Readers of Bernard Williams' recently completed series on premises audits — now updated and published as a book by Bulstrode Press — will be aware of the growing realisation of the importance of that activity in the management of facilities. The audit is not necessarily, however, the first step in premises planning. Although it is an essential part of the process of establishing the status quo, it can be carried out in the absence of a premises policy — nor does it, of itself, establish or lead to the establishment of a premises policy. This article introduces a series which will explore and develop the concept of a premises policy — what it is, how it is produced, when and why it is necessary and, moreover, how the corporate business plan must necessarily impinge upon the premises policy. Whether the premises policy will respond flexibly to the pressures of change, or whether facilities management will be thrown into disarray as a consequence, is clearly going to be a critical factor in the ability of the organisation to carry out its business plan efficiently and effectively.
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