Top Considerations For Landlords When Planning A Commercial Building Security Strategy
If you own and rent out a commercial building, or if you are a property manager, you are probably already aware of the many things that can go wrong on a property. While there are certain perks to commercial property management, such as long-term leasing, better relationship with tenants, and tenants who are more engaged with maintenance of the property, there is still a need to consider the overall security of the property.
At the end of the day, there are many risks that come with poor security. All it takes is a single incident to make evident the many costs that can be a direct result of poor security. These costs include theft and vandalism, flawed emergency protocol, and potential legal liability. It’s important to not only protect the property but to also protect its tenants and employees.
Experienced landlords always have some sort of plan that mitigates the risks associated with these potential damages costs and liability costs. If you are evaluating your own property’s security strategy it’s important to ask yourself the following question:
What are the most important considerations I should make in order to develop the right security strategy for my property?
This guide will share insight into the most important priorities to consider when planning a commercial security strategy, as well as the best solutions for protecting your building. Keep reading to learn more and ultimately maximize your ability to prevent, and respond to, physical security breaches.
What Are The Top Considerations For Commercial Building Security?
Something that might come across as particularly surprising is the fact that a survey showed 20% of business leaders say they’ve experienced an increase in physical security breaches over the past year. The potential reasons behind this increase are limitless–economic concerns, stresses from the pandemic, and even cultural changes could be behind these infractions. As a landlord, these variables are often out of your control. What is in your control is the on-site security of the commercial property you’re managing. Being aware of the risks is the first step, but the next step is to figure out the best way to respond to them.
The best way to do this is to consider the specific situational risks that concern your individual property. What does your current system cover? Where could it use some improvements? Some of the most important security risks to identify are:
It is crucial to protect the spaces you rent from theft and vandalism. If the security system is not properly set up, or is even nonexistent, the property owner and/or landlord could be held liable and forced to replace the property if theft or damage to a renter’s property occurs. Never assume that your property is an unlikely target for theft or vandalism, and therefore neglect the need of a robust security framework. Do the bare minimum and assume that anything could happen.
If your property’s location is vulnerable to natural disasters like floods or hurricanes, it will be important to assess how well-prepared you are to deal with these disasters in your building. If your area is prone to natural disasters, this will be an important consideration to include in your security plan. This will also involve keeping an eye on the weather at all times and potentially creating contingency plans in the event of a natural disaster, such as evacuation plans, structural reinforcement, etc.
Natural disasters are not the only type of crisis you should consider. An assortment of crises could occur at any time. Regardless of the specific occasion, a robust security strategy must include clear evacuation procedures in the event that people do actually need to evacuate. This is important not only for protecting the lives of occupants, but also for protecting the property against liability and preventable mis-management.
You need to prevent unauthorized access to your commercial building to protect the building’s occupants’ property, data, and safety. All employees should be held responsible when it comes to maintaining a degree of confidentiality, of course. While this may not be a direct concern of the landlord, it is still important to make sure that the commercial property of concern has the right infrastructure so that the business operating there can control access to the building. Make sure you develop a bullet-proof understanding with any tenants about how sensitive data will be secured, how the building will be secured while not in use, and the extent by which non-authorized personnel may access sensitive areas.
Creating Your Security Plan
This section will go through the steps an effective property manager should take when developing an improved security strategy for their commercial property. This is the step that follows the careful identification and consideration of the relevant risks and demands that pertain to the property in question.
Creating the right security plan for a commercial property includes the hiring of security staff, the installation of top priority security systems, and the adaptation of appropriate security procedures to suit an extensive variety of situations.
Hire Security Staff
Depending on the specific security needs of the property, you may identify the need to hire security staff to oversee things. You can either hire security staff directly or hire the services of a security firm that will provide you with on-site officers. This will depend on budget and the specific demands that need to be met. Sometimes, all it takes is a thorough security system to protect the property from most concerns. However, if the property is in a location that is exposed to high amounts of traffic, or if volatile situations have occurred in the past, it makes sense to hire qualified security personnel so that the property can be protected in a faster, more hands on capacity.
Install Access Control
Access control is another critical part of protecting your buildings from theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access, which can save you a lot of money down the line. There are keyless entry systems that require a code or access data on devices rather than a physical key. An access control system is a cornerstone of building security.
Install Security Cameras
To identify security concerns quickly and resolve breaches with ease, it is always a good idea to install a commercial-grade video surveillance solution. When integrated with a solid access control system, video cameras can provide identity verification, allowing access misappropriation or unauthorized entries to be quickly resolved. Cameras can also be incredibly useful in litigious proceedings that depend on evidence. Again, they’re a fantastic way to reduce liability on the property.
Set up Security Procedures
Having the right technology, security staff, and contingency plans are definitely key factors in a robust security strategy for a property manager. However, they will only be useful in the event of an actual crisis or infraction. Something that many commercial property managers fail to ensure is that the tenants and employees are all completely aware of the expectations, procedures, and risks in play. The existence of a contingency plan is only valuable if it is made available to everyone who may depend on it in an emergency situation. It’s crucial that building occupants are aware that any surveillance is being performed in a professional, lawful capacity, to protect them as well as their colleagues in an environment that they may not be able to control. Before signing a lease with a new tenant, make sure that their business cultivates a culture of safety and security in the workplace by incorporating it into employee training–this is your right as the property manager or owner.
How To Implement Health And Safety Protection
Health has always been an important aspect of safety, especially in the workplace However, with the overwhelming effects of the recent coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that landlords consider health in their safety strategies for commercial property management.
A great way to approach these considerations is by providing occupancy management solutions and room booking software to prevent overcrowding and mitigate health concerns, during these times where the transmission of infectious disease is especially relevant. You can also provide wellness verification surveys that occupants must complete before being granted access to the building.
Never forget the importance of making sure the building is environmentally safe to occupy. Invest time and money into maintaining all plumbing, air conditioning, and insulation so that the growth of harmful pathogens, such as mold, is prevented. It is also prudent to perform yearly air quality assessments so that the occupational conditions of the building are known and, again, reinforced against liability.
Truly understanding the security risks of a commercial property is what will allow the development of a great security strategy. Property owners are, in many cases, responsible for protecting the integrity of a building, as well as the safety of its occupants. Security and safety are preventative measures, which means their results are not always evident. However, when they are well executed, property owners, and commercial tenants, will be better able to perform their duties, and will both be increasingly secured against catastrophe and liability.