By Nick Harris

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Here we are at the start of 2018 and when I look to the year ahead I feel that we will continue the trend of the last couple with another unpredictable year. Over the last 18 months we have seen unexpected results in the US Presidential election, the Brexit referendum and a surprise general election that are arguably leading to a feeling of general uncertainty that is influencing business and domestic decisions. Even in our sphere of influence we have seen some significant changes in the way that Autodesk is delivering its technology and it has also seen a change of leadership.

These waves of disruption are now beginning to reach a wider audience and as result, individuals and organisations are reconsidering how they operate their businesses. And, if that wasn’t enough, there are some long signposted and significant changes to existing regulations this year that many of our customers cannot ignore.

The first impacts many different parts of the supply chain including owners, operators, maintenance companies, renovators and building service engineers to name a few.  As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating.  For some of our customers this requirement should prove to be a great opportunity; designers, fabricators and contractors can all be involved in bringing the existing housing stock up to these new levels.

A useful guide to this change can be found by following the link below.

https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/guides/minimum-energy-efficiency-standards.shtml

The second is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations in May. These regulations are designed for a single European digital market in which organisations that are processing personal data of EU citizens know what they can do and what they can’t do with personal data. This way the digital economy, in which data is essential, can continue to grow safely and securely in an increasingly data-intensive world. It effectively governs the way that any organisation captures, stores, maintains, destroys and uses any information that is relevant to an individual. The regulation has, in part, come about as a result of some of the massive data breaches experienced by a number of high profile global organisations over the last few years, as well as a general concern from the wider public about information privacy and security. Importantly, any organisation, from a small architectural door manufacturer to a large engineering consultant will have personal data relating to customers and employees stored in their offices. These new regulations apply to everyone and the penalties for breaches of the regulations can be severe. They also apply to both electronic or physical records, each with their own set of risks and considerations.

A useful guide to this change can be found by following the link below.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/business/

Awareness of these regulation changes appear to be relatively low, with some organisations more advanced than others in their preparation. There are many measures that need to be put in place but for both sets of regulations, training and technology play a significant role. For both the EPC and the GDPR regulations we have software solutions that automate the manipulation and analysis of existing data and drastically reduce the number of manual time-consuming tasks that you need to introduce to your business.

For example, our building design solutions allow you to model the existing performance of a building and then design and implement remediation measures with confidence that it then will meet the legal requirements.

The key to GDPR compliance is to demonstrate that you have control of your data at all times and, where there are potential breaches, that you have measures in place to limit the damage. The only way to manage numerous data sources, employee access permissions and multiple protocols is to put a management system in place. With our GDPR management solution you can establish your information management strategy, identify your process owners and audit the movement of data through your business.

Contact your account manager or call us on 01784 419914 to find out more about our regulatory compliance solutions.

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