BOMA Insider (from the BOMA Advocacy Update)

Update from John R. Bryant | Vice President of Advocacy & Building Codes


September 24, 2020

September has been another active month for the advocacy team, lobbying on numerous issues affecting the commercial real estate industry. We continue to press the need for COVID-19-related liability protections, cleaning tax credits and business-related relief measures at the federal level. Despite the need for legislative action, the U.S. Congress has yet to find a path forward on the next COVID-19 relief bill, putting pressure on states to enact piecemeal policy changes across the country.

BOMA International’s Preparedness Committee has also remained extremely active, working on the release of BOMA International’s newly available resource, Managing Through Pandemics: Preparing Your Buildings, Tenants and Staff, which guides practitioners through the process of creating a pandemic plan specific to commercial properties.

And, BOMA was recently recognized as one of the “100 Associations That Will Save the World,” based on our ongoing commitment to sustainability and the success of our groundbreaking Water and Waste (W2) Challenge!

The following stories highlight our most recent activities, including information and resources to help BOMA members stay current on the priority issues facing the industry.


John R. Bryant

Vice President of Advocacy & Building Codes



BOMA International Releases Free Pandemic Guide

Just in time for National Preparedness Month, BOMA International recently published Managing Through Pandemics: Preparing Your Buildings, Tenants and Staff, a guidebook covering every aspect of managing a commercial building through a global health crisis. Managing Through Pandemics explores multiple aspects of developing a pandemic strategy—from creating a pandemic plan to addressing business continuity concerns and legal considerations—and is an essential resource for all property professionals.

Two decades into the 21st century, the world has already faced several pandemic outbreaks, including SARS in 2003, the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, and COVID-19 over the past year—and we will likely face more. As an industry, we can and will be better prepared for what comes next.

Thanks to the generous support of Yardi, this guidebook is available as a free resource. Get your copy today!


The Real Estate Roundtable Delivers Congressional Testimony

On September 9, The Real Estate Roundtable’s president and CEO, Jeff DeBoer, testified in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on behalf of the commercial real estate community to address the efficacy of the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP). DeBoer’s testimony encouraged Congress to loosen the program’s restrictions and grant more businesses access to its underutilized funds for rehiring employees and bouncing back from current challenges. He also called for already-disbursed loans to be forgivable in the same way that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are. The MSLP is designed as an alternative to the PPP for larger businesses with a higher employee threshold of 15,000, compared to the PPP threshold of 500 employees, and a minimum loan amount of $250,000, compared to the PPP, which had no floor. Currently, only .07% of MSLP lending capacity is in use, whereas the popular PPP program needed a funding refuel shortly after its launch. Enhancements to the MSLP could help property professionals, service providers and tenants more readily get back to business.

In addition to strengthening the MSLP, DeBoer highlighted several of BOMA’s top legislative priorities during his testimony, including: a businesses tax credit for cleaning supplies and janitorial time; liability protections for businesses who make a best effort to meet or exceed cleaning obligations; and a federal pandemic risk insurance program to help protect all businesses in the event of future pandemics. As a longtime member and partner of The Roundtable, BOMA International will continue to work with the coalition of real estate and business interests and advocate directly on behalf of our members.


Energy & Environment

BOMA's Sustainability Efforts Earn Special Recognition from ASAE

BOMA International has a long track record of leadership on sustainability issues, and now has a new accolade for these efforts. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently recognized BOMA as one of the “100 Associations That Will Save the World,” based on our ongoing commitment to sustainability. The list, which was produced as part of the ASAE’s centennial celebration, spotlights BOMA as the featured association in the sustainability category. The recognition centered on the recently completed W2 Challenge, BOMA’s groundbreaking two-year initiative designed to encourage buildings to benchmark water usage and waste output and implement best practices. The voluntary program spurred 2,000 properties in more than 400 cities to benchmark water and waste using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. BOMA’s benchmarking and sustainability efforts are also the subject of a newly published case study by ASAE’s Research Foundation: Benchmarking in Pursuit of Sustainability.


Energy & Environment

ENERGY STAR Releases COVID-19 Update for Energy Benchmarking

ENERGY STAR has released a new update on benchmarking and certification for U.S. commercial buildings impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After extensive analysis regarding the pandemic’s effects on ENERGY STAR scores, the program is now accepting applications for certification using data through July 31, 2020, regardless of the changes in operations that may have occurred in the building due to COVID-19.

This is applicable only to building operations that have been impacted by COVID-19, and all others may continue to apply using the US Environmental Protection Agency's regular certification rules. Retail stores and hotels that were completely shut down for a period of the pandemic will not be eligible to apply for certification if the period covered by an application includes more than 60 days of closure. Further benchmarking and certification guidance will be updated in the next announcement planned for mid-November as the extended periods of reduced operations continue to affect scores. To allow sufficient time to apply for certification after the mid-November guidance is issued, the deadline for 2020 certification applications has been extended to February 10, 2021. For FAQs, visit the ENERGY STAR website.



Charlie Cook Provides Political Updates for BOMAPAC Contributors

As a thank you for their support, BOMAPAC elite contributors (those who contribute $125 or more in a calendar year) were given access to the Charlie Cook webinar series from the National Journal. Charlie Cook is a renowned political analyst, as well as creator and author of the National Journal’s Cook Political Report. During these webinars, Cook provides an update on the political landscape and in-depth insights into the 2020 presidential election. The speaker series will continue after the election to analyze election results and what this means for our country over the next four years. For more information about the speaker series or becoming an elite contributor, please email Meg Novak, BOMA International's Manager of Government Affairs & PAC, to sign up at [email protected].

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