Commercial complexes’ opex may rise 20% to meet safety norms

MUMBAI: Catering to additional health and safety requirements of employees after the Covid-19 outbreak is likely to push the operational expenditures of commercial complexes’ by at least 20%, several industry experts told ET. As companies start chalking out plans to resume their operations in a staggered manner post lockdown relaxation, […]

MUMBAI: Catering to additional health and safety requirements of employees after the Covid-19 outbreak is likely to push the operational expenditures of commercial complexes’ by at least 20%, several industry experts told ET.

As companies start chalking out plans to resume their operations in a staggered manner post lockdown relaxation, they will have to undertake several health, safety and wellness measures to go back to business-as-usual activities.

Based on the discussions with their tenants, large business parks are enforcing new protocols, providing protection through hygiene solutions, controlling access to manage workplace density, and changing commuting scheme to plan for re-entry.

“The enhanced Covid-19 protocols encompass several measures related to health and safety for all facility management teams, security protocols, thermal scanners, deep sanitisation–of all common areas… In the short term, this could spike the CAM (common area maintenance) costs between 20-25%,” said Vinod Rohira, MD & CEO, Mindspace Business Parks.

According to Rohira, keeping employees healthy and safe is their single point agenda.

For now, the business parks are absorbing these costs, but the discussions on how to distribute these additional costs are likely to start soon between the companies and landlords.

“Certainly, the property and facility management costs will go up. Both landlords and tenants need to share these additional costs and there cannot be a disconnect between them on this matter as employees’ and building users’ safety will be of paramount importance to the companies,” said Shishir Baijal, CMD, Knight Frank India.

The business park owners are working closely with their global clients who have been recommending multiple measures such as screening at entrance to reduce risk of infected people coming in, more common areas, larger office spaces to ensure social distancing, availability of sanitisers and personal protective equipment.

Apart from increase in hygiene, operators will have to ensure that cafeterias and break out zones have new layouts to prevent larger congregations, they may have to redesign and fit out new areas and use technology more to better track people.

According to industry experts, an incremental cost towards an improved and safer working environment to boost employees’ confidence will be advantageous for both the parties in terms of business continuity.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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