As Ghana joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Facility Management Day, speakers at the event in Accra have called for a concerted effort toward protecting the environment.
The Day was celebrated on the theme ‘Leading a sustainable future’, and saw speakers stressing the need for a change in attitude on the part of all citizens to ensure and maintain safety, especially in the built environment.
“Action is needed at every level of society – from international agreements, vehicular noise generation, to how buildings are managed and renovated. In addition, there is need for a shift to renewable energy sources and sustainable means of transport.
“Sustainability within the built environment sector must be the key focus of architects in designing buildings, contractors in building them, facility managers in managing them – and even building users to achieve a high level of satisfaction with occupant’s safety, health, and comfort,” Chief Executive Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, has said.
He also charged facility managers to champion the construction of green buildings in the country as well as adopt alternative measures to minimise negative impacts, preserve natural resources and ensure quality living in the built environment.
“A sustainable built environment must have its environmental impacts minimised, its social responsibilities and demands answered, its economics tasks known and improved, and also its buildings concerns empowered by issues such as durability, flexibility and adequacy in use,” he added.
For his part, President of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Ghana, Sampson Opare-Agyemang, said while individuals and institutions do due diligence to employ professional facility managers in their organisations to maintain safety of the built environment, government must take up the responsibility of making sure that public buildings are environmentally compliant.
He advised that the Environmental Protection Agency employ task forces to monitor and make sure that people embark on projects at sites which the permit given them indicates.
“In Ghana, I have realised that when it comes to documentation, we do well. We present the necessary reports and requirements to get permits; but after getting them, people do not go to exactly implement or build at sites based on whatever permits have been given.
“And what I think is that it is because EPA or our Municipal Assemblies do not have men or task forces that visit sites to ensure the document that has been given – the content of the permit – is what is being presented on site. So, in reality you have been given permits; but on the sites, that is not what they have been given permits to do,” he said.
Property Specialist Ms. Regina Christian Koomson also emphasised that decisions taken concerning the environment today have a long-term impact on the health of the planet; hence, the conversation must be extended to get all involved, including homeowners, tenants, staff and anyone using or even visiting a facility.