PFI performance

Certification company SGS explains how it awarded ISO 14001 to government buildings being run by a PFI consortium in London

In December 2004 certification company SGS awarded ISO 14001 to Exchequer Partnership, the Private Finance Initiative consortium that refurbished and now manages HM Treasury. The Treasury is based in the western half of the Government Offices Great George Street at 1 Horse Guards Road in central London. “We know how much hard work is involved in ISO 14001 environmental performance certification, so congratulate Exchequer Partnership on its achievement,” says David Glenister, client manager and lead auditor at SGS.

“We’re delighted that our Treasury Building PFI operation has achieved ISO 14001 status,” says Paul Lewis, managing director of Exchequer Partnership and director of Stanhope. “It’s a credit to everyone concerned.”

Refurbishment, maintenance and management

In May 2000, HM Treasury signed a 37-year PFI deal with Exchequer Partnership – a consortium comprising construction company Bovis Lend Lease and developer Stanhope – to refurbish, maintain and manage HM Treasury. PFI enabled the government to take advantage of private sector innovation and the transfer of key risks. These include obtaining planning permission and accepting structural risks and latent defects in a building almost 100 years old.

Exchequer Partnership extensively refurbished the Grade II* listed building, completing the work in July 2002, a month ahead of schedule, within budget and in line with the Greening Government initiative. The refurbishment delivered many energy conservation and environmental benefits and has greatly improved working conditions for around 1,200 Treasury and contract staff.

ISO 14001 certification

The government promotes the implementation of recognised Environmental Management Systems because they help to reduce costs and environmental risks, and ensure compliance with environmental legislation. Several government departments have introduced an EMS and gained ISO 14001 certification.

“ISO 14001 certification involves some extremely thorough audits and a lot of work all round,” says Karan Mangroo, operations director at Exchequer Partnership. “We’re responsible for maintaining the Treasury Building for 35 years from 2002, so our system covers everything that has an impact on the environment. Evidence of actions taken must also be shown throughout the process, in areas such as recycling, waste management and utilities monitoring.”

SGS’ role

“We took eight days to audit Exchequer Partnership,” says David Glenister of SGS. “This involved numerous face-to-face interviews and a close examination of operations, processes and plans. The auditing took a long time because we were dealing with a large building, which houses many activities, together with the greater complexities of a consortium.

“ISO 14001 involves looking at a wide range of issues, such as various types of pollution, and the controls an organisation has in place to deal with and reduce them. Typically we look at things such as measures to eliminate paper-based systems, energy conservation and measures to reduce the use of chemicals in areas like cleaning.”

In its audit of Exchequer Partnership, SGS examined the full range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ facilities management systems and services. The former includes building maintenance, air conditioning, power, and hot and cold water; and the latter includes reception, security, post room and catering. “ISO 14001 doesn’t stop with certification,” says Glenister. “It’s an ongoing process rather than a one-off event. We’ll continue to carry out periodic surveillance and will go through the re-certification procedure every three years.”

One Parliament Street and the next step

Now that it has attained ISO 14001 certification in the western half of the offices, Exchequer Partnership will seek certification for the eastern half in June 2005. This part of the buildings, at 1 Parliament Street, accommodates 1,575 Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise staff. The two organisations are being merged to create a new department, HM Revenue and Customs.

John Spanswick, chairman and chief executive of Bovis Lend Lease says: “Refurbishing any building can present its challenges; when it’s a listed building, only yards from Downing Street and very much in the public eye, those challenges take on new dimensions.”

HM Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue will pay Exchequer Partnership £17.1 million/year during its 33-year lease. This comprises £4.2 million for services and maintenance, and £12.9 million capital costs. As with the original Treasury PFI contract, Exchequer Partnership will provide a full range of hard and soft facilities management services. These include maintaining plant and machinery, building management and cleaning.

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