Tag Archive: #fm

  1. What are the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and why is this important for people within FM?

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    Back in 2016, the Energy Efficiency Regulations (2015) established the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, or MEES as it is often referred to, in the residential and commercial private rental sector. This was introduced by the UK Government to improve the quality of rented buildings and reduce CO2 emissions in relation to the UKs targets for decarbonisation.

    The UK Government has since pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and in the process improve the energy efficiency of the country’s historical buildings. Under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), it is not against the law to grant a new lease or the renewal of an existing lease to a landlord on a commercial property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) below an E rating. Certificates range from A, the highest to G, the lowest. The government believed that almost one in five commercial properties would be unable to achieve a rating above F.

    The rules, currently in force, are about to become even more stricter, however, as by April 2023 it will become an offence to continue to let a commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G, even in the middle of a lease.

    There are however, some exceptions to the rule as the regulation does not apply to commercial leases that are in operation for less than a six month term or more than 99 years. Some listed buildings are also on the exception list. Both the landlord and the tenant need to undertake their own research into whether leasing a listed building makes them liable. Currently an EPC rating is valid for 10 years and if a commercial property has a rating of F or G yet the lease was signed before 2018, then MEES will not apply to a lease that before the April 2023 deadline. There is a maximum fine of £150,000 for non-compliance, depending on the property’s rateable value so be aware of the risks.

    So where does the Facility Manager figure in all this? Well, there are a variety of ways in which a commercial building can be improve its energy performance and the facility manager can have a positive influence on the implementation of this–  

    • Insulation – Improve your insulation. Poorly insulated roofs and walls can have a massive impact on the EPC rating. Landlords should consider adding insulation to solid brick or metal-clad properties, especially where there are cavity walls.
    • Heating and cooling – Old HVAC plant and equipment is a significant factor in energy emissions. Install more efficient boilers, variable-speed heating and cooling pumps and high-efficiency chillers. Think about installing a heating control system that reduces the likelihood of wasting energy in different parts of the property.
    • Lighting –A low EPC rating in a commercial building will have inefficient lighting systems. Look to replace older fluorescent tubes and halogen bulbs with LEDs. Similarly with heating, lighting controls can also dramatically reduce energy wastage in unused areas of the property.
    • Predictive maintenance – Investing in predictive maintenance is crucial. After installing sensors on the assets, equipment and distribution networks in a commercial property, engineering teams can track energy efficiency and calculate when systems may begin to underperform.

    Follow the above guidelines and there will be a strong chance a landlord will achieve a higher EPC rating than the current E pass mark. There is already talk of MEES looking to introduce a minimum energy efficiency target of C or B by 2030 and with the UK under pressure to meet its 2050 objectives, there has never been a better time to get your commercial building in order.

  2. AEJ in New London Retail Park Site Win

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    AEJ Management, the retail and shopping centre soft services FM specialist, are celebrating after having been awarded a new contract to run a 100000 sq ft out of town retail park in North-West London. The retail park, which features some of the UKs most popular and recognised brands, was put out to tender to find a provider that could undertake a professional cleaning service at the site along with providing a visible security presence for the visiting public.

    Iain Warburton, Business Development Manager at AEJ Management remarks, ‘We’re delighted to have been appointed on this site for the next 3 years. This demonstrates the trust the managing agent has in us to deliver on the service specifications that were outlined in the bid process and it also strengths our position as a leading soft service provider into the retail and shopping sector in and around the capital and south-west in general. Our head office is in Chelmsford and we are often viewed as an attractive proposition to clients given our proximity to London and our excellent track record within this sector’.

    The bid process involved having to outline the company’s experience in service delivery, submission of a clear and competitive bid along with demonstrating a strategic and cultural fit for the client. Iain continues, ‘What was also apparent during the tender exercise what the need to demonstrate innovation over the duration of the contract and also how we would add value to the existing site arrangements. Being able to compile and submit detailed, yet concise reports is one aspect that differentiates us from our competitors and this is something we are proud of’.

    For further information on the services that AEJ Management can offer, visit their website at http://aejmanagement.com on contact on 01245 396873

  3. Has The FM Sector Now Become A ‘Race To The Bottom’?

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    Across UK, industry as a whole over the last 12- 18 months has seen seismic developments which did not seem possible prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. Businesses have had to adapt to the constant changing landscape they operate in with most employers taking advantage of furlough, or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in an attempt to prevent redundancies and keep staff on the payroll whilst hoping to get through the turbulence as unscathed as possible. Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become the new medium for holding both internal company and client meetings and perhaps opened executive eyes in how communications can still remain open and effective between staff and clients alike, whilst travel has been restricted. Industry however has suffered that there can be no doubt, with the hospitality sector still largely dormant and one of the last to pick up the pieces from the devastation of Lockdown.

    The Facilities Management sector has also experienced changes that were not forecast with remote staff management becoming a necessity along with the challenges imposed logistically to ensure site staff are fully compliant from a PPE perspective. There have, of course, been some winners and losers in this sector yet the retail sector has perhaps been the biggest loser with numbers only recently returning to parks and shopping centres of which were experienced pre-lockdown. Managing agents have had to work tirelessly with both landlords and tenants alike in an attempt to understand both occupier requirements and occupancy costs. The role of ‘middle man’ has had to be played, at times, with diplomatic aplomb so as to extend support to occupiers in outlining the financial support available through CBILS and other government backed schemes along with lobbying Business Improvement Districts (BIDS). Rent concessions, service-charge mitigation and payment plans have had to be skilfully negotiated to satisfy the need of both landlord and occupier.

    Despite all this and the heroic efforts by some managing agents to keep centres from looking like ghost towns and the fact that we now appear, at least, to be coming out of the woods with the clearing in sight, has there been a shift in procurement strategy in relation to contractor services with cost being the main driver over quality of service delivery? Cost will and has always been a significant driver in the procurement process for any organisation, but given the challenges experienced over the last 18 months, is this now the significant factor when it comes to procuring management services?

    Iain Warburton, Business Development Manager at AEJ Management who have for a number of years specialised in providing soft service facilities management into the retail and shopping centre space, makes some interesting observations. ‘The last 12 months in particular have been quite fascinating for this sector. We have noticed clients putting greater emphasis on cost cutting measures whilst still expecting, to a large degree, the same level of quality of service delivery and reporting. A number of regional facilities managers that I have spoken to across the country over the last 12 months have all sited cost cutting requirements in their site procurement needs yet have remarked, also, that AEJ have consistently delivered on their service delivery and reporting promise to ensure quality of operational delivery, despite the constant challenges the sector has had to overcome’.

    It does beg the question, has Covid been a ‘bad news Friday’ moment for the FM sector with procurement teams using this as a reason to look solely at the bottom line at the expense of quality, innovation and effective operational reporting? Iain continues, ‘We’ve certainly seen instances of clients suggesting an emphasis on quality, added value and innovation requirements at the bid stage, yet at the contract award stage seemingly motivated by the bottom line only, sometimes, at the expense of outstanding site service delivery’.

    It’ll be interesting to note, post July 19th, whether there are to be further significant changes that impact on this sector but one thing is for sure, companies are going to have to be on the balls of their feet when making decisions in compiling their costings during the bid stage in an even more, ever changing marketplace than usual whilst perhaps having to second guess the client’s train of thought, when looking to win contracts.