Tag Archives: Procedurement

Winter Tip 5 – Winter Risk Management

With a beard that could command a thousand ships, Chris T held open a clear plastic bag and waited patiently as I gingerly inserted my hand and ruffled 34 pieces of neatly folded paper. I wasn’t in the best of moods – it was the morning and I was expecting a hat. As I swished my hand around the bag I asked Chris why there were 34 names when there were only 33 people who’d agreed to play this round of Secret Santa. He didn’t know.

I thought about it for a second as I bought myself some time. The swishing of paper was kind of therapeutic, and the longer I waited before choosing my victim, the more of a chance I’d have of claiming that I’d not had enough time to find a decent present for under £5 if what I got was rubbish. Chris began to get restless. “Just choose one already. You don’t need to mix them up – they’re already random,” he urged, “and you don’t have to close your eyes. The paper is sealed. There’s no way you could know even if you could see”.
“Will I get to swap if I don’t thi-“
“No, just pick a name.” Chris was having none of it.

I swished a little faster and eventually settled on the bit of paper I’d had in my hand since I began mixing. I pulled it out of the bag and the queue behind me sighed with quiet relief as I walked away, unwrapping the paper. Last year’s Secret Santa saw me buying my chosen colleague a condiment gun designed to dispense two condiments onto a hotdog. I was ecstatic about this find and couldn’t wait to see what I had to unwrap. As the long-awaited opening day arrived, I was greeted by a poorly wrapped little box with a tiny tag bearing my name. How endearing, I thought. Smiling I tore open the Tesco brand white plastic paper and revealed the contents. A small, glass Christmas bauble. A little button on the bottom made it flash and some of the glitter it was shipped with was still visible on the glue that was meant to hold it. I was devastated. As it transpired, my ‘Santa’ who shall remain unnamed (TOM) had forgotten about the deal until that day and had panicked. Since that day, the prospect of Secret Santa has never been the same.

That day doesn’t seem so long ago, but as we reach the end of November it’s clear that winter is here and that the short, dreary days will soon have engulfed our days of Christmas shopping. In an unashamedly blatant link to the last in our tips for preparing your commercial property for winter, shopping centre managers have almost run out of time to finish their preparations for the snowy season ahead. So here, along with a recap of our previous four tips, is our final snippet of advice for how to prepare your property for the cold weather ahead:

1.      External clocks for Lighting

Ensure that your site’s external lighting is up to date, all the bulbs are working and the time-clocks are adjusted to allow for the change in light as the winter draws in. The last thing you need after all your timely preparations is a tenant injured in an easily prevented trip or fall.

2.      Ensure you hold a suitable gritting contract for your building

The amount of calls we get from tenants complaining that it’s snowed surpasses any weather based reactive maintenance calls we receive. A reactive call out for snow shovelling and a bag of grit will cost between £150 and £300 depending on the size of your property, but on a first-call-first-shovelled basis you could be waiting an age for a contractor to become free. With that in mind, you need to make sure your gritting contract covers the right factors. Auto gritting is a must; upon the threat of snow your contract includes pre-emptive visits to throw salt over your site to prevent snow and ice. Auto snow clearance is also very important if your site’s of any substantial size, and with the right options selected you can even be notified when there’s snow abound.

3.      Seasonal gutter clearance

When it rains, it pours. And when it pours out of your gutters because they’re blocked by a year’s worth of debris, your tenants get wet. Tenants hate getting wet.

A simple gutter inspection can alleviate unnecessary emergency call-outs to clear blocked or broken gutters and could even go as far as to rectify any problems that could potentially cause thousands of pounds’ worth of leak damage to your building. By getting them cleared the water will drain properly, and the contractors will check for damaged systems and even backflow while they’re up there. A must-have in your winter preparation arsenal.

4.      Roof Inspections

In the same way that a gutter inspection could help repair any small problems which lead to big issues, a roof inspection could highlight holes, loose tiles or blistered asphalt that’ll save you a significant amount of money compared to what you’d be spending cleaning up the mess they’ve caused.

5.      Pre-Order Sandbags

Getting into the sand market early will ensure that you’re not fighting for every grain when the floods come bowling in. At about £4 per bag at this time of year, look into how many you think you’d need to block up any sources of ingress. Buying them now will ensure you have them when you need them rather than at the back of the queue paying premium prices, knee deep in your new moat. You can also look at other means of flood prevention which could prove more cost effective like purpose made barriers. An air brick seal can cost £10 and save you thousands.

Jake Jones – Propertyserve Helpdesk

The school run

That’s it folks – the good times are over. Anyone with a commute to work has had to wind back the alarm clock, fight their way out of the junction at end of the road, and retrain their extraocular muscles to roll back their eye balls as the glare of brake lights confronts them when they attempt to get on to the motorway.  Schools have gone back…

The only comfort I have taken from the fact the new school year has started is that cyclists who have been whimsically gliding through the empty streets for the past six weeks have had a change in attitude – the majority now look like nervous 11 year olds taking their cycling proficiency test. At least that should keep them safer.

In saying all of this, for many parents this week sending their children back to school is merely the finishing stage of the Tour De France – identifying the best schools to send them to. It starts with predicting their 11+ results, to see if it’s worth visiting the grammar schools. Next up – visiting the schools themselves and judging by the look of the poor child showing them round as to whether this is the type of school for them. Next comes the discussion with junior to see what he (or she) thinks. and then finally three names are listed in preferential order and sent into the abyss.

Selecting a school for your children is rightly given the utmost attention by parents across the country as the way in which they are educated will play a part in sculpting the path they take in life and ultimately the young adults they become.

Businesses also find themselves at these cross roads of development and without taking the correct care and attention at these junctures all the hard work leading up to that point can be slowly unwound. As the director of a property management helpdesk and procurement business, I am not going to claim that selecting the right helpdesk and procurement method will make or break your business. But, it would be fair to say that these decisions can have a huge effect on the day-to-day lives of both your property management staff and your valued tenants.

In our experience too many organisations make snap decisions when taking this route and don’t take the time to seek out the best fit for them and their portfolio.

At Propertyserve, we dedicate ourselves purely to property and have shaped our team to understand building systems and maintenance issues in an effort to add value and be as proactive as possible. To our clients this means more pro-active time for their FM’s, a 24/7 professional service to their tenants and a transparent procurement method that represents value for money and risk aversion  for themselves and their valued clients.  Education is vital.

Ian Robertson, Director at Propertyserve UK