A new portfolio-based application for the BOMA BESt environmental management and benchmarking system is expected to reach more light industrial and open-air retail properties. The program introduces centralized verification that will allow owners/managers to certify multiple properties with fees apportioned on a square-foot basis across the portfolio.
“The cost is equalized for properties, regardless of size,” explains John Smiciklas, director, energy and environment with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada. “BOMA members will have the ability to add or remove buildings within the portfolio due to changes in ownership or management company.”
Nearly 200 light industrial and open-air retail buildings were BOMA BESt-certified in 2013, accounting for about 28 per cent of the year’s total certifications. These were predominantly at Level 1, which recognizes policies and practices, but does not measure or plot results.
While BOMA BESt has traditionally required third-party verification of submitted information for each participating building, the new program will leave it largely to portfolio managers to ensure that all buildings match what has been reported. Verifiers will examine portfolio-wide documentation and conduct an annual on-site sampling verification program according to the requirements of the ISO 17021 standard for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems.
”Even though the verifier is not going to each and every site, every building participating in the portfolio program has to be 100 per cent in compliance, and has to be prepared for a verifier,” says Nada Sutic, director of property management with Bentall Kennedy (Canada), one of the BOMA-member stakeholders consulted in the development of the new program. “We were also adamant that the penalties for non-compliance in the portfolio are significant.”
About one-third of Bentall Kennedy’s industrial portfolio is already certified, but Sutic predicts the lower costs of the new program will draw more participants. “For an industrial tenant, every penny matters,” she observes.
Meanwhile, from a manager’s perspective, the program could provide a consistent, structured framework for environmental monitoring across the portfolio. “It gives us a new mechanism for internally assuring that these things are happening,” Sutic affirms.
The portfolio program is the second BOMA BESt innovation in recent months following the launch of a new module for health care facilities in August. That added a sixth asset class to the program along with the existing modules for offices, enclosed shopping malls, multi-unit residential buildings, light industrial and open-air retail.
“One of the key objectives of the BOMA BESt program is to raise the environmental performance of every existing commercial building in Canada,” Smiciklas says. “The new program reinforces that key message of BOMA BESt to be affordable, accessible and accountable.”