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FM technology acronyms

As technology solutions become increasingly prominent in the workplace, so do the number of facilities management technology acronyms.

Even the most experienced professionals can be tripped up by an acronym. It may be one they haven’t heard before, or people may use different acronyms to describe the same thing.

We’ve created this handy guide of the most common facilities management technology acronyms to ensure that you’re never caught out.

What is FM?

This one may be obvious, but we couldn’t start without it. FM stands for facilities management and can be divided into two categories. Soft FM helps make a space a better place to work or live in and includes services such as cleaning and catering. Hard FM helps to maintain infrastructure and includes repair work, maintenance, and decoration.

What is IWMS?

IWMS stands for integrated workplace management system and has a broad scope. It’s five core components are typically real estate management, capital project management, facilities management, maintenance management and sustainability and energy management. IWMS is the most common term for FM software in the US and Canada.

What is CAFM?

CAFM stands for computer aided facilities management and is the most common term to describe FM software in the UK. CAFM systems can be used for both soft and hard FM and also support health and safety, contracts, and mobile workforce management. They can also be used to collect and report on data, enabling facilities managers to better plan and generate long-term cost savings.

What is CMMS?

CMMS stands for computerised maintenance management system. CMMS is focused primarily on maintenance, in particular digitising maintenance workflow. The term is commonly used in APAC and Canada.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for maintenance management software, and like the acronyms above, is used for planned and reactive maintenance, asset management and health and safety.

What is FMIS?

FMIS stands for facilities management information system. It’s not a commonly used acronym but does pop up from time to time.

We have conducted surveys in recent years to find which terms are the most popular acronyms. It’s important to understand each so that you don’t cross wires when discussing with a colleague or customer – especially one that might be abroad and not familiar with certain acronyms.

Technology in FM extends beyond maintenance software. Here are some other acronyms that are worth knowing.

What is BIM?

BIM stands for building information modelling. BIM is used to create a digital representation of the physical and functional components of a building, allowing FMs and building managers to make strategic decisions. The model acts as a virtual copy of the building which FMs can use to take accurate measurements remotely, see an asset’s location (including access or permit requirements) and access information about the asset itself including service history, manuals, warranty details and part serial numbers. For more information, visit our building information modelling page.

When a BIM model gains access to continuous information from several sources, such as CAFM software, sensors and BMS, it becomes a digital twin. This can be used by FMs to measure the impact of change in a virtual space before deciding whether to make that change in the physical space.

What is CDE?

CDE is a common data environment, which the central repository for information for a BIM model. It creates easy access for all stakeholders to collect, manage and share graphical and non-graphical data. Creating this single source of information allows for better collaboration across the project team, avoid duplication and lost documentation.

What is CAD?

CAD stands for computer-aided design. This is automated drawing software used to create highly accurate 2D or 3D models of buildings.

 What is COBie?

 COBie stands for construction operations building information exchange. It is an industry standard interface developed to manage BIM data. COBie improves the accuracy and quality of data and enables much quicker data collection.

What is PPP?

A PPP is a public-private partnership between government bodies and private companies. Private sector businesses finance, build and (in some cases) operate infrastructure or services and provide FM through long term concession agreements. These agreements transfer substantial risks to the private sector in return for payments over the concession life. A PPP is also commonly known as a P3 in the US and Canada.

What is MIM?

A MIM is a mutual investment model, designed by the Welsh government for infrastructure projects developed in Wales. Like a PPP, a MIM sees private partners build and maintain public assets. At the end of the contract, the asset is transferred back into public ownership.

These are some of the most common facilities management technology acronyms. For a comprehensive explanation of many more FM and PPP terms, see our glossary.


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