Canteens, personal protective equipment and staff mobility: How tenant needs have changed in 2020

Principal needs of business centre tenants in Moscow have changed radically in the COVID-19 environment, requiring new approaches by leading property management companies such as O1 Standard.  

Natalia Skachkova, Commercial Director of O1 Standard, told the Business CentreManagementconference(held in Moscow by the Academy of Real Estate and PROEstate Events with the support of the Russian Guild of Property Managers and Developers) about the new demands of tenants and what steps management companies must take to meet tenant needs.

Preventive measures by tenants against the spread of the coronavirus infection caused attendance at business centres managed by O1 Standard to drop by 75-80% after March 2020. There was a slight recovery in the summer when the self-isolation regime came to an end, but attendance has gone back to low levels after tight restrictions were reintroduced in Moscow this autumn.

Fewer staff in offices should mean reduction in demand for services provided by management companies. But large and medium-sized companies (most of O1 Standard’s customers) need to strike a balance between cost savings (reduced property services) and the need to maintain comfort and safety for staff who remain in the office.

The challenge for management companies is to redistribute services provided under contract in favour of services that are most relevant in the COVID environment, primarily regular preventive measures and additional disinfections when necessary.

Tenants expect management companies to provide personal protective equipment(masks, gloves, etc.)and COVID-19tests. Also shortage of manual workers, caused by the ban on labor migration during the pandemic, means that tenants who previously used outside firms to serve their offices are now calling on the building management company to meet needs, particularly when a task requires prompt solution at night and weekends.

Much lower traffic has not reduced tenant demand for diverse and high-quality infrastructure, particularly catering. Cafés and restaurants in business centres are largely oriented to external traffic and also use delivery options, but canteens, which serve internal traffic, are critically underused in the current situation. O1 Standardis therefore negotiating an arrangement where one canteen will serve tenant staff of two or more business centres located in close proximity in order to ensure that canteen services remain available.

O1 Standard managing 12 BREEAM-approved sites after new certifications

The Bolshevik and Avrora business centres, both managed by O1 Standard, have been certified compliant with the BREEAM environmental performance system (BREEAM In-Use).

Both buildings were rated as “Very Good” in Part 1of the assessment, which evaluates building performance and land use, and as “Excellent” in Part 2, which evaluates building management. The assessments mean that 12 sites managed by O1 Standard now have internationally recognized environmental certificates. The company CBRE acted as certification consultant at the Bolshevik and Avrora business centres. Anna Minakova, sustainability project manager at CBRE, was the appraiser.

The Bolshevik business and cultural centre received the highest scores in four categories in Part 1 of the certification(Waste, Land Use& Ecology, Transport and Energy). Bolshevik achieved highest scores in Part 2 for Land Use& Ecology, Management and Water.

The Bolshevik complex is located at the start of Leningradsky Prospect in one of Moscow’s principal business districts. Its buildings include a business centre, residential apartments, a museum and an atrium with retail zone. Belorusskaya metro station and Belorussky railway station are within easy walking distance, and the district has well-established business and retail infrastructure.

The Bolshevik complex (renamed after the 1917 revolution) was originally built at the end of the 19th century as the A. Siou and Co.confectionery factory to an innovative design by the French architect Oscar Didio. Three of its buildings are cultural heritage sites. Confectionary production was moved outside the capital in 2012, and O1 Properties carried out major renovation and adaptation. All of the historic buildings have been carefully restored, and the complex has been fully equipped with modern engineering and technical solutions. The extensive outdoor space (over 5 hectares) has been landscaped and opened to the public for recreation use and pedestrian transit between Leningradsky Prospect and Skakovaya Street.

The Avrora business park won highest scores in Part 1 of the BREEAM-In-Use assessment in the following four categories: Waste, Health & Wellbeing, Transport and Land Use& Ecology. The highest scores in Part 2 were for Land Use& Ecology, Health & Wellbeing, and Water.

Avrora is located on Balchug Island, in the heart of Moscow, opposite the Moscow International House of Music. Paveletskaya metro station and Paveletsky railway station(with an Aeroexpress service to Domodedovo airport) are five minutes walk away.

The following aspects were commended by the appraiser in Part 1 of the BREEAM-In-Use certifications at the Bolshevik and Avrora centres: separate waste collection; zonal temperature regulation and air supply to shared-used areas; cleansing of oil traces from storm water; provision of infrastructure and recreational areas for tenants.

In Part 2, the appraiser highlighted proactive property management, design and application of environmental policy, and transparency in the provision of information to tenants.

O1 Standard Management Company is a strategic partner of O1 Properties. The Company operates and manages office properties to the best environmental performance standards in order to reduce harmful impact on the environment, implementing and maintaining engineering systems that reduce the consumption of natural resources and carbon footprint. Priority is given to environmentally responsible practices, including separate collection and sorting of useful waste.

O1 Standard carries out voluntary certification of facilities in accordance with the British environmental performance system, BREEAM. The system evaluates building management systems, work by owner and manager to ensure a comfortable and productive environment for tenants, and the impact of buildings on local communities.

Environmental targeting in office building management ensures that people spend their working day in conditions that favor health and wellbeing. O1 Standard pays special attention to maintaining air quality, ideal temperature, and acoustic and visual comfort. Recreation areas are provided at all Company sites, as well as green outdoor areas (where sites allow).