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Biggest Challenges in Asset and Estate Management

Ahead of the Smart Asset & Estate Management Conference on 8th December, we are speaking with our expert speakers to find out their thoughts on the current issues that are affecting the sector.

In this blog, we asked our speakers "What do you think the biggest challenges are in asset and estate management?"

G22SMART - Tim Warneford


Tim Warneford, Director of Warneford Consulting 

"The biggest challenge in academy school estate management comes from the extent of the compliance and condition issues that the sector faces.

Despite an annual investment of over £2 billion for capital works, the backlog funding outstrips our ability to stay ahead of the curve and the most recent DfE estimate is that we require circa £13 billion to bring our estate up to good condition. Thus, every pound invested needs to have a good return and without accurate, contemporary and costed survey data, the risk is that funds do not go where they should go."

G22SMART - ExProm Icons (8)Michael O’Doherty, Project Director at Local Partnerships

"Biggest challenges for public sector asset and estate management relate to:

  • Uncertainty in the property market and wider economy, exacerbated by rising interest rates.
  • Post covid uncertainty about future office space requirements vis a vis growth in home/ hybrid working.
  • Further anticipated public sector spending cuts and efficiencies
  • Retrofit and decarbonisation of buildings in line with net zero targets.
  • Risks in relation to commercial (income generating) investments"

G22SMART - ExProm Icons (15)Mark Duddy, Deputy Director Regions at Government Property Agency

"The nature of work has rapidly evolved! The pandemic lockdowns broke the old concept of the workplace and made remote and flexible working mainstream and acceptable. Previous leadership styles have relaxed in favour of greater trust and the improved security restrictions are enabling public sector employees more flexibility in where they work.

Faced with unpredictable daily commutes and the higher cost of living, many people are seeking a better work-life balance. Being in control of their working day is one of those opportunities employees are grasping with both hands. But is this a passing trend or is this here to stay?

The Government Property Agency (GPA) creates great places to work for the UK’s civil servants. It supports the Government's Property Strategy by creating a transformed, shared, sustainable and value for money government office estate. This includes improvements in productivity, interoperability, inclusivity, sustainability and Net Zero, as well as supporting the transformation of the UK’s public services."

Read Mark's full blog here.

G22SMART - ExProm Icons (16)Simon Pettett, Assistant Director of Programmes at Salix Finance

"One of the biggest challenges in estate management in the public sector currently is gathering accurate data. Without a good understanding the carbon footprint of each building it is extremely difficult to put together a meaningful strategy or decarbonisation plan to reduce this. Organisations need to understand where the largest inefficiencies are and where the largest opportunities are to decarbonise their estate and remove the use of fossil fuels where possible. Especially at a time where we have soaring energy prices, understanding where savings can be made in financial and carbon terms is of paramount importance. Next are the financial and operational challenges associated with implementing the decarbonisation strategy."

G22SMART - ExProm Icons (17)Colin Cassé, Estates and Locations Director at HMRC

"At HMRC we have a bit of a unique challenge in that we are a significant way through our journey leading on the delivery of the Government Hubs Programme (Phase One) having delivered 12 no. new great places to work, most of which landed during COVID. So, the challenge has been bringing all these new buildings into operation but not necessarily in the way they were initially designed. During COVID there was a lower occupation of the offices with mainly critical staff on site which did not provide a real chance to test the new buildings in ‘anger’ – the way they are designed. Now with a far higher occupation, including a lot of other Government departments now also housed in the hubs, there is the chance to start fine tuning systems, understanding where items are not working quite as expected, rectifying defects (where this has been established as the case) and generally looking at the processes put in place for maintaining and running the new modern facilities. This also includes learning between the buildings. They are great new places to work…the challenge is about making them even better and more efficient."

Join us for this year’s Smart Asset & Estate Management Conference on December 8th  2022 at the QEII Centre in London.  Smart 2022 is the ideal place for all public sector property professionals to get the latest policy updates and discover new initiatives around estate management, sustainable buildings, smarter working and the technology that enables them.

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