Building Management Gap Analysis

Lucy Carew-Reid

Ironbark have been keeping our ear to the ground on how various councils integrate sustainability into day-to-day renewal and capital works for council owned buildings. Here’s an update on current trends, winning formulas and key gaps.

There are four main categories of Council-owned facility activities where sustainability needs to be considered: 

  1. Projects that involve a design professional (designed projects);
  2. End-of-life replacement of plant and equipment (maintenance);
  3. Dedicated sustainability projects; 
  4. Facility management.

Trends

Many council staff are becoming well versed in the plethora of environmental performance tools available for helping councils improve the sustainability of their new and existing buildings. As a result, many councils are developing sustainable building policies or strategies that formalise some environmental performance standards for their buildings to achieve.

Most councils are relying on externally provided tools to assess new building designs or refurbishments (e.g. Green Star and the Sustainable Design Scorecard).  Many councils are developing their own inhouse tools to provide guidelines on building equipment replacement and minor upgrades.

Many councils have already implemented the "low hanging fruit" actions at their top energy consuming sites (or at the very least have a dedicated plan in place) and are looking for other ways to improve their building stock.

The Key to Success

Councils who are achieving sustainable buildings appear to have some or all of the following factors: 

  • Executive or councillor support for environmental performance standards;
  • Enthusiasm for sustainability by all key building staff (capital works, maintenance, sustainability and facilities management staff);
  • Staff training and easy-to-use tools to ensure environmental standards are practised on the ground by staff and contractors;
  • A staff member or external consultant who can play a sustainability advisory role to all stakeholders and continually assist and assess compliance of standards. 

Gaps

In Ironbark’s experience, many councils:

  • Don’t dedicate enough resources to implementing and ensuring compliance to environmental performance standards (i.e. see many of the ‘winning formula’ items above);
  • Limit their focus on new buildings and neglect the maintenance and management of existing buildings;
  • Allow for too long a lag time between building audits and implementing audit recommendations;
  • Have no green leasing agreements for the large number of rented facilities;
  • Don’t have a way to benchmark their smaller existing facilities;
  • Don’t have sustainable equipment replacement guidelines or specifications for maintenance and building design contractors;
  • Find it difficult to obtain energy and water data and therefore can’t track progress.

Where to start

A simple $2,000 gap analysis is the first step to identifying sustainable building management opportunities at your council. Contact Ironbark for more information or if you want to organise a building management gap analysis for your council.