Is your building legal? Keeping your facility compliant with UK law can be a daunting task.
Facilities management has a hugely varied remit, with everything from ensuring a building and its employees are safe and secure through to literally keeping the lights on part of a typical day. It is a function that is tasked with keeping a workspace functioning so that other employees can concentrate on delivering their role, with pre-planned and proactive maintenance as important as dealing with issues as they arise.
One of the most critical elements of the world of facilities management is compliance, not least because failure to comply with some basic facilities-related legislation could have catastrophic consequences. It’s a hugely complex area, so here’s a quick guide to the basics:
What do we mean by the term compliance?
When it comes to facilities management, there are two things to be aware of. Firstly, there are eight key areas that are deemed ‘in scope’ of facilities compliance:
To put this in context, compliance touches every aspect of a workplace, from asbestos, fire safety, electrics, gas and water, right through to air conditioning units. Within this, there are expectations that fall into these eight areas that must be adhered to, to ensure a compliant and therefore safe workplace.
The second thing to know is that there’s a pretty extensive list that sits beneath each of these areas. You can read more about this in this IWFM Guidance Note.
Guide to Compliance: Keeping Properties Safe and Meeting Legal Obligations
Are there legal requirements to be aware of?
In simple terms, yes. Apart from the obvious health and safety reasons, if an incident occurs and it is not possible to clearly demonstrate compliance and that all reasonable steps were taken, organisations and individuals could be subject to prosecution and insurances voided.
The FM team should understand all legislative requirements for a building or space, which may vary from one site to the next, and have a process in place to ensure that regular inspections are completed and any non-compliant issues quickly rectified.
How can compliance become embedded in the culture?
Facilities compliance is a specialist area and so it’s likely it will only be on the radar of a few key individuals, but ensuring compliance has executive sponsorship and visible, comprehensive management data will go a long way to keeping everyone focused.
Where a third party is involved, ensure compliance is on the agenda at review meetings and request regular compliance statements demonstrating adherence to all necessary compliance areas.
Proactive FM compliance
Proactivity is key when it comes to compliance. Employers are legally obliged to ensure their premises are safe for those who work there and facilities management teams are well placed to support this objective. Their in-depth knowledge of the kit and systems that keep a building running, as well as the infrastructure that supports the day-to-day operation of a space makes them idea custodians of facilities compliance, but it is critical that you ensure this expectation is properly communicated and expectations understood to ensure you get a proactive and well-managed strategy to support your overall compliance.