Purpose: This paper aims to explore traditional FM research and potential trends.
Design/methodology/approach: This was an exploratory review of literature.
Findings: The main thrust of the argument in this paper is that FM research develops a more communicable and proven understanding of how to apply a wide spectrum of externally developed methods in unique FM settings as well as developing new methods. Second, a more robust FM knowledge base can inform designers, engineers and architects given that FMs are experts of design in use.
Research limitations/implications: This research focused on the UK, Europe, America and Australia. It does not represent a comprehensive/systematic review of the research activities occurring in FM globally.
Practical implications: Research traditionally focuses on hard FM; in contrast, FM outcomes are heavily dependent on the way end users interact with and use organisational services and equipment. This suggests that there is a gap between practice and research, and that intuitive and in-depth FM knowledge about end users has yet to be captured and formalised through research.
Social implications: Development of FM research requires uptake of contemporary research trends towards partnered research, working across disciplines.
Originality/value: Achieving a more robust FM knowledge base would help capture the wealth of knowledge that FMs have about buildings in use; this could then be used by FMs and also by designers to improve their products and services in disciplines like engineering and architecture.