RICS guide will help green offices. Photo: Bendigo Bank building, Bendigo

By Tina Perinotto

We all know that throwing away the partitions, carpets, furniture and sometimes even the stairwell that’s been punched through to the next floor in office building at the end of each lease is a big waste of resources. Hard to believe it happens.  But it’s all part of the Make Good clauses in a commercial lease, that force the tenant to return the premises fairly closely to the condition they were at the start of the lease.

This might even mean removing an energy efficient piece of equipment so that the tenancy matches the rest of the building, old and inefficient as it might be.

Now the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has produced a document designed to avoid such waste.

Entitled Greening Make Good, the document is a companion piece to a new guide for green leases, a Guide to Environmental Performance Clauses. (Contact Info@rics.org.au for information about the guides.)

Both reports have been produced by RIC’s sustainability committee, comprising chair John Goddard of  J Goddard & Co and , Judith Knott  of JCK Consulting Pty Ltd, Melinda Graham of  Thomson Playford Cutlers, Tony D’Agostino of Herbert Geer and Simon Harrison of Herbert Geer. Nick Penny from Intensive Care Property Solutions has also been acknowledged for his input on the concept of a Make Good Deed.

According to the Greening Make Good guide, the problem is the desire to maximise returns from the tenant at the end of the lease, by the landlord or agent and consultants.

There are a few tricks that can avoid the traps. Most of these centre on getting the lease terms right, at the start. Another is to ensure that equipment or fittings are not attached to the base building.

According to John Goddard the RICS Green Guides offer a series of options for both the tenant and the landlord at the start of a lease that will ensure a more sustainable agreement, and a less wasteful exit at termination of the lease.

“RICS sees any advancement toward a more sustainable built environment as a positive step toward a zero carbon world,” Mr Goddard said.

“Our best hope to advance this goal is to have both tenants and landlords working more closely together to develop strategies that will give them outcomes that are rewarding for both.

“What we are looking at doing here is starting a conversation, a conversation that will bring us closer to a cleaner and greener environment, and what we are looking for is the type of feedback that can turn these guides into a positive working document for all sides.”

The Fifth Estate – for sustainable property news