Organisations of all types face a world of increasing threats, both physical and virtual. These organisations have a responsibility to their stakeholders to minimise the associated risks.
According to Richard Ham, CEO and founder of software firm FM Clarity, current approaches to compliance are doing the exact opposite and are unnecessarily increasing the risk for buildings. Currently, organisations are subject to an increasing number of building compliance obligations, which vary depending on the type of business, building, and age of construction.
“It is not simply essential safety measures, e.g. fire, exit and egress, but also work health and safety, energy management, disability access, etc.” Ham said. “Often, just achieving compliance can be a long and drawn-out process, particularly for older buildings. However, it is vital for stakeholders to exercise due diligence to avoid exposing their organisation to undue risk in both physical consequence and potential legal ramifications.”
While most legislation, such AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management–Principles and Guidelines, does not demand immediate compliance from building owners and managers, it’s wise to have a management system in place and to actively strive for compliance.
“Generally, all organisations are aware of the business drivers related to compliance,” Ham said. “But many are unsure of the process or don’t have the budget or manpower to manage it effectively.”
Rather than managing compliance in a proactive fashion in an effort to minimise risks before the fact, Ham said, many efforts are undertaken only with the benefit of hindsight – when they are undertaken at all.
“I have seen a lot of organisations flying somewhat by the seat of their pants, managing activities by spreadsheet or by exception and hoping everything goes ok, until serious turbulence hits,” he said.
Executives are in the dark about risk
Historically, Ham noted, facilities departments have not had much of a voice directly to C-suite, which leaves executives in the dark as to many of the risks they face.
Risks are substantial for firms that fail to proactively manage building compliance. For instance, beyond the harm that could befall occupants, if a building caught fire and it was found that the owner was not exercising due diligence, that owner could face legal and financial repercussions, not to mention damage to their reputation.
Overall, the building owner and manager are responsible for diligence in minimising risk.
“Ultimately, it comes back to whether the manager is doing his job effectively and proactively managing risk and compliance. This can be the difference between a safe and successful organisation, and one that goes bankrupt,” Ham said.
Security managers as well as facilities managers and building owners can explore risk, compliance and organisational resilience further at the 2017 ASIAL Conference featuring local and international experts.
Kerran Campbell, Adjunct Associate Professor (Security Science) Edith Cowan University, is also running an in-depth Executive Briefing on Designing “Secure” Buildings with a focus on current and future practices.
Kerran has practiced in the field of professional security consulting specialising in high security facilities including aviation, custodial and facilities counter terrorism design. He has also been involved in a large number of diverse projects in the building services field spanning from high rise office facilities, hospitals, hotels, residential complexes.
Story credit: Sourceable
About the author: Steve Hansen
With a passion for design and the built environment, Steve covers architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscape architecture for Sourceable. Steve’s background includes nearly two decades in corporate marketing and communications, industry publications, and landscape design.