Fire safety – are your residents in the know?

Build to Rent operators are responsible for ensuring correct fire safety requirements are effectively communicated. Are your residents in the know?

Fire Safety for residents and operators in Build to Rent developments - Spike Global | BTR News

By Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO, Spike Global

Research by Building Engines revealed a disconnect between how effective real estate professionals perceive their communication with residents to be compared with the views of the residents themselves. The paper revealed that 75% of professionals felt confident that building occupants consistently received important information from them, but only 25% of the occupants agreed.

A residents’ portal allows tenants to engage more widely with their local community, providing access to services within the building and helping to connect residents with their neighbours via online clubs and forums. Even more crucially, it can play a key role in keeping tenants safe; a topic that is front of mind for many building providers in the current climate.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO at Spike Global discussing fire safety for residents and operators | BTR News
Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO, Spike Global.

The responsibility is on the landlord or property manager to ensure the correct fire safety requirements for the tenants and property are effectively communicated. They must prove that they have done everything within their power (that can reasonably be expected) to protect their property and tenants. From making sure the correct alarms are fitted, to ensuring furniture and materials are safe and informing residents of what to do in an emergency, including providing evacuation plans.

Often this information will have been shared as part of a new resident welcome pack during moving in day, alongside a stack of other paperwork needing to be read, signed and filed. One may wonder whether residents read and fully understand everything, and how many actually file it somewhere that can be easily accessible if needed? And what happens when there are updates to the information – do you print and mail out updated copies, or do you send out an email with the latest version attached, hoping it avoids ending up in their junk folder?

Using a resident mobile app, such as the fully-white labelled Spike Living software, this key information can be stored centrally and shared easily with every resident at a push of a button, notifying them that there is an updated version to be read and reviewed. Residents can also report any potential issues they spot by logging them through the built-in ticketing system, ensuring all enquiries are tracked and dealt with quickly and effectively, keeping the resident updated.

Recently, one of our clients had a major incident within one of its buildings, and another had a neighbouring building collapse. In both cases, along with other traditional methods of notifying residents, they were also able to send out urgent push notifications informing their residents within minutes about an immediate danger, so they could take the necessary action and evacuate the buildings. They were then able to provide regular updates about the incidents afterwards and respond to any queries and concerns that had been raised.

Technology has broken down traditional barriers that had previously existed between property managers and residents, opening up communication lines and allowing building users to become more engaged and informed when it comes to fire safety.

Spike Global creates software designed to keep buildings, occupants and communities connected. Spike’s residents’ portal Spike Living allows building users to engage more widely with their local community with access to services, amenities and key information updates.