Admist the return to work, Chris Norton, Associate Director at Gleeds, explores the legislative requirements FMs must abide by in order to maintain a compliant estate.

required under the 1974 Health and Safety Act have been relaxed. We all need to maintain a compliant estate.

By now, those organisations who needed to part or fully mothball, will have done so by now. But for all companies, it’s not just powering down services and locking the front door. You have to continually review and update your practices against government, HSE, and internal business governance; review your insurance requirements; assess your staff welfare requirements; prioritise your statutory PPM regime – ‘red’ items first as a minimum, but also plan how you will manage your inevitable maintenance backlog; and, review your HVAC ventilation flows in your buildings – systems still need to run.

You should also plan in advance your re-occupation: What are your drivers? How will you phase re-occupation? What operational adjustments to mitigate Covid-19 risks will be required? As part of this, Legionella testing, cleaning regimes, PPE availability and space occupancy should all be reviewed.

In a post-pandemic world, building use may totally change. Ongoing cleaning regimes and occupancy density will undoubtedly be reviewed – hopefully COVID-19 will not be here forever, but the risk of other COVID-type illnesses may affect a permanent shift in workplace thinking.

At the BIFM annual dinner some years ago, I remember Dara O’Briain saying that FMs were the invisible fairies who made everything clean and magically work while everyone slept. For too long, FM has been seen as a fringe industry by some as it perhaps lacks the prestige of new build; taken for granted and felt to be a drain upon bottom-line revenue.

Now, in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 pandemic – the value of our sector is acknowledged as being at the very forefront of the collective attempt to try and keep all of our families, colleagues, clients and suppliers safe, while trying to restore a level of ‘normality’ to everyday life.

Gleeds is an international construction consultancy with 21 offices across the UK, and like every business has adjusted to new ways of working – mothballing our offices, furloughing, working from home with endless Zoom calls, juggling home and family commitments, and also trying to maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach.

From the outset we have adopted a consistent ‘best practice’ approach in how we service our client base in conjunction with how we operate internally. We are working with our customers to be truly ‘Ready to Return’.

One thing that never changes are your Statutory Obligations – while business practices may have changed in the short- term, legislative requirements have not. In terms of FM, there are no formal guidelines stating that any duties


If engagement and output can be maintained, remote working may now permanently compliment office-based operation. Buildings will need to be flexible, portfolios may be rationalised, or their use reviewed.

In response to the pandemic, the speed of digital workplace development was incredible; and the availability of support and information in the FM sector has been hugely encouraging. Post-COVID-19, cost certainty and efficiencies will be inevitable as we feel the pinch from inevitable austerity measures.

Best value, not value for money, should be pursued; as we have seen in the press of the numerous cases of ‘cheap’ PPE procured in recent weeks. Increased operational management of suppliers – auditing performance by way of technology as well as on-site assessment will be widespread. Innovation across all areas of FM delivery is a necessity.

We are in unchartered waters at the moment for an indeterminable period of time. So, your communications with your stakeholders – furloughed or active - is essential. You must consider the mental as well as the physical wellbeing of your teams. Some of our most valuable assets - people – aren’t doing so well at the moment and need all our support. Stay well, but also, work smart.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66