The specification, linked to the contract for any facilities management service, sets out exactly what is required and how it should be delivered.

There are two main types of specification – the Input specification and the Output specification.

Input specification

An Input specification sets out exactly what is required, when it is required and how it should be delivered, so for example, an input cleaning specification for toilets within an office block may look something like this:

The toilets on the second floor will be cleaned with organic cleaning solution at 08.00, 12.00 and 16.00 daily Monday to Friday. All surfaces will be wiped down and mirrors cleaned. Bins will be empties at these times

This input specification details clearly exactly what must be done, how and when.

Output specification

An output specification, however, will be much less specific and, using the same example, may look something like this:

The toilets on the second floor will be kept clean and bins emptied as necessary

What’s the difference?

The difference between the two means that the contractor can use his/her discretion if operating to an output specification. If the bins do not need emptying at 12.00 or the mirrors do not need cleaning the contractor can make that decision whereas with the input specification, even if there was just one paper towel in the bin at 12.00, it would still have to be emptied.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of specification which are considered in more detail later in another article.

For now, however, it is useful to note that input specifications tend to be used mainly where there are legislative implications that have to be observed, for example, legionella testing or hazardous waste disposal. The type of specification forms part of the FM strategy

IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.04 Specification and Procurement of Facilities Supplies and Services
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.04 Understanding Support Service Operations
    • FM4.21 Understanding Procurement and Contract Management in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.21 Managing Procurement and Contracts in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
    • FM6.12 Procurement Strategy for Facilities Management
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications