02 May Handling emergencies in property management.
No matter what the storytellers say about an urban skyline in the middle of the night, buildings never sleep. Property managers know that when a building is unoccupied, it is most susceptible to costly damages.
What can go wrong?
To start with, fire can devastate a building in the middle of the night as well as the businesses that occupy it. Building codes require fire alarm systems, and in most cases, fire sprinkler systems that extinguish a fire once it has started.
While these systems are vital to life safety and property protection, fires can sweep through an entire floor in mere minutes. Sprinkler systems will activate, dumping hundreds of gallons of water in a few short minutes.
The water damage alone from a relatively minor fire event can be costly, not only to the tenant space where the fire occurs, but also in the adjacent spaces and the floors below.
Water damage from broken or frozen pipes, especially in an unattended area, can cause untold destruction. Computer networks, server rooms, and filing rooms are areas where water damage may even affect the business in a deeper way than the costs of the property damage alone. It can shut a business down for days.
Property managers have to be prepared beforehand to prevent such events. Preparation must include thorough planning for the times when prevention systems fail.
What should a property manager’s emergency plan consist of?
The key to an emergency handling strategy is simple: overwhelm the precipitating event with enough manpower and equipment to neutralize its impact immediately so that repairs and cleanup can begin without a moment’s delay.
Plumbing leaks can be some of the most insidious emergencies. It is not enough for a property manager simply to know a good plumber to call.
While the first call should be to the plumber, there should be an immediate call placed as well to a restoration company that specializes in returning a water damaged property back to its optimal condition.
Property managers need to have teams of personnel or contractors who are capable of responding on a 24-hour basis with enough forces to get on top of an emergency situation before it expands.
The key is preparing for the time when prevention systems fail. It is too late to reverse the devastation if there are no plans or teams in place when that big emergency call is received.