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BOMA BEST building certifications to expand into U.S.

BOMA Canada and BOMA International members at the signing of the letter of intent to expand the BOMA Best building certification program into the United States. (Courtesy BOMA Canada)
BOMA Canada and BOMA International members at the signing of the letter of intent to expand the BOMA Best building certification program into the United States. (Courtesy BOMA Canada)

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and BOMA Canada have signed a letter of intent to implement the BOMA BEST building certification program in the United States. 

BOMA BEST was established in Canada in 2005 and more than 7,000 buildings have received a certification or recertification under the program.

The environmental assessment and certification program addresses an industry need for realistic standards for energy and environmental performance of existing buildings based on accurate and independently verified information.

It works on a graduated system, with the most efficient buildings achieving BOMA BEST Platinum certifications.

“It’s hard to understate the impact that BOMA BEST has had and continues to have on the Canadian commercial real estate industry,” BOMA Canada president and chief executive officer Benjamin Shinewald said in an email interview with RENX. 

“Our members and customers certify not because it is a nice thing to do, but because it is a necessary thing to do. BOMA BEST is indisputably the best way to ensure you are operating your building optimally.”  

Independent financial studies have demonstrated BOMA BEST-certified buildings command higher rents and have lower vacancy rates and higher asset values.

The joint initiative should also create a substantial new revenue stream for BOMA's local associations in the U.S., enabling them to create new member benefits and services.

U.S. joins Canada, Mexico and China

Shinewald said BOMA Canada and BOMA International have been in touch over the years to expand BOMA BEST into the U.S., but there were challenges which caused roadblocks.

Those were eliminated about six months ago and prompted talks to heat up.

BOMA BEST has similar agreements in Mexico, where the first building was certified in 2019, the same year the program became available in China.

Several Canadian embassies in the Middle East and Europe have also received certifications and Shinewald believes it’s a program that will continue to grow globally.

“It really is applicable to any commercial or institutional building anywhere,” said Shinewald.

“That said, the program is flexible so you are never penalized or advantaged for circumstances unique to your geography — which is why, for instance, we have a standard around salting the entrance ways of buildings in Canada in winter, but not in Mexico.”

BOMA BEST complements BOMA 360

BOMA BEST is complementary to the BOMA 360 Performance Program, which sets a global standard for operational best practices in the commercial real estate industry.

Earning the BOMA 360 designation demonstrates a building is outperforming the competition across all areas of operations and management.

The signing ceremony for the BOMA BEST expansion took place at the BOMA International Winter Business Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Jan. 21.

BOMA International and BOMA Canada are collaborating to finalize a U.S. agreement by the end of May. A pilot program is slated to roll out later this year.

“The enthusiasm from American owners and managers is huge, with many telling me overtly that they believe that their buildings are not at the level they could be because they are not yet BOMA BEST-certified,” said Shinewald.

“We have had multiple U.S. owners and managers approach us and tell us that they are eager to be part of the pilot and gain first-mover advantage in the U.S.”  

BOMA International and BOMA Canada

BOMA International, founded in 1907, is a federation comprised of 85 U.S. local associations and 17 international affiliates.

The trade association represents owners, managers, service providers and other property professionals from all commercial building types, including office, industrial, medical, corporate and mixed-use. 

BOMA Canada has more than 3,100 members representing more than 2.1 billion square feet of office space in Canada.

Its members include building owners, managers, developers, facilities managers, asset managers, leasing agents and brokers, investors and service providers.

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