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Best Practices- Maintenance

Pet-Friendly Upgrades!

by Christin D. on 3/19/2020 1:52:00 PM

Earlier this year, the National Multifamily Housing Council released it’s “2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report,” and the results solidified what has become a known fact: our residents LOVE their pets!
That’s right, just as suspected, residents will often compare properties pet-friendly perks when searching for their new home, and it could make or break their renting decision at your community!  
Know what makes them tick
Successful community teams are actively prioritizing how well their property features cater to the needs of four-legged residents. They are up to date on their competitor’s pet-friendly offerings and constantly strategize ways to engage the community with their next-level features. That “little something extra” separates the pet-friendly features from serving just as an amenity and skyrocket it up a level to a full-blown experience. Perhaps you could incorporate the same at your property with Buyers Access and Pets and Playground this year?
It pays to love pet’s
The love of four-legged family members doesn’t come without its benefits to property teams. Herein lies the perfect opportunity for properties to capitalize on the prioritization of pets and making leasing and retention a breeze! Renter’s will often place their pet’s comfort before their own when weighing rental decisions, and they will pay for it too! According to the 2020 preferences report, these additional features can generate an additional $28 - $34 per month per apartment! Partner with a purchasing consultant like Buyers Access, and you can utilize our team of supplier partners like

 Pets and Playgrounds to source your upcoming amenity projects. Saving with us and streamlining the process while using the expertise of our partners, you will recoup the cost in no-time!
What’s hot right now
So how can you upgrade or begin attracting these dedicated pet owners to your community? Easy! Here are some ideas to get you going:
  1. Turn the old computer lab or package room into a “paw spa” fully equipped with grooming supplies, state of the art air-dryers’, and local pet confection’s like gourmet treats, shampoos, and other fun grabs that give that extra charm.
  2. Create a pet of the month club and have local pet food and supply vendors participate in a monthly winner awarding them with treats of choice through their business. It’s a way to get their name out and partner with the local community while praising furry residents. Don’t forget about cats!!!
  3. Are your community tennis courts not getting used? Maybe upgrading them into an outdoor agility course with faux turf and people-friendly fire pits would be a better pull. This way, your residents can interact regardless of whether they have pets or not and be in the same space within the community. This interaction will build an amenity that residents won’t want to leave, and prospects will want to know.
 
 
 
Personalize the experience
Catering to the love of residents and their pets can not only help secure leases and renewals but also will promote an overall sense of community depending on how you leverage the additions. Hosting that monthly “Yappy Hour” isn’t a bad idea and pet’s or no pet’s, wine, and apps are always welcome!
The conversation will attract a crowd, and before you know it, the “Yappy Hour” is awaited by all residents alike.
 
 
 
 
Let’s do this for the pets!
It’s heating up, and the weather will generate demand for pet-friendly features. Why not capitalize on the opportunity, have some fun, and add value to your
 asset in the meantime?
Contact Buyers Access to see how our solutions and partnerships can help make your amenity upgrades a breeze. The savings and efficiency will create a profitable ROI in record time, and it’s likely one of the easiest projects you will ever do. Click to contact us or reach out to your Account Manager for more information.
 
 



Best Practices- Maintenance

Behind every successful property: Account Managers of Buyers Access

by Christin D. on 12/13/2019 2:46:00 PM

 

Behind Every Successful Property: Buyers Access Account Management Inside Edition

On-site property management teams face insurmountable challenges that are highly unpredictable at times. Every day, opportunity to overcome multiple obstacles exists. With the best intentions, purchasing activities frequently cannot be managed by on-site teams without additional support. That is where Buyers Access and the Account Management team come into play and can add extensive supplemental resources to aid in the domination of purchasing and procurement activities. Your company on-site teams will not fully execute and optimize purchasing by working just a bit harder or longer. They need expert resources and support, they need a Buyers Access Account Manager.
 
