Real Estate Solutions
Real Estate Managers and Management Firms are in a market that is truly driven by client satisfaction. To that end, you need to deliver high-quality emergency preparedness. Everyone must create a documented plan that works, whatever the emergency or disaster and solutions need to include everyone from owners to suppliers.
Super Storm Sandy was a shock! Afterward, we all had to look at how we address future emergencies whether natural or man-made, local to property or widespread. The property management and residential real estate market have a particular exposure during a disaster: there are unique requirements to provide owners and residents with added levels of security and assurance long before disaster arrives. Emergency generators and some water aren’t the answer.
Sandy affected everyone – but so did 911, sustained power outages, gas leaks, and Christmas week snowstorms with 2 feet of snow. Sandy, though, was the final impetus, enough for the City Council to just pass legislation (Int 1085-2013 – title 30) mandating Emergency Preparedness Plans be written, customized and posted for most residential and commercial buildings. In addition, they must contain special considerations for at-risk owners and tenants. They must outline protective measures, flood zone status, system shutdown criteria, supplies, and communication methods prior to and during weather or power events. Similar doctrines have been added to the industry in commercial structures and, into areas such as healthcare, transportation, and many others.
It’s all about resiliency. Minimize impacts, maintain service levels, and reduce or eliminate damage.
What’s the difference between a water main break that floods a basement, or a Con Ed fire, vs Sandy? No warning vs. for-warned! Impacts from both, however, can be mitigated, that way the next Sandy doesn’t catch everyone off-guard. Even “Black Swan” events – multiple disasters occurring at the same time – like extreme weather and power outage – can be planned for. It requires detailed assessment – understanding vulnerability and facility risks – broad and deep – in order to create a level of the process, solution, and preparation – that provides resiliency.
Impacts linger, clients and owners escalate their issues to managers - louder and longer – when preparedness is absent or insufficient. Impacts from Sandy linger today, locally and community-wide – and make no mistake about it – properties, people, businesses large and small, and communities, remain affected. Planning is key. What remains to be seen is whether or not – these same groups - have really learned the lessons – the city government has taken the first step with the new rules. …. Maybe. We hope so. There is a lot to learn.
Three key themes to take-away from an event like Sandy are:
Rebuilding, Restoral, and Recovery – are NOT Resiliency – and Resiliency is what is needed
The devastating impact from weather, does not have to come from the fiercest of storms – so Preparedness correlated to Potential risk is needed, not conventional thinking related to the size of a storm – or the lights going out
Don’t ever Underestimate again – this requires us to shift from the understandable into the “unthinkable”
Sandy should not have been the “Storm Nobody Expected” – it’s storm surge pushed volumes of water where it was never thought possible – it’s because conventional thinking and frameworks about Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery – were widely in use. It’s not about fault – but avoiding more faulty thinking. It requires capabilities and resiliency to be embedded into the very culture of property, management organization, and community. Emergency preparedness is needed not only – to recover - but to remain competitive and maintain value and a brand. Perhaps from the bottom-up, everything needs to be rethought and reviewed.
Don’t look to just being compliant with a new law. Do what is right for the property. Do what is right for your clients, owners, and tenants alike. In so doing you protect your own business, as property management leaders. It is your job to keep “them” safe and minimize impacts during an event – seek the professionals and recommendations that show you how. These skills are not in the core competencies of management firms – they’re not expected to be – the same as Local Law 11, or the Energy laws 84, 85, and 87. Property vulnerabilities are deeper than most might think. Weather and power events can exploit those risks with devastating impacts. Complete risk and vulnerability reviews – then create the custom plan – that includes the solutions, technologies, supplies, and processes that can make the difference between devastation and local impact.