibliography to the standards.

To further assist practitioners, IPWEA is producing a supplement to the IIMM, which provides a mapping of the relevant sections in the IIMM that relate to each of the various requirements clauses of ISO 55001. This effectively gives users ready access to those parts of the IIMM that will best assist them in implementing the requirements of ISO 55001. In other words, it provides a ‘how to’ for applying ISO 55001 in infrastructure asset management.

The approach that has been adopted in this supplement is to work sequentially through each of the requirements clauses in ISO 55001 with a following listing of those sections in the IIMM that relate to those requirements with a brief commentary on the material available in the IIMM sections. It is intended that IPWEA will run training sessions on the ISO standards implementation including use of the IIMM supplement.

IPWEA has also produced a number of Practice Notes that provide ‘hands-on’ practical tools for practitioners.


ISO representatives noted that a number of other committees had either published, or were developing, documents specifying competency requirements for those involved in third-party audits and certification of management systems in their fields (for example, ISO/IEC DTS 17021-2 for environmental management systems).

Discussions in the AM PC 251 indicated that there was agreement to try to develop third-party auditing and certification competency requirements, but not to examine training or consultancy issues. Following a meeting of a Working Group from PC 251 to address this matter, good progress was made in developing a Final Draft ISO/IEC 17021-Part 5 Competence requirements for auditing and certification of asset management system. The timing for the development of such a technical specification is fortuitous, and it is intended to be published concurrently with the publication of the ISO 55000 standards.


The nature of organisations and their governance arrangements, as well as the nature and value of their assets, will all likely be factors in whether they choose to apply these asset management standards. ISO itself states that the main aim of standards is to promote good practice, not to be there purely for compliance.

The standards, per se, do not carry any force to require their application. It will be up to organisations in most cases to choose to apply them as part of good business practice. However, it is likely that in some highly regulated areas, involving significant asset values, the regulators or even insurers may look to the comfort of requiring these standards to be applied to protect their interests. It is far better to have thought about what position might be best for your organisation and seek to influence the outcome rather than it being suddenly imposed by others.

In Australia, IPWEA has developed a policy position that will desirably steer all stakeholders along a path of allowing organisations to choose whether or not to apply the standards, but encouraging them to do so where it is agreed it is advantageous to their business. As indicated in the standards, they will also have the choice as to for which of their assets the standards will apply. It is certainly not seen as desirable that governments legislate to make application of the standards mandatory.

The main points of the IPWEA policy on application of the standards are as follows:

  • all infrastructure organisations should consider the standards for the benefits to be gained from applying a management system approach
  • governments should promote application at a level appropriate to business/community needs
  • application should not be prescriptive – apply to those assets and at a level appropriate to stakeholder needs
  • application should not be just for compliance – but part of overall management approach, and
  • organisations should decide on their appropriate level of certifying compliance or if seeking certification at all.

A copy of the full policy is available on IPWEA’s website.


There has been much work in Australia over many years in developing better practice guidance for asset management with a number of excellent manuals, training and encouragement to organisations to improve their asset management performance. This has been backed up with legislation in recent years that has mandated more in relation to long-term financial planning and asset management planning, particularly for local government.

The challenge then is to look closely at the provisions of these ISO Asset Management Standards and see how they may be advantageous to you in your work in facilities management, so that you can make an informed decision about the desirability of having them apply in your organisation and to what extent.

Aligning with the principles of ISO 55000 could be all that is needed to make a significant difference to the way organisations care for their buildings. Governing bodies (whether boards or councils or community groups) need the assurance that portfolios are being managed in a sustainable way that considers what is needed now and what is needed 10 or 20 years from now.



  • Final Draft ISO 55000 Asset management – overview, principles and terminology
  • Final Draft ISO 55001 Asset management – management systems – requirements
  • Final Draft ISO 55002 Asset management – management systems – guidelines for the application of ISO 55001
  • NAMS and IPWEA 2011 International Infrastructure Management Manual, National Asset Management Steering Group New Zealand Inc and Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, Wellington, New Zealand (IIMM)
  • IPWEA – NAMS.AU Practice Note 3 – Buildings Condition And Performance Assessment Guidelines Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) 2009.
  • NAMS Property Manual (NAMS Group Ltd NZ) 2006


Peter Way is the chair of national asset management strategy at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia.

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