Account Managers at Buyers Access are what your company needs to outperform the average competitor in today’s market. Our Account Management group is responsible for optimizing the purchasing of 600,000+ units across the nation, and we have been doing it for 35+ years. In addition, a full Member Services department exists to support the daily expense optimization at your properties, and act as an extension of your site teams by doing administrative legwork.
 
So, what is this mysterious species, a Buyers Access Account Manager?
 
Buyers Access Account Manager (n.):
1. Heroic purchasing optimization warriors who save property management companies from wasting time and money. 2. A secret weapon who requires a diet of wasted time, money, and frivolous spend. 3. Obsessive, over caring, sometimes crazed, forward thinkers.
 
 
Sometimes the full impact of the many challenges experienced at the on-site level are hard to realize in full capacity if the observer is not in the trenches. The Account Management team at Buyers Access is nothing short of a dynamic group of people, but how can they impact your business.
 
Below are a few examples of the many successes that took place in 2019.
  • Over 500 toilets were purchased and installed, generating a total savings of $70,000! Strategic sourcing and negotiation combined with a streamlined, all-in-one solution created this huge savings. Through the help of a Buyers Access Account Manager, when this project was rebid under an all-in-one philosophy, the new quote was $20K less than the best quote previously obtained.
  • A medium-sized, established, customer elected to have in-person training for over 50 of their on-site team members. Closing out 2019, the results were an increased NOI through an overall reduction in purchasing expenditures. The team reported that the training helped them a great deal and they feel they operate more efficiently through using the Buyers Access resources at their full capacity.
  • 15 consecutive renovations executed within one year were accomplished by an owner with the support of a Buyers Access Account Manager. The Account Manager worked together with the owner to plan, track, standardize, install, audit, and execute all 15 projects, and acted as the de-facto Project Manager. Products with higher durability replaced less expensive options, however this member paid less! Credits and additional rebates were found that the company qualified for, pricing consistency checks and balances were established, and savings/rebates were substantial. This made investor calls a breeze for leadership!

2019 strategy won't make 2020's NOI

Multifamily management companies have weathered significant changes in regulations in 2019. New laws ranging from rent control implementation in some states to extension of the “notice-to-cure” period on evictions in others, to revenue from ancillary income being more heavily regulated by some local jurisdictions . All these new challenges have made not only the 2020 budget process more difficult, but also day to day operations. Buyers Access members hold a distinct advantage for many of these challenges through their connection to our program. They have Account Managers negotiating on their behalf often uncovering saving opportunities, standardizing product lists yielding competitive and consistent pricing, and uncovering potential rebates by aggregating sourcing from suppliers.

 
The bar is set high and it raises daily. Through brilliant strategy, firm negotiations, and endless support, companies win, and so do we for them! Most Buyers Access team members have been on site and know first- hand the challenges that exist, they have lived it. Strategic planning on budgets with Buyers Access vs. those without are like night and day due to the support, resources, and saving strategies Account Managers help implement.
 
I asked one Account Manager to tell me about an experience where she impacted the lives of others through the mastery of her craft, and here’s what she said.
 
"I would have to say that happens daily. Having been on-site, I know how much we do daily to help managers and maintenance staffs, and they do too. Sometimes it is as simple as telling them which dishwasher they usually order. We are always here to lean on. That's a big deal."
 
What is stopping you from gaining “access” with the Buyers Access program at your organization?
 

Contact Buyers Access

 

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

October is Fire Safety Month in Multi-family

by Christin D. on 10/14/2019 5:34:31 PM

Welcome to Fire Safety Month

The month of October brings about some of the Fall seasons best comforts, as the leaves turn and the temperature drops. This can mean more pumpkin spice latte’s, or s’mores nights, social gatherings over delicious home cooked meals, and maybe throwing a few logs on the fire place. With the increase in heating and cooking during this time of the year there also comes the increased risk of fire. Because of this, October is known as Fire Safety Month. Whether you are a service provider, CEO, or on-site team member, as multi-family professionals, we all play a critical role in the area of fire prevention, precaution, and safety. So, what are some of the industry’s best practices in terms of fire safety?

