Property management firms go digital with safety, security and cleaning checks -
By Rebecca Gicante -
ICC Property Management is using technology to digitally track its response to COVID-19 and enhance safety for residents and staff in its condominium high-rises and townhouses in the Greater Toronto Area.
Steven Christodoulou, founder and chief visionary officer of ICC Property Management, worked with Toronto tech firm Safe Buildings to begin digitizing their risk management program, which is helping staff to access building operations information while respecting work-from-home and social distancing guidelines at the buildings.
“The problem with the way we were doing it before was that it was manual and there was no way of proving compliance to our boards,” says Christodoulou. “As a property manager, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades and navigating through the fire and safety code requirements can be difficult.”
The technology also includes a digital checklist for cleaning, safety and security checks. ICC rolled out the initiative several weeks ago and is seeing significant benefits for its COVID-19 response. The management team is now digitally tracking safety and security compliance, and the cleaning of targeted touch points.
“As an industry, we are all taking steps to enhance employee and resident safety and with technology we can remain at the forefront,” said Judy Statham, president of ICC in Toronto. “Board members may access this as part of a condo corporation’s business continuity plan, something that we are taking very seriously here at ICC. This makes it easy to implement protocols at each of our buildings and allow us to apply lessons learned – strengthening our portfolio of communities.”
ICC is the first property management company in Canada to use this technology across its entire portfolio. The initiative is said to reduce the ongoing costs of fire safety plans by up to 50 per cent.
“The technology is changing how we look at evidence of compliance,” says Jason Reid, developer and technical advisor for Safe Buildings in Toronto. “Most organizations do great work and complete their safety and security checks. The problem is, they lack the evidence of completion.”
ICC’s platform provides both date, time and photographic stamped evidence that elevates the standard of care within a building.
“By going digital, we are supporting building staff with the right tools to have a direct impact on resident safety before and during emergencies,” expressed Lisa Rapisardi, an ICC condo manager in Toronto. “Code requirements can be broken down into daily, weekly, monthly and annually—that’s a lot to remember when you’re overseeing the day-to-day operations of a building during these trying times. Forgetting even one of these checks can pose huge issues for a property manager when fire inspectors visit.”
Other property management companies are using technology to enhance safety and security and realizing the value of technology to their properties.
“We went digital two months ago – I receive a report every morning,” said Lubko Belej, general manager of The Residences of Maple Leaf Square, managed by Del Property Management. “Doing the daily checks, we can see some of the safety issues that might pop up. If a report isn’t done, I get a notification. Then, I can ask our staff why it wasn’t done and to complete it so that we have the evidence – and keep our residents safe.”
Currently, there are condominiums in the GTA digitally tracking the cleaning of touch points in the building every three hours as part of their COVID-19 response plan.
“If they forget, the staff are reminded until it’s completed, and the date and time stamped evidence is maintained forever,” says Reid. “In risk management, it’s this evidence of completion that’s as important as the task.”
Rebecca Gicante oversees administration and special projects at National Life Safety Group and is a certified corporate wellness specialist.