How to Manage Facility Services in Residential Buildings

All, Miscellaneous, Facility Management

Managing and maintaining multi-tenanted properties comes with its share of challenges and the Facility Manager requires a varied skill set. However, the challenges increase manifold if a certain number of apartments/offices are unoccupied or rented out. Here we discuss some effective methods that a facility manager can deploy to efficiently control aspects like security, safety, parking, and office/apartment maintenance issues:

 

 

Data Collection:

The facility manager should compile an office/apartment-wise file with details and documents such as copies of the purchase/lease agreements; share certificates and details of outstanding payments to the society like maintenance, police verification of tenants, etc. This data enables the facility management team to get to know the building better and understand the people dynamics with regard to tenant/resident interactions. This exercise will also help in streamlining the preparation and submission of monthly maintenance invoices to each resident/owner. Maintaining such details comes in handy in case of any emergency or violations by the tenants or owners.

 

 

 

Fit-out Guidelines:

In buildings where many fit-outs ongoing, there can be various structural/design violations done by owners and tenants while renovating the premises. In such scenarios, it is crucial that a detailed fit-out manual is prepared and handed out to every resident/tenant to ensure that they follow the laid-out guidelines. 

 

 

Residents/Tenants Handbook:

The Facility Manager should put together a detailed resident’s/tenant’s handbook, which lists down the do’s and don't for the property with regards to the use of common amenities, assets, equipment, emergency information and crisis response guidelines like emergency evacuation procedures, etc. These guidelines also work as an amazing tool for the management committee and the facility management team while handling member complaints and grievances. Also, make sure that the society meets all its compliance needs which shall differ in case of unoccupied buildings as compared to the occupied/tenanted ones. This shall help resolve issues/problems in advance.

 

 

Resident/Tenant Grievance Redressal Mechanism:

It is important to have an active and operational resident/tenants’ grievance mechanism like a 24-hr helpdesk team that receives, acknowledges and then tracks open tasks/complaints with the facility management team. This serves as a platform for residents/tenants to voice their concerns and receive solutions within agreed turn-around-times (TATs). 

 

 

 

Periodic visits to unoccupied apartments:

The facility manager should conduct periodic visits to unoccupied apartments to check for leakages, electrical issues, gas leaks, etc. The owner is to be informed to rectify the issue within an agreed timeline, failing which, the facility manager should take the onus to get it fixed. This will prevent any mishaps from occurring. Conduct periodic meetings with the managing committee to address site issues and take high-level decisions on pending matters. Such meetings can be conducted on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.

 

 

 

Safety and Security:

Safety and Security is an integral part of Facility Management (FM) services. There is a mandatory guideline that needs to be followed by a facility Manager in order to ensure the safety and security of both – the tenants and the premises. In respect to unoccupied buildings, additional measures need to be undertaken. A visitor management system should be a compulsory part of all residential buildings, this will keep track on the number of visitors entering and exiting the building and also help avoid trespassing. Security cameras should be connected to a centralized video recording and viewing system which should be periodically reviewed by the FM team to ensure complete security considering that unoccupied apartments are subject to major trespassing and mishandling.

 

 

 

Support to the Facility Management Team:

At times, the facility management team is required to take a strong stance against certain defaulting or misbehaving residents/tenants. At such times, the managing committee should offer complete support to and back the authority of the facility management team, in order to ensure the rules and regulations are adhered to. Such support goes a long way in creating transparency and ensures no preferences or lee-ways are given to any of the residents/tenants.

 

 

Few other measures that should be adopted: 

 

Ensure that the doors and windows are closed when not in use, especially in unoccupied apartments/buildings

 

Keep the lower floor balcony doors locked as well

 

The tenants should be careful with the house keys/access cards 

 

Ask the tenants to install a home security system that covers remote monitoring and detection of intruders through alarms 

 

Install sensors that cover gas leakages, unauthorized movement, and smoke detection

 

The FMs should ensure that the security system is linked to the security network platform of the building, however, the residents should be given passwords to prevent cyber-crime or loss of personal data