This is touching on some advanced property-management techniques around providing just the right security of a property by using the power of remote monitoring.
So, picture a large block of flats, or, say, an office block, where you’re dealing with all kinds of people needing to access communal entrance ways and areas. This may be in the night as much as the day, and both visitors as well as authorised occupiers.
Throw in there an allowance for contractors needing access, including for emergencies, and you’re into the complex world of how to secure the property, on the one hand, from unwanted people, yet allowing authorised users normal access on the other hand and special override procedures in case of, for example, fire.
The 4 Different Prongs
To get this right you need four different angles, all a specialty in their own right and needing further detailed checks. At this level, let’s just try and see the rough view-points though without over complicating things.
1. The Overall Property Manager
So firstly and more obviously is the person or agent who’s taking overall management responsibility of the property, and more specifically the communal areas of the development.
So you may need to contact a landlord or freeholder direct for direct rent-payment and other issues to do with your occupied-area, whereas the shared stairs, entrances, and external areas and structure can be outsourced to a managing agent.
This managing-person then needs to have nitty-gritty and emergency-contact details clearly communicated as well as overall ones. So maybe there is an out-of-hours helpdesk for urgent calls, or property manager on standby who is the official person that everyone is told to speak to through any telephone numbers, building guides, or on-site notices.
2. The Direct-Contact People
You then need to consider special contractors and persons behind-the-scenes who may receive a direct contact in any emergencies, particularly through technology connections.
So, phone, internet, and mobile-connection lines may exist so that kit like security alarms, CCTV-camera triggers, fire-alarm activations, lift-breakdowns, and access-control failures send a signal direct through to them.
This might need a separate remote monitoring service that just deals with this raw connection rather than, say, a fire-alarm contractor, as they’re geared up to then co-ordinate things.
3. The Access Specialists
These are the people that will practically gain entry to a property where needed -particularly important in an emergency or out-of-hours.
Now, most people will assume this falls within the previous two types of people, whereas in fact it may be a third-layer being required, for example a formal keyholding service.
So, in effect, a property manager may know about an issue, and a direct-contact remote-monitoring service have a signal of trouble, but then someone has got to get to site and not only gain access but find out what the issue is and deal with it quickly.
So a keyholding service with a man-in-a-van may be instructed and be there within, say, thirty minutes, or in actual fact this element may fall back to the property manager if they’re also dealing with this nitty-gritty access side of things as well, or possibly an on-site concierge or caretaker on call.
Whoever they are, make sure they have lots of real practical info on what to do – how to access the building, what areas to sweep and check, who to liaise with, and how to finally report things through.
4. The Important Contractors
The last element is bringing in important contractors to deal with issues there and then, for example electricians or fire contractors, or even a basic handyman and maintenance service. If there’s no actual damage, or nothing urgent that you can’t resolve later, then this may not be required, but worth preparing for just in case.
In addition to obvious repairs such as resetting the fire alarm after activation, or fixing a power-cut, they may also need to do a temporary job such as board-up a door that has been broken into.
And don’t forget to keep on track of these with the right levels of authority and instruction, to not only save costs and clarify response times but liaise with insurers afterwards.
Bring the Four Together
Now, trying to tie all these four elements together is then the final ingredient, and needs careful thought and planning for each property interest rather than just assuming a generic system. This is where mistakes happen, which unfortunately can only come to light through an emergency afterwards.
However, get a good property manager and specialist such as a risk assessor or contractor on the job and you can soon get it bottomed out.
In terms of the types of links needed between these four elements, here’s a few thoughts on each one:
• The property manager will probably need to liaise with the access specialists and emergency-contractors directly to see action.
• The direct-contact people will often have the more complex job of liaising with all other three people to bring them into the picture.
• The access people likewise will need to liaise with all other three to get them involved as well
• And finally the emergency contractor, if they’re contacted directly then they will need to liaise with the property manager and access specialists.
Therefore, in short, get everyone clearly appreciating what others are doing and how they relate to each other. And then communicate to everyone as soon as possible, ideally in just a one-page summary or flow chart.
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