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Facilities management and corporate real estate management: FM/CREM or FREM?

Theo van der Voordt (Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands and Center for People and Buildings, Delft, The Netherlands)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




This paper aims to explore similarities and dissimilarities between facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate management (CREM) regarding its history and key issues, and whether the similarities may result in a further integration of FM and CREM.


The paper is based on a review of FM and CREM literature, seven interviews with experienced academics and consultants and the long experience of the author as a researcher and teacher in accommodating people and activities.


Both FM and CREM aim to support primary business processes by aligning the physical resources of organisations to the organisational strategies in order to contribute to organisational performance and to add value to the organisation. Efficiently and effectively supporting the primary activities and business purposes are key issues. Dissimilarities consider the focus on facilities and services (FM) versus that on buildings and real-estate portfolios (CREM), as well as a shorter time frame and high flexibility of facilities (FM) versus a long life cycle and rather static buildings (CREM). In spite of the differences, it is expected that both disciplines will be more integrated in the future.

Research limitations/implications

The selection of key topics and key publications may be biased by the personal knowledge and European perspective of the author and the input from seven expert interviews.

Practical implications

The common body of knowledge of FM and CREM may be used to improve both professions and disciplines and may result in a more integrated approach of facilities and real estate management (FREM).


This paper combines insights from two related disciplines with different histories and focus points, and explores what they have in common and can learn from each other.



The author wants to thank the interviewees that delivered input to this paper: Feike Bergsma, Per Anker Jensen, Hans de Jonge, Willem Keeris, Andreas van Wagenberg, Ron van der Weerd and Jaap Wijnja. The comments of the reviewers on earlier drafts of this paper are appreciated very much as well.


van der Voordt, T. (2017), "Facilities management and corporate real estate management: FM/CREM or FREM?", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 244-261.



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