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SMEs facing up to building compliance…

It’s easy for SMEs to fall into the trap of thinking that compliance is only relevant to large organisations.

However, this ignores that compliance is, first and foremost, there for the safety of employees irrelevant of the size of the company’. In this blog, Operations Manager Harrison Briggs discusses why SMEs must consider compliance and the pitfalls of failing to do so.

Google the phrase ‘SME compliance’ and you’ll be overwhelmed by articles on anything but building compliance. The majority are about GDPR – or data protection more generally – and its impacts for small business owners. In fact, the conversation is saturated by it, and with all the furor around GDPR it’s unsurprising that the topic of building compliance gets little word in edgeways. GDPR and its impact on SMEs, is still a concern – and what regulations actually apply is still a topic of debate. But it’s important not to forget about building compliance, something that applies to any organisation (SME or otherwise) occupying a single building site or more.

So, with SMEs accounting for more than 99 per cent of businesses in the UK, and up to 5.5 million of these being ‘micro businesses’ of 9 people or less, this begs the question: what are these organisations doing about compliance, and who in these companies is taking ownership of it, if at all?

It’s understanding that SMEs find compliance a challenge. Firstly, it’s a daunting topic with confusing jargon that someone not ‘in the know’ will find difficult to get to grips with. And small businesses do not have the luxury of an in-house compliance function, rather, the burden will most likely fall on to the shoulders of an office manager. For these individuals, most will have muddled their way through statutory compliance using information they’ve found on the internet, coupled with an excel spreadsheet. This is fine to an extent, but it leaves significant margin for error and misinterpretation of what’s statutory and what’s not.

That said, outsourcing compliance to a service provider can be costly. Cash-strapped small business owners may feel that they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place – be non-compliant and risk legal prosecution, worse, risk the safety of your staff occupying a non-compliant premise, and any visitors stepping inside. Or, spend an inordinate amount of revenue to meet compliance guidelines.

That’s why we’ve created CATI, our digital compliance management tool, at a price point that’s accessible to SMEs and micro businesses. Having a single source of reliable data, and an alert system, eradicates any potential slip-ups. Nor is there a grey area on what’s statutory and what’s not. The result? We’ve found that CATI has empowered the duty holders in SMEs to not only engage with their company’s building regulations. Now, they’re owning them.