Three top tips on how FMs are staying one step ahead of regulatory compliance
A closer look at the key issues facing facilities managers seeking to protect their people, assets and the environment
Today’s facility managers are increasingly becoming ”˜stewards’ of the environment – and that means there is a growing focus on building life-cycle cost, increasing operational efficiencies and reducing energy consumption. Further complicating matters are the new and updated regulations, codes and standards that continue to emerge. Beyond these challenges, unregulated issues, such as indoor air quality (IAQ), require knowledge of best practices as well as access to resources that help establish or update programs to occupants, visitors and buildings.
But they’re not the only challenges. Increasing pressure from health and safety regulatory bodies is also impacting client companies,resulting in increased outsourcing of their regulatory compliance to FM service providers with a range of service level agreements.
For many FMs, the first port of call is The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program, which mandates the disclosure of energy efficiency information for most commercial office spaces of 1000 square metres or more. Then there’s the Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC), Green Star rating which assesses the design of office fit outs, and NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) which measures its ongoing operational energy efficiency.
Built environment benchmark
Speaking at the 2017 Total Facilities conference, Norman Disney &Young’s global director of sustainability Tony Arnel said that while the new WELL Building Standard* from the International WELL Building Institute is “a move in the right direction”, there are still challenges.
This is due to both the expense and complex nature of the current WELL rating certification, which often renders it potentially cost prohibitive. When it comes to sustainability, Arnel says while minimum standards have helped to mainstream energy, water and waste saving initiatives, Australia still has further to go in terms of its sustainability achievements.
Showcasing excellence in sustainability is Mirvac’s 200 George Street in Sydney’s CBD. Hailed as one of Australia’s most environmentally advanced and sustainable buildings, it has a 6 Star Green Star representing ‘World Leadership’ in environmental sustainability practices, together with a 5 Star NABERS Energy rating.
Sustainability features include the use of innovative triple gazed faÃ§ade design allowing high levels of natural light, high volume fresh air intake, improved air quality via use of low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials, cyclist facilities, two sockets for Electric Vehicle charging, water recycling in addition to the latest building energy and water efficient designs and intelligent monitoring and control systems. Mirvac’s headquarters will also become one of Australia’s first WELL-certified offices and provides an industry benchmark as it sets the standards for best practise sustainability.
Keeping up with codes and compliances
With regular compliance updates from various regulatory authorities, it is challenging for FMs to stay abreast of new regulatory issues, standards, codes and compliance developments. Here are three strategies FMs are using to ensure they are keeping up with the latest play:
- Subscribe to free list services from numerous associations and agencies: these services typically provide free email updates and timely resources to aid managers in complying with existing regulations. They also provide best practices and guidance on non-regulated issues e.g. http://www.australia.gov.au
- Join industry specific associations and local chambers of commerce: many often have services to keep members abreast of safety and environmental compliance issues affecting facilities e.g. http://www.cityswitch.net.au
- Learn by default: another challenge facing FMs is identifying priority issues. Industry experts are advising FMs to learn from the mistakes of others. For instance, some peak OH&S bodies publish an annual list of regulatory violations, which can help managers identify the most common worker safety violations e.g. https://sia.org.au