Facilities & Office Managers… Why We Might Be Your Perfect Match


Crystal Clear Compliance Blog March -2021
By Lucy Walsh

In the spirit of information sharing and understanding, we’d like to show you how we can make your lives easier if you’re working as a Facilities Manager or an Office Manager. Quite simply we will:
• take jobs off your to-do list
• reduce the risks associated with non-compliance
• be a dedicated, qualified support when you need us, without the ongoing payroll when you don’t.

How A Health and Safety Consultant Can Support Your Facilities Management.

We’ve got some amazing clients and today we’d like to introduce you to one of them; Auxillis – providing support when you’ve had a road traffic accident.
For over four years, we’ve supported the work of Auxillis’ Property and Facilities Manager – responsible for the Head Office in the South West, Call Centre in the North East and 25 vehicle storage and preparation units throughout mainland Britain. We interviewed him about his role a little while back, hoping to find out how our work has supported him.

What does your role look like from one day to the next?

There is no such thing as an average day in Facilities Management, that’s what makes it so interesting and challenging. With Facilities Management, you need to have a good general understanding of a huge range of disciplines – one day you may be working on a tender for cleaning or vending, the next looking at a fault with a technical piece of kit, an office move or major refurbishment, next there may be a complex health and safety issue to resolve. Health and Safety often sits within the remit of the Facilities Manager because of the links to the building and equipment etc.
We can’t be expert in all disciplines, so a good Facilities Manager needs to have a broad knowledge in many aspects but will not necessarily have detailed expertise and therefore needs to rely on subject matter experts from time to time.
This is why we outsource, to ‘buy in’ expert advice when we need it without the overhead of an employee.
In some areas of our business, for example, we use air compressors – I’m aware that some types require more detailed regular examination and might therefore need a more detailed risk assessment – I don’t, however, carry the calculation round with me. I know where to go and check and, if there is any doubt, I consult a Health and Safety expert such as Lucy at Crystal Clear Compliance. The same would be true for training in specific areas like Fire Warden, Evac Chair Training or Asbestos Surveys.

What first made you realise you could benefit from outsourced help with your Health and Safety?

The issue with Health and Safety is that it’s a constantly moving feast. Regulations change, so you need to have a subject matter expert who is keeping up with training and latest trends. That can be difficult in a ‘low risk’ organisation, it’s seen as an overhead that isn’t necessarily required all of the time.
By outsourcing you have the ability to turn the resource off and on when needed without the permanent head.

Can you remember why you chose Crystal Clear Compliance to support you? And why you’ve continued that relationship with us?

It was clear we needed somebody with practical experience of the ground floor work environment, happy to get alongside the front-line teams and who would understand ‘what really happens in the day to day’.
But we also needed somebody who was equally accepted in the board room, when presenting their findings or recommendations. Someone keen, able to spend time understanding the issues at a detailed level and then provide cost-effective and practical solutions.
Most importantly we needed somebody who was in it for the long term.
Sometimes, with larger consultancies, you don’t always have the same person on your account, so you run the risk of inconsistency of approach, leading to confusion and a watering down of the message.

At Crystal Clear Compliance, we believe that having a fresh pair of eyes in your business can provide useful insights, has this been your experience?

The best example of this is that we initially engaged Crystal Clear Compliance to assist with Fire Risk Assessments, but once Lucy had attended site, she identified that we also needed assistance with our Water Risk Assessments and Asbestos Management with surveys and sampling in some areas.
By using her skills, we were able to ‘bundle’ these three areas into one, reducing time spent on site, reducing costs and producing one consistent style of approach and report.

We aim to become part of your team, getting to know your business well enough that we can take on responsibility for any areas of Health and Safety you’d rather not have to manage and dealing with any potential concerns before they become an issue. Is this something you think has been a help to you?

We were in the process of a new move for one of our locations, but in order to move we required a number of things to be completed prior to the occupation of the building; things like drawing up floor plans, managing CDM plans and contractors, overseeing various sub-contractors, dealing with their risk assessments and managing the full delivery, unloading and install of various portable office buildings and wash bay units. The precise planning of locations for the wash bay in terms of fire routes, staff routes and the unloading and install of these items was all part of the service that Crystal Clear Compliance were able to assist us with, even providing full detailed welcome packs for day one when staff arrived with all the information they needed.
We had a similar project with the delivery of new boiler units to our head office in Bath. This involved various sub-contractors, cranes and lifting of equipment while still operating a fully occupied site. Crystal Clear Compliance took care of checking all the equipment, risk assessments and training certification for this, inducted all the contractors to the site and worked to ensure the delivery and install was completed in a safe manner.

Which particular elements of your role have you found it most useful to be able to pass onto our team?

The ability to use you as a seamless extension of the team, you are willing to own a problem, call a stakeholder directly and resolve without the need for further input from me.
You also identify areas that need our attention from your risk assessments and offer solutions to resolve these. An example is electrical 5-year testing, it was highlighted on our Fire Risk Assessments that many of our sites required these or remedial works followed up on. We were unhappy with the way these had been completed and handled in the past and you said you could manage this process for us offering a solution which was excellent; another area we were able to pass on for your management.

Are there any stories or incidents which for you sum up why it’s been important to have our support?

I think the standout from the day-to-day successes are where we have jointly attended potentially tricky meetings with landlords or agents. Lucy has been able to provide a more ‘independent’ viewpoint, almost mediating, but maintaining the clients’ interests.
Also, when we asked Crystal Clear Compliance to visit a site to complete an annual review of the Fire, Water and Asbestos – we had provided previous copies of assessments and surveys to review before arrival and within 10 minutes of being on site Lucy identified an asbestos roof. The survey and details held on site were incorrect and did not relate to the site in terms of asbestos. A new survey was required and a management plan drawn up.

Taking Health and Safety risks away from your Facilities Management team
We hope this has helped you understand some of the ways a Health and Safety consultant could help your Facilities or Office Manager. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please do get in touch with us by emailing Lucy at info@crystalclearcompliance.co.uk

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