Causes of Fire in Multi-family

Residential fires made up 29.1% of total fires by property type in some of the most recent data available, making it the second most common fire type behind outdoor fires. Closer living quarters and adjoining walls in multi-family structures increase the risk of fire. Fire in these structures can also impact more people and cause damage on a larger scale at a more rapid pace due to the co-existence of many in a single building.
Cooking fires made up 51.6% as the leading cause of all residential fires, with heating being the second most prevalent. The kitchen and bedrooms are also statistically the most common places for fires to start in residential homes. Residential buildings that include baseboard heaters, space heaters, electric stoves, and fireplaces heighten the risk of both instances occurring. For all these reasons and many more, ongoing fire safety and preparedness is extremely important for multi-family sites during October, the colder months, and throughout the year.

Provide Information in Advance

What things can we do as multi-family professionals to decrease fire risk? One of the most important things we can do is provide residents and teams detailed and easily understood fire information for education, training, preparedness and prevention. Furthermore, property management teams should have detailed working knowledge and training on how to respond to these emergency situations. Partnering with local fire departments, or Buyers Access vendors such as Cintas, is a great source to conduct fire safety training sessions with employees and residents at community gatherings. Get everyone as knowledgeable and prepared as possible, and be proactive!

Drafting a Property Specific Fire Safety Guide

When developing a fire safety guide to provide residents and team members, include a building diagram that marks the location of fire extinguishers, evacuation routes, stairwells, and fire pulls. The diagram should also identify designated exterior meeting areas for residents, vendors, and staff when evacuating the building. Other things to include are alternate routes for evacuation, additional stair access, tips for handling various emergency conditions such as smoke, being trapped, pets, and any other property specific information that may be helpful.

Staff Training

Time is everything when it comes to fire. Every 30 seconds a flame can double, filling up a room in a matter of minutes and making each second crucial. Organization and confidence should be a priority when training staff members on fire protocol. There is no guarantee that the community manager or service manager will be available to guide other employees during a fire, so it’s also important to plan and train accordingly. Team members gain confidence through education, and communication, role playing, and fire drills. Working with Buyers Access account managers and vendors can assist in this training process.

Types of Fire Safety Inspections

Multifamily communities have a critical responsibility to ensure certain fire and life safety requirements are always being met. Because of this, annual inspections are often required by local officials to ensure that code requirements are being met. Inspections on building fire alarm panels, pull station operation, fire extinguisher expiration dates, fire sprinklers, and visual requirements such as clear pathways are some of the more important fire related inspection items. If a property is in violation of any of these areas, authorities can issue an “order to comply” and issue fines until repairs have been completed.

Fire Safety Every Day

There are many other things to consider when protecting a community from fire hazards, which should be considered daily. Any time any fire safety device is malfunctioning it should be addressed and remediated immediately. Preventative maintenance inspections can serve as a great time to inspect interior and exterior fire safety devices. Encouraging residents to notify management of any safety risks is also helpful in case it is overlooked or not caught immediately by property staff.
A very common fire safety issue is burnt out “Emergency Exit” signs in hallways. Changing these bulbs promptly or utilizing LED bulbs in Exit signs, can minimize this risk. Fire doors should be automatically self-closing when the alarm sounds. Paying close attention to anything blocking these doors or preventing them from self-closing should be a priority, along with ensuring ease of ingress and egress in common areas at all times. If the fire doors are always closed, make sure self-closing and latching hardware are operating correctly so they consistently close immediately behind users.
 

Conclusion

Fire safety awareness is crucial no matter what time of year, and the above recommendations are a good start to protecting your property from associated risks. We hope you will apply some of the aforementioned best-practices into your fire safety routine. Buyers Access supplier partners such as Cintas and SmartBurner, can offer members quality solutions and services associated with fire safety. If you are in need of additional support or are curious on the savings you can realize by gaining access to the Buyers Access program, contact us at 1-800-445-9169 or by email Basales@buyersaccess.com. If your already a valued customer and are in need of assistance, reach out to member services by emailing memberservices@buyersaccess.com or contact your account manager.

