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VIEWPOINT: A buyer’s guide to vacant property management: what should you expect? 18 July 2013

Neil Male, group executive director of GMS Group, considers the levels of service available in the asset protection market as the economy continues to slowly heal

Empty properties, both commercial and domestic, are clearly visible across the UK. Ensuring protection and compliance with insurers’ code of practice for these vulnerable assets is a challenging task. Choosing the right company to provide an all-encompassing product to safeguard the value of the property is key to realising the value at point of sale.

It is evident that appropriately appointed contractors directly affect the level of security that can be delivered; cutting corners in this area clearly elevates the risk to individuals solely responsible for the property and results in ineffective service and possible non-payment of any insurance claims.

Procurement professionals should seek contractors with recognised industry accreditations and utilise available information within the public domain to make informed choices. Contractors should be selected not only because they are accredited but also because they are experienced in their field.

Experienced suppliers will have both well-designed systems with integrated technology and an understanding of the current market and the challenges faced within their client’s field on a daily basis. By choosing suppliers who fit this criteria, companies will benefit from the most cost effective solution for the management of security and vacant properties.

Technological advancement means you can expect real time information to be accessible via a secure portal that provides meaningful information regarding your property. Inspection reports with embedded photographs, fire risk assessments and safe means of access documents can be captured, ensuring high levels of operational efficiency, which are invaluable in the event of insurance claims. Procurement professionals should expect a risk management service that ensures compliance and negates liability.

Keeping control

Effective control of premises goes beyond physical security and should look at the provision of utility management during instruction. It is widely accepted within the industry that dealing with utility providers can cause headaches and loss of valuable full-time equivalent. Contractors should demonstrate an understanding of this issue and offer a one-stop solution that minimises the time associated with dealing with providers, ensuring accurate billing from day one of appointment.

Insurers stipulate that electrical supplies are maintained to support fire and/ or theft protection/detection equipment at the premises.
By not taking ownership of utility management at point of instruction, companies face the risk of disconnection, leaving a premises not only vulnerable but also uninsured in the event of a break in.

Insurers dictate that when utilising existing Redcare-monitored intruder alarms they should also have an Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) via the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to ensure that ACPO guidelines are adhered to.

So where do the keys to efficient security and vacant property management lie?

  • Building long-term relationships with suppliers who understand your industry and are available “out of hours” to assist in all aspects of managing property.
  • Utilising SIA approved contractors with directly employed staff to fulfill any security requirements. ACS companies are required by law to screen and vet employees to BS7858 which includes credit and right-to-work checks. For details, visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/acs-benefits-using.aspx
  • Ensuring compliance with ACPO guidelines for Redcare-monitored intruder alarms. www.nsi.org.uk/information-centre/information-for-businesses/police-policy/
  • Choosing a provider who offers a one-stop solution to your property requirements from day one of instruction.

For further information:

To learn more about how your firm can benefit from this industry leading level of service, please contact Neil Male, group executive director at the GMS Group of Companies.

More information about the range of GMS services is available at www.gms-group.co.uk or by calling 01527 889183.

 

 

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