Total facilities management By Brian Atkin and Adrian Brooks Blackwell Science 192 pages £29. 50 paperback

The title of this book leaves the reader under no illusions about its purpose.

The authors have built on their previous work, Effective Facilities Management: a good practice guide, to appeal to a wider audience, including surveyors, building service engineers, contractors and postgraduates, as well as facilities managers.

It offers a progressive view of how facilities management applies to organisations of all kinds, focusing on customer satisfaction and value for money. It bridges the gap between a theoretical treatment of the role in supporting the core business of an organisation and its implementation.

Providers and users of facilities management services should gain significant insight into best practice and latest developments from this book. It deals with the issues which all practitioners should consider before embarking on a particular plan.

In the NHS, facilities management has often been relegated to a minor role along with procurement. Though these vital areas deliver the platform on which to build effective organisational performance, they are often subservient to more pressing and politically sensitive issues. Executives overlook them at their peril.

The book's structure makes for easy reading. It develops from simple definitions and strategies through the various dimensions of outsourcing and in-house provision to benchmarking performance. It also covers legal and health and safety issues, human resources management, contract administration and service performance and measurement.

Within each chapter the layout and presentation of the topic area covered are clear and informative; each ends with a checklist for the reader to assess their own organisation's progress. This approach may favour the lazy among us, but this is not to say the material is patronising at any point.

The final chapters cover the important areas of private investment and partnership and conclude with the foundation for effective facilities management - training and development.

Overall, it bridges the gap between theory and implementation. The authors have provided an excellent reference source that can be dipped into at any point and enjoyed for its simplistic, yet erudite exposition of best practice.

Some readers could find this book a revelation in modern practice and thinking.

Peter Buckley Commercial director, Medipurchase.com