The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide asset managers, property managers and facilities managers with information about incorporating sustainability within the fit-out of commercial properties.
A property undergoes fit-out for a number of reasons over its lifecycle. These include:
The extent to which sustainability can be incorporated within a property’s fit-out will depend on the level of responsibility and influence the property owner and agent has within the decision making of the fit-out and the aspirations of the occupier.
Most of the benefits relating to the fit-out of a property accrue to occupiers. These benefits can relate to, for example:
Sustainable fit-out can also be used to strengthen brand through alignment with broader corporate social responsibility objectives and can help foster enhance stakeholder trust and reputation.
Incorporating sustainability within a property’s fit-out also provides a number of benefits to asset managers. For example:
The table below summarises the key activities associated with incorporating sustainability within a property’s fit-out, and highlights where asset managers, property managers and facilities managers are likely to have a responsibility or specific interest.
1: Marketing the space
2: Engagement and agreement
3: Requirements framework
4: Design and delivery
The approach to property’s fit-out is collaborative, involving consideration of the goals of both asset managers and occupiers. Property managers provide an important role in coordinating the process, with input from facilities managers.
The following elements should form part of property managers’ consideration of sustainability within fit-out.
Finding the right space for their business is important for any occupier. Including sustainability characteristics when seeking space can help inform the selection of space that maximises occupier benefits.
The marketing of a property is generally the responsibility of an asset manager. It is, however, useful for a property manager to be aware of the way in which sustainability principles may have been incorporated in an asset manager’s approach. This may include:
The arrangements for agreeing a lease are generally the responsibility of an asset manager. Property managers should be aware of the way in which sustainability was highlighted early in discussions between asset managers and occupiers, and the outcomes and decisions, so that they are able to consistently build on the approach during the later stages.
Asset manager and occupier discussions on sustainability are likely to have:
A Requirements Brief is key document that captures an occupier’s desired sustainability requirements for a fit-out.
An asset manager plays a central role in the development of a Requirements Brief by supporting occupiers via the provision of advice regarding the overall performance and features of a property, including those relating to sustainability.
While, in many instances, the asset manager may engage occupiers directly, a property manager is often involved in the process through consulting and facilitating discussions. A property manager may, for example:
The Requirements Brief should cover the whole project life-cycle and be developed as early as possible. It serves as reference document at key project stages and will evolve to become more refined and detailed through the course of the fit-out project.
A clear, concise Requirements Brief, that develops over time can:
Design review and sign-off
The processes linked to setting, agreeing and monitoring the design and specification are pivotal to the delivery of sustainable fit-outs.
Asset managers play a key role in design and delivery by ensuring that there is a review and sign-off process in place at each stage. While in some instances, a building surveyor, with M&E support, may be contracted to undertake the review, this responsibility can also be delegated to a property manager.
This review involves checking the lease arrangements and confirming that the design confirms to these requirements and how the building operates. Sustainability should run as a thread throughout this process. This will help to:
It is important that the requirements agreed within design and delivery are embedded during the various phases of works.
An asset manager continues to play a key role during this stage, by ensuring there is a review process in place at each stage. In instances where an asset manager decides to engage a property manager to undertake these reviews, the property manager will establish and implement arrangements to check that sustainably is been incorporated, as intended, within the following phases:
Following Design Sign-off, the fit-out can enter the next major project phase where construction works commence on-site. Key objectives at this stage are to:
A commissioning process will typically involve the testing of key systems, for example, HVAC, controls, lighting, security, fire and water distribution systems. Successful commissioning ensures that these systems operate in an efficient and integrated way, providing a comfortable, safe and secure indoor environment. This is a particularly important for fit-out projects where there is integration required between systems belonging to the asset manager and the occupier respectively.
Part L of the Building Regulations also requires that all controlled services that falling within the scope of the regulations are commissioned. Systems that are not commissioned properly can operate inefficiently, and the desired Occupier Benefits will be at risk. This can have a direct impact on occupant satisfaction and productivity.
Completion and handover
Confirming the works as complete and fit for occupation should involve all key stakeholders. It is important that this includes confirmation that sustainability requirements have been met, for example, features included and commissioned, and construction measures evidenced, will be part of the wider review of completed quality against the scope of works.
The handover stage is also critical in ensuring that property and facilities managers and occupiers, fully understand the sustainability features of the space, and receive training to ensure they are sufficiently equipped to manage and operate the space effectively.
The following Guidance Notes contain related information: