Having someone at the entrance to a property seems a real luxury to many – whether a helpful person at the lobby of an apartment block, or an on-site concierge at the reception of a shared office block.
They’re there to make life easy for everyone occupying and having an interest in the property, which is maybe why people may assume it’s easy to appoint them.
However, in reality there’s more to this, something that any good Property Manager will know. Behind the scenes there is an array of paperwork, property issues, and procedures that can help this person do this job well.
The Top Ten Factors
Therefore, here are the top ten ones to consider, whether you’re a property manager needing to hire or manage such a person, an occupier wanting to understand what they should be doing, or an actual on-site person needing to understand their job role.
This isn’t exhaustive of course, and generic for all kinds of general residential and commercial multiple-occupation properties, but a good start.
1. Welcoming Visitors
Let’s begin with an easy one, being able to meet-and-great visitors to the property.
In addition to looking the part and being located in the right area say behind a reception desk that is easily accessible yet not in the way, you then need to make sure they have all the tools to effectively manage people.
So, a visitor sign-in sheet, and then any kind of tags and passes that are then issued. If they have arrived by car, then passes and logs may also be required.
And make sure the full spectrum of ‘visitors’ to the property is understood, not just ad-hoc clients, customers, or friends. So contractors carrying out works, regular employees and residents, and even owners and other property interests may all need a similar form of procedure.
2. Arranging Access
Once people are in, they will need to have access to where they need to do. Whether this is via keys, digi-codes, or passes; there needs to be a way of both issuing but then returning afterwards.
Plus don’t forget that people will need to have clear restrictions to areas that they should not be in as much as ones they should be.
3. Keeping Secure
Securing a property is getting more and more important nowadays, both when the person is on-site but also when they’re not.
An opening- and closing-procedure is therefore key, with ways of accessing the property, checking for any uninvited people in the building, and dealing with security systems like alarms and access arrangements.
Regular patrols may be then needed, and a way of still managing the reception area when they are doing this, maybe with a sign saying back in a minute and their number to call if any visitors arrive.
Think also of all areas and items, not just the front door. Windows may need locking, store cupboards checking, and files and cabinets securing.
You also need to know how far their duties can go before you get into the specialist realm of security personnel which will involve a different set of training and accreditation. This may mean liaising with CCTV systems and remote monitoring companies being on stand by, and dealing with lone worker issues and risks
4. The Postman
This is going to be far more involved now than what people first think, guaranteed.
In our fast, modern world, it’s not just the daily postman to think about, it’s the endless stream of deliveries from online purchases, whether that’s a personal parcel during the day, a takeaway at night, or business items when required.
You need to clarify when these will be, who will be available to allow access, whether the goods stay at the reception for delivery, and who finally signs for and takes liability.
5. Accommodating Uses
There can be all kinds of other related uses and needs that you need to accommodate for as well.
Bike stores may be used, and bin stores regularly trashed, all needing regular inspections and management.
Store cupboards may be needed by cleaners, and when people move in all kinds of access and routes cleared for removal men to bring items in and out of the property.
6. Fire Management
This is a whole area and evidently very important to get right. And within this context, the on-site person can play an important part of organising things to demonstrate a holistic approach to fire safety.
On a technical side this may include checking fire alarm panels and that fire extinguishers are still correctly located and organising any contractor’s reactive or maintenance works.
On a procedural basis there are escape routes to check, combustible materials to keep away, fire drills and evacuations to arrange and be ready for, fire marshal appointment, and jackets to clarify
7. Property Services
Buildings of course have all kinds of services, facilities, and repairs, and an on-site person can be perfect to instruct, arrange, and check all or some of these.
When it gets cold there may be a gritting and snow clearance to do or arrange, and any heating and cooling systems to ensure always working and controlled.
Then there’s all your other services like lifts, lighting, and security systems, not to mention general repairs and redecorations.
Cleaning is always needed everywhere and all the ancillary services from this like window cleaning, pest control, toilet hygiene, drain clearance, litter picking, and refuse collection.
And kind of linked with this, don’t forget kitchen and toilet areas for providing refreshments and again needing careful cleaning and management under Food Hygiene requirements.
8. Checks in Place
As you’re dealing with real-life people not just property ‘assets’, the quiet rightly people-checks are needed.
This ranges from usual individual ones within usual HR employment such as references and personal identity, but possible additional ones such as a DBS (formerly CRB) checks.
Also, ensure correct reference to other policies such as Vulnerable Persons and Safeguarding which is how such a person should interact with such persons.
9. Problem Solving
There is actually far more to this than meets the eye, after all they’re right there on site to help resolve all kinds of problems and issues that others come across.
So, everything from making sure people are smoking in the right areas to, to routine checks around the property, do dealing with emergencies and accidents with say First Aid provision and Accident Book recording.
10. Correct Documentation
Technically this is naturally covered in all the other issues, as each will generate it’s own set of forms to fill out and policies to adhere to.
However, it’s still worth a separate mention, as often there needs to be a collation of all this on site in an array of folders and information that relevant people can always refer to.
They may well be separate ones in different locations with security and access rights, but in reality the on-site person helps tie all this together and makes sure everyone fills their relevant parts in.
The Right Property Person
Where you need someone at the main reception of a building, whether a full time conscierge, or part time help, these above ten factors will help understand the broad range of factors and duties they need to be involved with.
This assumes a multi-let scenario, where say a landlord or managing agent needs to arrange this in the communal shared areas on behalf of various tenant occupiers, but of course these still apply for any business with their own premises needing that meet-and-greet function.
Having a nice smiley face and personable person actually counts for a lot, however these behind-the-scenes factors will make sure they live up to what they saying.
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