JLL Breaks Down the Compliance Conundrum

JLL's new report details how a facilities management partner can help achieve compliance goals and manage risk.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Maureen Ehrenberg, international director of JLL's global integrated facilities management sector
Maureen Ehrenberg, international director of JLL’s global integrated facilities management sector

JLL is putting the spotlight on an issue that’s moving higher on the radar of the commercial real estate industry: facilities management compliance. The commercial real estate services firm has released research, The Complexity of Compliance, offering a seven-point playbook for navigating the matter.

JLL cites a recent survey in which more than two-thirds of participants listed compliance as a high priority–and it appears a retreat from this sentiment is anything but likely. “Transparency, compliance and risk management will remain a high priority on the corporate agenda. Globalization and consolidation further drive the need for improved compliance and standards,” Maureen Ehrenberg, international director of JLL’s global Integrated Facilities Management business, told Commercial Property Executive.

Staying on top of facilities management compliance is no simple task; however, JLL has a road map for companies tackling the multi-faceted compliance issue:

  • A facility management service provider should adhere to ethical behavior across the board, not just to avoid any legal consequences, but to preserve a company’s reputation as well.
  • Workplace safety is of the utmost importance, and following environmental health and safety policies and procedures is a good means of minimizing risk.
  • Vendor and financial management are of great significance especially for companies outsourcing facilities management responsibilities. Internal financial controls and management should be firmly in place for service providers and their contractors for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and ethics compliance. Sticking to procurement and vendor management policies without deviation can help mitigate risk.
  • Labor management should be kept at the forefront as well, with strict compliance extending to both internal and third-party facilities managers.
  • Security, security and more security. Any company can be the victim of a data breach, which is why strong physical and virtual security are a must for protecting corporate data assets within the company and in the hands of external service providers.
  • Be fully compliant and let it show. Facilities managers should standardize compliance-related data so when regulatory agencies come a-calling, the necessary information is clear, accurate and readily available.
  • Keep an eye on contractual risks, as a breach of contract–big or small–could snowball into a set of serious consequences.

Outsourcing can be an answer for companies taking on facilities management compliance, particularly when consequences of non-compliance arise. “If the business has been incurring facilities-related additional costs for unplanned incidents or claims, penalties and fines, or is cited for a lack of transparent or noncompliant activities related to its facilities activities, outsourcing becomes a viable option for rapid change and transformation,” Ehrenberg said. “New, proven technology, expertise, process re-engineering, risk shifting and scale are many reasons that a company looks to potentially outsource. An outsourced service partner can help it to help rapidly change, become complaint, shift risk and improve its facilities management operations and results.”

However, the importance of some level of in-house compliance oversight cannot be discounted; internal and external management are not mutually exclusive. As Ehrenberg added, “The need for an internal compliance function will remain, to some extent, but outsourcing certainly provides a hedge and quality and cost assurance factors will most likely result in firms and industries exploring the benefits of facilities management outsourcing.”

Whether a company relies on internal staff, third-party providers or (preferably) both for the handling of facilities management compliance, it’s all about a means to an end. “To the extent that the facilities management business of a company or organization is managed effectively and efficiently, and the information and results related to this are readily accessible, available and viewed as compliant and sustainable for the business, it will be meeting expectations,” Ehrenberg concluded.