Ask the Expert: Legislation & PPM’s

By Stephen Dunn, Compliance Director, Commercial Maintenance Services UK Ltd

Should compliance with relevant legislation be integral within all PPM operations and procedures?

The simple answer is ‘yes’ but the reasons are multi-layered and have an impact upon both the premises and the owner or responsible person.

Much of the legislation or guidance covering PPM operations is classified as secondary legislation, falling within the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 – which is far reaching and cannot be delegated.

Any breaches can not only have a financial impact but can also result in custodial sentences and a career-ending criminal record. The resulting damage to a business can be highly damaging, particularly to its reputation.

Latest HSE statistics for October 2018 to October 2019 reveal that £54.5m in fines were issued against duty holders found guilty of regulation breaches – with 12% receiving a custodial sentence (3% immediate and 9% suspended).

The Sentencing Council’s guidelines were changed in February 2016 to focus on ‘risk’ rather than actual ‘outcome’ in the determination of sentence, so it really is important to reduce culpability.

I believe this will become extremely prevalent in the post-Grenfell landscape as both government and the public are less forgiving of any corporate penny pinching.

The other important reason for integrating compliance to relevant standards as part of PPM, is that it encompasses the latest building services best practice.

Incorporating such best practice will reduce building running costs, increase the reliability of fixtures, fittings and appliances and reduce carbon emissions.