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FMs need support when it comes to matters of the environment

Author : Liz Allen MSc BSc MIEMA CEnv environmental consultant for Hosking Associates

21 October 2016

There are pressures on facilities managers from all directions.

At one end of the value chain, landlords or owners want to see a return on investment; at the other end, tenants want comfortable and safe surroundings at justifiable charges.

Here are some tips and suggestions, tried and tested by FMs, to involve others to help improve environmental performance and manage service charge increases.

1 Agree priorities.
Each stakeholder in a building will believe their needs and expectations are the most important.

Sharing these and acknowledging issues can go a long way in improving communications and dialogue, whilst also reducing the pressure on the FM stuck in the middle.

Look for win, win, win opportunities like energy saving where landlord, tenant and FM can all benefit.

2 Improve understanding of the building.
Buildings or spaces deigned for 100 people cannot keep 200 comfortable all the time.

Building a bit of awareness about the limitations of the technology and making sure all parties (FM, M&E, etc) say the same thing may help reduce complaints.

3 Control energy costs.
Energy and utility costs are likely to be the highest charges after people.

Therefore, monitoring, measuring and understanding what gets used and by whom is the first step to managing consumption and controlling costs.

Before turning things off, all building users need to understand the costs and benefits of doing things differently.

Reduced core times may become appealing if the savings are reflected in service charges.

4 Invest to save.
Investment in new LED lighting gives a payback of less than 12 months.

Other investments can take longer, and PPM schedules need to reflect predicted future costs of energy and associated taxation – such as the planned replacement for CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment) as an increased CCL (Climate Change Levy).

5 Show how things are improving.
Engaging others at the start of an initiative, such as improving waste recycling facilities, is a great way to get people involved.

Providing feedback on performance, good and bad, helps to keep motivation and performance levels high – especially if the tenants get competitive!

6 Compare performance with others.
You may be very proud of your performance or want to see what is possible.

Benchmarking performance, whether floor by floor, tenant by tenant, or with your colleagues is a great way of working out what to do next.

Standard benchmarks for energy and water can be found in sector guidance, and the BREEAM rating gives some challenging targets.

7 Added extras.
With high competition in the commercial market, what can make your building stand out?

Additional services from showers to bike racks and Amazon delivery points can all provide that bit of extra service.

Find out what is attractive or not about your building.

8 Be part of the local community.
Who are your neighbours? Do you share similar challenges such as waste lorries blocking roads or delivery vehicles all arriving at the same time? How about sharing concerns? What about opportunities?

Is there a school, college or community centre nearby who could benefit from your expertise, or even left over meals?

9 Reuse, repurpose, recycle.
Before the contractor dumps everything in a skip, can it be used somewhere else?

Toilets, floor and ceiling tiles may be the same throughout the building – can unwanted fixtures be stored and used as spares?

What about furniture? Reupholstering and refreshing can be a lot more cost effective than starting again.

Companies such as JPA Furniture can take your unwanted furniture, refresh it and return it or sell it on.

10 Celebrate success.
We all like a pat on the back when we have met a goal or made a difference.

Share successes with all parties – even if they did not play a part – you never know, they may want to get involved and help you make a difference.

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