Purpose - This paper's purpose is to identify successful methods used to integrate stakeholders into the early phases of strategic community facility projects. Design/methodology/approach - A two-stage research method was used at project inception and design phases of a community facility. Project inception used action research pre-design strategic needs analysis workshops with internal local authority stakeholders to capture the council's internal stakeholders' agreed strategic aspirations, resulting in a performance-based brief. Subsequently, observation-based research investigated project processes conducted by others. Owing to the nature of the brief, additional engagement was required with stakeholders internal and external to the council. Findings - The processes integrating council and municipal stakeholders are described. These included identification of stakeholders and their roles in project processes. Stakeholders were shown to be the target for individual strategies within the facility's multiple strategies. Management practices employed by facility managers to integrate stakeholders were documented at strategic planning, project inception, governance and pre-construction phases. Research limitations/implications - The research was conducted into a single facility but this is representative of other community facilities. This facility was significant for its multiple organisational and municipal strategies, and the high levels of stakeholder satisfaction. Stakeholders' early integration into project processes is likely to address a problematic expectation-evaluation gap identified in the literature. Practical implications - This paper identifies successful practices for facility managers to employ at early project phases. Originality/value - Stakeholder integration is particularly important in community FM where there are multiple stakeholders and issues of internality and externality effects from facilities are debated.