to end users or the client. This could involve aesthetic changes that at the same time improve environmental impact or perhaps encourage wildlife. A great example is a wildflower meadow that adds visual interest and also supports pollinators. Whatever you wish to achieve, look at what already works well and what doesn’t to help ensure that changes are appropriate and effective.

Autumn Moving into autumn, now is the time to schedule site improvement works such as planting, tree surgery and arboriculture activity.

From a planning perspective, this is the ideal time to review your landscape assets and management and maintenance plans and specifications. Conduct a review of the previous year and consider how next year’s service can be improved. It is worth collaborating with a landscape expert to develop a comprehensive set of output specifications. This should focus on achieving your desired standards and objectives – for example, environmental objectives and workplace wellbeing – rather than the frequency of visits.

If you are considering a change of contractors over the winter, it is important to review and release PQQ and tender documentation during the autumn – especially when procuring for larger contracts.

Summer Summer is the most intensive period of activity during the year, and will be dominated by grass cutting and pruning. But summer is also the time to keep an eye out for reportable invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed or Giant Hogweed and plan control measures into new plans.

The importance of engaging with grounds maintenance teams to ensure that specifications and quality standards are being managed through frequent KPI monitoring and reporting cannot be overstated. Vital as it is, this monitoring process need not be a laborious process as technology is making it possible for concise activity reports and site photos to be made immediately available following a contractor’s visit.

“Always ensure that KPIs are

driven by and in line with the wider FM strategy or overall business objectives.”

This ongoing process can be complemented by scheduled site meetings at strategic intervals throughout the summer. More generally, such meetings can be used to ensure that your GM understands your organisation’s environmental policy, and to discuss workplace wellbeing and efforts towards environmental conservation.

This is a great time to think about site improvements as you can evaluate sites at a time they are being used most. When developing plans, it is a good idea to look for the potential for multifunctional improvements that can really add value

Developing your annual plan Every site is different, but helpfully many of the basics are universal and we’ve developed an infographic that can be used as a good starting point to adapt to your requirements. The Grounds Maintenance Planner can be used to track your teams’ or contractor’s current work and service reports and gives a sense of what to expect now and the coming months. The Soft Landscaping Planner provides an understanding as to the optimum times to make improvements or changes, such as extending beds, creating more naturalistic areas or planting.

While this gives a very high level overview of things to be considering at various times of the year, it also drives home the importance of giving yourself enough time to think of improvements and opportunities to make more of your assets. This applies equally whether you are using you own staff or external contractors.

You may well have an existing set of specifications that you perennially turn to but it is important not to let these become a straightjacket. Provide opportunities for local team members to be more empowered. After all, their input can help to develop more interesting/useful spaces for your staff.

Should you decide to use contractors, you can usually expect the same level of engagement and creative input and more consultative suppliers will certainly be able to help you to think more strategically about seasonal planning. Doing so, can help you work more efficiently and avoid wasted investments and also take full advantage of the opportunities each site provides to create more engaging and sustainable green spaces. TOMORROW’S FM | 33

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