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Modern Security Systems Save Money

Monday, 09th May 2011

Now hear this shocking thought, gang: I am firmly of the view that most decision-makers on executive committees view security in a dim light. They see it as a low priority, and a grudge purchase at best. They also think that security systems are just about keeping out thieves or vandals. They know that strata buildings have a fairly low break-in rate compared to a suburban house, so their view is pretty negative overall. I don't agree with it obviously, but I can understand how people come to that view.

Now, I believe that today’s security systems, properly designed and installed, can carry out a range of important and useful functions - beyond their traditional roles - in a strata building. I think that these systems can offer a great return on investment, because they can save money, and protect residents from risk. Most importantly, the business case can often be quite strong. I’ve seen Owner’s Corporations (O.C.’s) get back the entire cost of their systems within a 2 or 3-year period, through reduced insurance premiums and payouts, or from being able to avoid costly litigation or fine. Here’s the deal: way beyond protecting assets and people in a strata building, security systems can be - and should be - set up to achieve four major objectives: 1) Protecting the strata against claims and court cases. To achieve this objective, you require two things: a proven audit trail of events, and an ability show due diligence, or ’duty of care’. This is because, when a compensation claim starts up, the insurance company tries to identify any other party they can blame for the accident, and therefore get them to pay, instead of the insurance company. So, if the strata can’t easily prove it has carried out its ‘duty of care’ and been duly diligent, then it can get sued, essentially for contributory negligence. The trick here is to use security technology to defend the O.C. against such claims. 2) Ensuring residents comply with by-laws. Ask any strata resident or EC member what their real issues are, and security itself will usually be low priority. Real concerns (after budgetary and maintenance issues) are often things like illicit dumping of rubbish, misuse of common areas and facilities (gym, pool, rooftop terrace BBQ areas, etc), abuse of car-parking spaces – in other words, getting residents and guests to act in accordance with the by-laws. My experience shows that most stratas struggle with their by-laws. And…..if the EC can’t enforce compliance, you have a knock-on effect which translates into poorer quality tenants, unhappy owners and residents, and lower resale values for units – particularly as good-quality residents and tenants start to leave. And all of this is costly for the owners. 3) Helping to improve owner’s unit values General ‘big-picture’ real estate values in a city or state are well beyond the ability of an individual owner or O.C. to influence. However, for residents or investor/owners alike, it is absolutely vital that the value of their strata unit keeps pace or stays ahead of similar values within its area or suburb – and that value is heavily influenced by the decisions the strata makes about levies and investments in maintenance, upkeep….and new technology. The presence of security systems in a strata helps maintain higher rental rates, as good-quality tenants value security, and feel safe and comfortable. This, along with the perception that a secure building is well-managed and more likely to contain ‘solid citizens’ as neighbours, translates into better values for unit sales in a strata, if benchmarked against other stratas in the local market. 4) Managing Risk. It’s been calculated that just one single successful ‘slip & fall’ compensation claim against an O.C. could wipe out (or at the very least severely dent) the average strata’s sinking fund, as well as potentially tie up the strata in court for years. A strata operates like a family, in the sense that they generally take out some insurance, but also self-insure, by doing things like locking the doors, or putting the car in the garage at night, etc. A strata needs to do more than just take out insurance, as this action alone isn’t enough. Security systems can be the perfect ‘self-insurance’ tool for managing - and minimizing – risk. Let’s talk about new technology in security today for a moment……… It’s real important to note, my friends, that modern security technology is less expensive and more powerful and robust than ever before: it’s also much more intelligent. The average system today is a fraction of the cost of only 5 years ago – it’s making stratas re-think their strategy. For example, many older building’s intercom systems can now be upgraded to video handsets using the existing wiring – even if it’s 30 years old….and this can cut costs of an intercom upgrade by as much as 70%. Another example - today’s CCTV cameras are available in infra-red versions at low cost, and come with tremendous image quality in total darkness. It’s great for catching people who think they can’t be seen at night – and, being able to operate this way means you don’t need lighting, and this translates into lower energy costs for stratas. Some other examples of clever uses of new technology include: • Today’s access control systems can effectively manage auto-locking of common areas such as gymnasiums or rooftop terraces at night - no more noisy parties after midnight! They can even automatically make a duress call in the event of an emergency in the pool area. • The latest car-park access systems can ‘count’ how many cars a specific tenant has let into the garage, and disallow any more than the allocated number, until one of their vehicles has exited – thus dramatically reducing parking problems. • Biometrics (use of finger-scanners etc) and new encrypted access cards are tackling the growing and dangerous problem of over-tenanting in CBD high-rise buildings. In the past, over-tenanters (up to 12 students in a 2-bedroom unit) have been illegally copying access cards, and these new initiatives have made it a much tougher game for these people: they just tend to move on to a ‘softer target’ building, Look, the real challenge isn’t getting residents and EC members to understand the technology. The challenge lies in moving people from their pre-conceived ideas that any investment in security is to be avoided where possible, as it’s all dead money. I always explain to my strata clients that modern security systems often have a very good return on investment. Decision-makers need to take on board such issues as the real cost of insurance premiums or payouts, the real cost of having poor-quality tenants or over-tenanting problems in the complex – and how that can all translate into lower values for their unit. Bottom line: if you’re clever and can think strategically, you really can have your cake and eat it too, in the sense that you can improve the security and safety of your building and use those technologies and systems to save money. Cheers, gang….. as they used to say on Hill Street Blues..”and stay safe out there”. More soon from… The Nightwatchman

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Comment from Glassman on Tuesday, 07th March 2017

These modern security systems have very good technology used in it which is used to help the people from any sort risk and they also save money. According to essay writer reviews this type of system should be installed in every resident building which gives proper security to the residents living in that building.

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Comment from alicia on Tuesday, 05th January 2016

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