10 May 2004
It is increasingly the case that those involved with the management of new and existing buildings are having to consider their impact on the environment. Pressure from around the world, reflected in part through government legislation, is encouraging those companies and other organisations that erect new buildings to do so in a way that both minimises environmental damage and increases their energy efficiency. Managers of existing buildings also face the same challenge.
In the UK, for example, the climate change levy, which took effect from April 2001, is intended to encourage businesses to adopt and install energy saving measures, setting down targets for future energy consumption and efficiency. New building regulations have been introduced to deliver the same result underpinned by grants and capital allowances to encourage energy saving technologies. Stiffer company reporting requirements and the government’s determination to foster the development of renewable energy sources are also pressurizing boardrooms..
The growth in demand for buildings that are at the forefront of environmental sustainability is unlikely to diminish and with it has come the growth of facilities management consultancy, the management of the built environment in a way that minimises its permanent or long term damage.
The days when a developer could erect a building with capital costs as the only or primary concern are over. Now they have to consider the operating costs that will be on-going for years after an initial development has been completed. Owners and occupiers, of course, are also affected.
The PFI sector is just one where establishing the correct facilities management is now a key consideration. With buildings being constructed with an anticipated lifetime of at least 30 years it is sensible for developers to invest in energy efficient and sustainability features that will not only benefit the environment but will, over such a timescale, more than pay for themselves. Examples of best practice could include the use of photovoltaics for space and water heating, presence detectors to reduce lighting costs and the harvesting of rainwater for use in toilets instead of potable water.
Consultants to the built and natural environment, WYG, has seen its facilities consultancy business expand from one to 42 staff over the last eighteen months. From its initial base in London the company has now set up operating units in Newcastle, Bristol Edinburgh, and Leeds .
WYG offers consultancy both at a strategic level for longer term initiatives and at a day-to-day operational level. Working with property consultants and surveyors Ryden, WYG recently had its facilities management contract with the Scottish Executive expanded from 20 to 35 buildings. Other clients include Scottish Amicable, the Home Office, National Probationary Services, Department for Consitutional Affairs (former Court Service). Cluttons, the East India Dock Partnership and property surveyors DTZ, for whom WYG is working on the management of property portfolios.
WYG has developed its own environmental, health and safety (EHS) benchmarking tool that enables organisations to measure both process and performance in their EHS practices. Called ‘Contour’ it is a key part of the WYG facilities consultancy offer and is a tool that has now been applied by over 250 large and small organisations in the UK and abroad, including Transco, Allied Domecq and BAE Systems. All have seen improvements in their EHS strategies as a result of applying Contour.
Jerry Helley, WYG Director, says,
“For clients the key consideration in facilities management is making sure they are getting value for money. It has been estimated that the Facilities Management market will continue to grow at a considerable rate over the next 5 years as organisations outsource their non-core activities. The reason behind this is primarily to add value to the company by enabling it to concentrate on its core business areas.
“Clients need to know that they have a consultant who will not only maintain and protect what is often a major company asset but also that the consultant’s fees are going to be more than covered by the savings made. The cost/benefit has got to stack up. And this applies whether we are talking about an existing property and the inherent characteristics it will have because of its build or a new building, which offers greater opportunities to adopt best practice for energy efficiency and other aspects of environmental sustainability.”