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Covid-19 and its effect on facilities management

Published: 15/10/2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for the facilities management sector.

The lock down closed many workplaces reducing the requirement for all but essential maintenance, However, during the lockdown many FM departments were supplying equipment and advice to staff working from home.

As workplaces prepared to reopen there was a requirement make the buildings Covid-19 safe, with demand for screens, hand cleansing stations, etc.

Cleaning has been similarly affected. While empty buildings did not required the same, if any cleaning, when they were not in use, as buildings reopened there was a need for an initial deep-cleaning and for more regular and stringent cleaning measures once staff returned.

Once buildings are fully reopened the FM costs are likely to be higher with greater requirements to monitor visitors and staff behaviour as well as maintain the hand cleansing and more regular and more thorough cleaning.

However, the demand for office space is likely to be reduced even when the pandemic has passed so the effect on the overall demand, and therefore, prices for maintenance and cleaning is difficult to predict. This is further confused by the possible impact of reduced staff available from the European Union once Brexit becomes final in January 2021.

For major maintenance and refurbishment works it is more likely that prices will rise as there will be reduced productivity resulting from the implementation of the new Site Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the UK Construction Leadership Council.

Surveys carried out by BCIS suggest that site productivity fell to 60% of pre lockdown levels in May but has since risen to over 85%. This together with the real costs of welfare facilities, transport and lengthened programmes should be reflected in increased prices. However, in the short term these seem to be offset by commercial consideration.

BCIS forecast for the FM sector (maintenance, cleaning and energy) is published in BCIS OpX


An estimating expenditure tool which helps facility managers and surveyors find maintenance and operating costs. It includes component costs, maintenance costs, wages and day rates

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