Whether your building is commercial or residential, safety on your property should always be your number-one priority. It’s likely that you’ve heard at least a little of the story of a terrible fire in a London apartment building, one that recently devastated the people living there and took an enormous number of lives. This story should serve as an example of why property managers can never be too thorough with safety precautions, and how as many tools and as much software as necessary should be used to enforce these precautions.
You Can’t Afford to Neglect Safety on Your Property
The tenant management organization responsible for the Grenfell Tower building has been criticized heavily since the incident for neglecting safety protocols for years, and particularly those related to fire safety. The first lesson, then, for property managers is that an open forum is necessary for residents and other concern parties to speak out. In the London case, people had been complaining about lax safety procedures for years before this tragedy. In your residential or commercial building, then, you need to be aware of what your renters are worried about… and tend to those concerns ASAP.
Those who are familiar with the building’s situation reported a number of specific concerns, such as a lack of emergency lighting, only a single escape route, and old, untested fire extinguishers. These are only three of about a dozen complaints, which is absolutely inexcusable. As a property manager, you should absolutely make these kinds of things your top priority. Safety on any type of property involves careful maintenance, open communication with renters, and regular review of procedures in case of any emergency. These issues are not jokes and could lead to the kinds of devastating tragedies that happen in buildings that neglect these steps.
Trying to cut back on costs is another reason that buildings can become unsafe, or a fire hazard, over time. For example, in the Grenfell Tower, the walls were not insulated with adequate fire-proofing. “There will be a perfectly good non-combustible choice that can be made, but somebody is not making those calls.” Don’t let yourself make a choice that could hurt someone down the road. Shaving off a bit of cost is not worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety on your property.
Would you say that you have any kind of “crisis management” plan in place? Whether you manage an apartment building or office building, you should make sure that you have planned a foolproof method of communication for instances where time is of the essence. The situation in London was recognized by the Prime Minister and is under investigation, a status that no property wants to bear. More than any and all legal complications, of course, the team has to face the facts of what they did, or didn’t do, and the consequences that came about as a result. Some “referring to the Grenfell Tower fire—and the possible negligence of building managers—as ‘corporate manslaughter,’ and are calling for criminal prosecutions.” At the very, very least, this is incredibly bad press.
Make sure that your own property management company is responsible, thoughtful, and always looking out for those who rent from you. As for your business, “pay close attention to construction defect liability insurance. Coverage should extend to events that may occur years after the construction, and should ideally include tail coverage that will remain in force—even if a key contractor or subcontractor should go bankrupt in the interim.” This is crucial in protecting yourself and the people that you work with in case the worst ever happens.
In the meantime, boost the efforts of safety on your property by employing a property management software that will handle some of the other aspects of your work. For example, Budgetrac Property Management software comes with the functionality to provide you with real-time data from any device. This means that you can get tenant and resident information in a snap, whenever you need to access it the most. Additionally, its Common Area Maintenance application can help you to take care of maintenance before it becomes a dangerous problem. These are only two features of Budgetrac, but they will help you to make your way toward a firm safety situation on your property.