News/20 Dec 2019

Clicking with tech boosts residents and building owners

Service is the latest buzz word in residential property. Whether for serviced luxury apartments, new, build to rent blocks or traditional rental sector portfolios, residents are rightly demanding more prompt and effective service from their property managers.

This applies to all residents, whether they are owner occupiers or renters. For owners and investors, an effective property manager will protect their asset, drive returns, mitigate risk and add value to all aspects of the investment. Underpinning this best in class property management, is systems and technology. Advancements in this area has transformed the sector and is enabling managers to place customers, clients and convenience at the heart of delivery, whilst concurrently driving asset performance and managing risk.

Technology now provides us with the ability to have a single central data source which holds significant information, from rental and lettings analytics to real time data on gym usage patterns, and energy efficiency tracking. This valuable intel provides us with amazing insight to drive asset performance and to tailor services to clients and residents alike. Clients also have access to real time dashboards which helps to align strategy and oversight.

We are fast moving to a world where all residential occupiers will have apps and web-based technology as an integral part of their living experience. Useful tech already enables residents to self-manage parcel delivery and collection, undertake viewings virtually and remotely approve access at any time of the day and night. Residents, particularly those among us that are time poor and digital savvy, have come to expect this level of service.

However, residents will also expect to be able to communicate directly with building managers and vice versa via apps. This might be as simple as accessing their concierge, arranging a washing machine repair, picking up a parcel or scheduling a dry-cleaning service. Furthermore, residents and managers can be in touch more frequently about key service related matters, such as rental and service charge payments, maintenance and general property related functions. Web-based technology streamlines this process and makes it easier for both parties to communicate.

Technology is helping to bring renters together too. A growing number of customers and building owners are using tech and social media playing to get residents together and foster a sense of community. This is not popular in build to rent, but also in co-living, student accommodation and owner occupier apartment blocks.

In building management, technology has improved efficiency and results in both monitoring and managing a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and other services such as fire safety systems, lighting and lifts. The Internet of Things (IoT), allows real-time monitoring with for example, moisture sensors picking up leaks or other system malfunctions, so that action can be taken even before residents become aware of an issue. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is also affecting a revolution in lifecycle modelling and maintenance performance.

Now, systems can be interrogated, faults diagnosed and action such as replacement of a chilling unit fan or a pump can be done before breakdown. This avoids breakdowns from

escalating, preventing major damage to a building’s systems, significant disruption and all of expense this entails. The latest intelligent building solutions also provide a boost for energy efficiency, ultimately saving residents money.

For investors and property managers alike, quality and breadth of service for residents is essential. Unhappy residents move and this results in more voids and disrupted rental revenue.

The effective use of technology is imperative for professional management of large scale residential property, boosting the experience of residents, investors and property owners alike.