Your Property Management Summer Checklist
Even though temperatures are already creeping up and hurricane season has started, it’s not too late to make sure your buildings are in top shape for the often-unpredictable season. (If you learned one thing from going to college, it's that you can do surprising things at the last minute.) Here are some items on property managers’ checklists:
Transwestern SVP of management services Brett Williams (giving his best Texas Tech "guns up") says his buildings in Houston have already taken stock of supplies, made sure emergency preparedness plans were updated, and the latest contact lists were shared with property staff. In its larger buildings, Transwestern has held hurricane seminars to alert tenants of the building’s operational plans during a storm. Safety and security is a hot topic and will be an educational session at the upcoming BOMA Every Building Conference in Orlando, which Brett—BOMA/Houston’s 2014 president—will be attending in a few weeks (just don’t tell his five- and seven-year-old that he’ll be near Disney World).
Safety doesn’t have to be boring: At the 195k SF 909 Davis St in Evanston, Ill., NAI Hiffman sets up some treats for its tenants after its annual summer drill, in which the whole office building evacuates, says property manager Chris Rackham. When tenants return to the building, they’re greeted by some ice cream, he says. “Even though it takes half an hour out of their work day, they appreciate that we think about them,” he says. (They should patent that approach; call it "Fire and Ice Cream.")
2) Systems Optimization
Above: the Transwestern-managed Waterway I and II in Houston, which total 366k SF and are anchored by Huntsman. Buildings’ chiller systems have been optimized and tuned up in preparation for the hotter months, making sure that there’s enough power to meet the demand. (As we learned in last night's NBA finals game: Cooling systems are really important.) Brett says the team has also been using their building energy management systems to make sure they’re only cooling the buildings when needed—an ever-important conservation and money-saving measure.
An ongoing maintenance plan makes sure that building roofs are in good shape and ready to withstand anything that might come their way, Brett says. (Heavy rains, lightning... and hopefully not broken-off pieces of a meteor.) Drains have been cleared to prevent flooding during rainstorms and membranes are checked for no signs of tearing.
4) Tenant Happiness
Your occupants are just as important as the property itself, so property managers have been going the extra mile to make sure they’re appreciated. Brett’s buildings have had ice cream socials, and he’s looking to come up with other ideas, perhaps hot dog stands or hamburger grilling. Some buildings even have a concierge that will hook up tenants with water park or movie tickets to help beat the heat.
For the past six summers, 909 Davis St has been hosting Downtown Evanston’s Let’s Dance event on Thursdays at the building’s west plaza, where attendees—the public and building tenants—are given dance instruction for everything from salsa to swing. (The picture is misleading... those two young children don't teach salsa or swing, but the latest moves from Yo Gabba Gabba!) Afterwards, live music and dancing commences for a couple of hours. Some tenants even set up tables to promote their companies, Chris tells us. Although Let’s Dance will be moving to another location this year, 909 Davis St is looking toward bringing other summer events to the plaza, he says.