February 14, 2022
A new framework from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has been designed to improve building use, support flexible working and put people at the heart of decision making about commercial property. RICS says the International Building Operation Standard will provide organisations an interactive easy-to-use framework, supported by an assessment tool, to measure and benchmark building performance, by collecting consistent data to satisfy the latest needs of occupiers, investors, advisors and end users.
As COVID turned how we interact with commercial property on its head, and people look to return to work, International Building Operation Standard or IBOS is set to support organisations in attracting people back to the workplace, by delivering confidence for end users that the building they’re in is supporting their wellness, and benchmarking success against driving down the commercial sector’s carbon footprint.
The standard, which is supported by commercial and public sector organisation as well as service providers and existing certifications such as WELL and Wired, is the first of its kind globally to deliver a consistent approach to help organisations assess and improve their building’s performance in such a broad way. It will provide data on buildings with people at the centre of future decision making and help embed ESG into real estate strategy.
Many organisations already monitor their properties’ performance, including how sustainable a building is. But according to respondents to the RICS Global Commercial Property Monitor, only 67 percent of respondents believe that there are currently techniques and practices in place to measure the environmental impact of buildings, and those that are in place, need further development.
Also, while there is plenty of research on how people and buildings interact, data from the same survey shows 85 percent of respondents are seeing a rising demand for more flexible workspaces. As property use changes, and the importance of a healthy work-life balance increases, there is a growing gap for measuring how a building impacts people’s wellbeing and how to attract people back to the workplace, where it is beneficial.
IBOS can be applied irrespective of the type of property or its location. It provides a clear definition of the data organisations need to capture to create consistency in building operations and benchmarks services to determine the level of performance across five pillars.
The five pillars look at a number of elements, but importantly people’s wellbeing, the social impact of the building, the flexibility of the building, lifecycle costs, and temperature, air quality and health and safety. These areas are defined under the categories of Compliant, Functional, Economic, Sustainable, Performing.
“The way buildings are used is changing,” says Paul Bagust, Head of Land and Property Standards at RICS. “Environmental concerns have come to the fore; attitudes to health and wellbeing are evolving rapidly; expectations of the workplace are far more sophisticated. We must take a broader approach to decision making in the way we use property. IBOS will address how organisations work with their buildings by creating consistency on cost elements for workspace, people and technology to optimise the value for all concerned.”
The standard will be supported by a free self-assessment tool in the first half of 2022, which allows firms and organisations to understand how their building is currently performing, providing simple results which will help influence future business decisions.