PM and FM Role Becoming Increasingly Enhanced

Office Market

Corvin Innovation Campus is operated for developer Futureal by Icon Real Estate Management.

Ever more sophisticated requirements from tenants and staff, concerns over rising utility prices, and the increasingly central role of ESG and well-being in the day-to-day management of offices have further enhanced the function of property and facility management providers.

Property management and control of the building’s operations through FM have become crucial to reaching the lowest energy consumption and highest employee satisfaction, according to professionals from within the field.

László Orbán, CEO of Frame Group, sees the role of an integrated facility management provider as helping partners find the best and most cost-effective way to achieve flexibility of space, reasonable operating costs, and reduced environmental impacts.

“Facility managers are not only responsible for the smooth and efficient operations of complex FM solutions in the given property. As they are the ones overseeing complex integrated facility management of the property, they have the specific expertise and capability for identifying opportunities for quality upgrades or savings, either via readjustment of existing systems or implementation of the latest technical developments,” he argues.

“Together with respective property managers, they are capable of supporting investors with relevant information when deciding about investments that lead to more efficient and, therefore, sustainable operations of their real estate. This environment-friendly solution will be used for both “soft FM” and “hard FM,” in line with the signed service level agreement. The center of competence team supports all field and on-site colleagues to be able to find the most sustainable solution for customers,” Orbán adds.

A central role of PM & FM is facilitating the well-being of office staff and the implementation of Well Building Standard principles at scale so that organizations can measure and improve their health performance across multiple locations.

Robust Features

“Using our robust set of Well features and our proven process, organizations can map, measure and quantify their health and well-being efforts. With this data, they can measure their impact on people while also comparing their progress internally and against industry peers,” explains architect and Well assessor Regina Kurucz.

ESG and well-being and the need for effective benchmarking and transparency of data have already opened new perspectives. In the coming years, these issues are seen as having an increasing influence on property and facility management.

“PM and FM will have an increased role within the ESG office environment, as the ongoing and transparent management and monitoring of data is one of the key factors of ESG assessments,” says Zsombor Barta, president of the Hungarian Green Building Council (HuGBC) and a sustainability expert.

“Investors are screening commercial buildings against ESG benchmarks, but to get ESG-related benchmarks, data is needed. Data can be gathered, and ongoing and transparent monitoring systems must be developed by PM & FM. Their role is therefore crucial for the ESG market,” he notes.

“I think a high-end tenant needs high-end services. Also, sustainability and image are crucial for these clients; therefore, up-to-date information and ongoing, high-quality services are required. To fulfill these requirements, the office building staff must be prepared, and systems and frameworks must be implemented to be able to meet these needs and expectations,” he adds.

With regard to costs, Frame’s Orbán argues that ESG criteria should not increase lease or operational costs, as this is expected to be the basic standard requirement soon.

Holistic Approach

“It is a matter of preparation and a holistic approach. We feel responsible for helping our clients find alternative ways to optimize TCO [total cost of ownership] levels while respecting all requirements. This is not only valid for new premises but also for reconstructed ones. This is why we decided to extend our activities focusing more on reconstruction, fit-out, and energetics besides our strong IFM leg,” he explains

Barta of HuGBC argues that, first of all, everybody within an organization should understand why data monitoring and gathering is needed, in what form, and the level of detail. If needs and expectations are understood, improved systems can be developed and implemented accordingly, he believes. It is clear that especially for ESG, benchmarking and enhanced data management and gathering need to be implemented.

All investors and landlords are becoming more concerned with ESG, which is increasing the number of offices that are compliant with the standards. It is quite visible on the market that certifications like Breeam, Leed, Well, and Access4You, are becoming inescapable in the view of Orbán, not to mention the EU taxonomy.

“An important new approach for ESG environmental indicators is to consider the whole life cycle of buildings and real estate. In other words, the environmental impact of the production of building materials, of transport and construction, and operation and dismantling must be taken into account,” he says.

“Energy efficiency is also the key to the operation of buildings and real estate: first, careful planning is needed to ensure that a building can be operated efficiently, and then to ensure that the optimized amount of energy used in its operation comes from a climate-neutral source,” Orbán adds.

According to Icon Real Estate Management, there are currently no standardized ESG requirements, based on which it could be decided whether a building is ESG conforming. How a space is built and its technological solutions are used is one thing, but how the building is used is even more critical from an ESG perspective. That means professional operation and tenant education are fundamental aspects, the company says.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of May 5, 2023.

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