1 Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technologies to support remote working. It has also placed added value on activities that support the health and well-being of building users, which make the office, factory or educational establishment a place that people want to occupy.

In parallel, the climate crisis and net zero carbon ambitions of organisations across all sectors have raised the profile of asset management activities that seek to optimise the use of resources. The creation of social value is also a clearly defined and explicit target outcome for many public, private and third sector organisations.

With a changing social, economic and environmental landscape, it is important for those with responsibility for property assets at all stages of the property life cycle to adopt a multidimensional and people-centric approach to assessing performance.

There is also a well-established awareness in the property and facilities management industry that the effectiveness of building occupiers is directly determined by the way the building is managed and operated. The industry is also mature in terms of certifications and accreditations that rely on taking a snapshot of the systems, infrastructure and technologies in place.

Finally, there is both an increasing body of stakeholders with an interest in the way property assets are managed throughout their life cycle, and an increasing number of ways in which the value of a property asset to its occupier can be measured.

These trends demand a fresh look at property asset performance. The climate is therefore right for the introduction of a new, simple-to-operate, multidimensional International Building Operations Standard (IBOS).

1.1 Purpose of IBOS

The purpose of IBOS is to support organisations that wish to measure the operational performance of their property assets in a consistent manner - irrespective of the type of property or its location. IBOS cuts across asset types and geographical boundaries.

Efficient and effective asset performance is contingent on accurate and timely data being available. That data must look at multiple facets of performance simultaneously, such as utilisation, cost in use and environmental performance.

IBOS adds another dimension - the user experience - and in doing so reaches beyond the more traditional technical aspects of operational performance that have become tried and tested over many decades.

Introducing the user experience into the framework for measuring the operational performance of assets sets IBOS apart from all other methodologies. By reflecting the needs and perceptions of users in a simple but unique approach to holistic property performance assessment, RICS has developed a methodology that is entirely new to the market.

Not only does IBOS introduce the occupier dimension as a separate consideration when assessing overall property performance, it recognises that the technical performance of an asset also affects the experience of the user. For example, consider how alternative approaches to space utilisation, maintenance, cleaning or life cycle replacement can impact directly or indirectly on the ability of a workplace to effectively support the needs of the occupier.

By focusing on specific dimensions of performance, entitled 'pillars', IBOS is designed to:

  • be easy to use
  • capture a sufficiently broad range of data to deliver a rounded picture of operational performance
  • enable benchmarking of performance across a portfolio or between portfolios
  • create a core body of knowledge regarding asset performance that can be augmented by users according to their particular requirements, asset types, etc. and
  • identify a range of performance indicators that should be considered, rather than confirming the precise level of performance that is appropriate.

The last point is very important. While the desired performance measures selected by users will relate to factors such as the prevailing legislative framework, good practice guidelines and of course the type of property asset and its location, IBOS provides insights to help arrive at the optimum balance of performance across many indicators.

The common bond that integrates many performance indicators is the experience of the user.

Finally, it is important to note that IBOS represents an approach to property asset performance assessment that can inform strategic asset management planning and decision-making. It also provides a valuable tool to support the appraisal of options and the associated preparation of business cases.