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

Budget Season is Upon Us!

by Christin D. on 6/11/2019 4:06:00 PM

The next few months in multi-family management will be the busiest time of the year for many properties. The summer months typically include an influx of residents and prospects searching for new homes, a higher number of expiring leases up for renewal, employees cycling through vacation time, increased HVAC maintenance calls, and its swimming pool season. Then, as soon as you catch your breath, the first draft of your budget is due. Whether this is your first budget or your 50th, proper preparation can make the experience and budget season a success. In this article, we will help to define and provide some tools to inspire your quest with this year’s budget season!

Unit by unit inspections

If you haven’t done so already, it is a great idea to conduct an annual or bi-annual unit-by-unit walk of your property. This is especially important for properties 10 years or older. Unit-by-unit walks can help teams plan for recurring capital replacements, renovation projects, and turn costs. For turnkey costs, click on the following highlighted words to link to our flooring and paint estimation tool for budget expense forecasting.
Collecting serial numbers and appliance information can also make life easier in many ways and is good information to have on hand. You never know when you will have that on-call emergency refrigerator or stove malfunction over a holiday weekend, and you will need to look up relevant information. Unit-by-unit inspections and inventories are great for preventative maintenance, forecasting turnkey expenses, planning large capital projects, and to identify any hazards that may not have been reported. You may even catch a few unauthorized pets or other lease violations in the process.
 

Pricing for vendor services

Contact current vendors and see if they are going to be keeping their rates the same or if rates will be changing in any way. The Buyers Access® Account Management team and Member Services departments can obtain the best possible pricing for all your products and help to make this a much easier process. Wouldn’t it be great to have an advocate that is constantly focused on bringing savings into your budget, and a higher NOI?

Capital projects

Completing unit-by-unit inspections along with an exterior and interior common area inspection is required when building your short term and long-term capital project plan. The Buyers Access® suite of services includes access to Bidders Access®, a comprehensive capital project bidding platform. For more about Bidders Access and how it can help you this budget season, please click on the following link www.biddersaccess.com, or speak with your Account Manager to get started right away.

Recurring operating expenses

Completing an audit of all contracts is also a helpful budget tool. Click on the following highlighted words to access a contract audit spreadsheet to use when conducting a contract audit. Budgeting the necessary amounts for contracts currently in place, and that will affect the upcoming budget season, is key to maintaining accuracy throughout the year on property financial statements and variance reports.

Income

When drafting the Income portion of your budget, it is important to look at historical rental increases, fees, and other income categories. and how they have performed over the past 5 years as well as the past 12 months in detail. Pulling reports on market conditions from apartment data sites and analyzing historical and current market data will help to forecast income categories such as application, administration, and pet fees, to name a few. Also, pulling industry data for your area can help forecast projected rental increases for lease renewals and potential rent growth on turns. Historically, most properties typically see between 3-5% rental increases, but some may realize higher gains if in a high demand market, or if there are other factors such as a substantial rehab.

Other expenses and bids

Click on the following highlighted words to access a payroll expense spreadsheet, which is designed to aid in the calculation of the annual payroll expenses by a property, or by portfolio. Also included is a standard budget worksheet and a bid comparison form to aid in the overall planning of recurring and non-recurring operating and capital expenses.
The document library below is for anyone to use as a tool to aid in preparing for an annual property budget. For a full property spending analysis contact our team at 1-800-445-9169, or email Buyers Access® at sales@buyersaccess.com.

Document Library

  1. Standard Budget Worksheet
  2. Summary of Contracts per Property
  3. Capital Replacement Worksheet
  4. Flooring per Apartment
  5. How Much Paint Do You Need Per Apartment
  6. Payroll Spreadsheet for Budgeting
  7. Bid Comparison Form

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

Prepare for your Property Inspection!

by Christin D. on 6/4/2019 4:55:34 PM

You are sitting in your office and all of the sudden you get the email…your annual inspection is coming up! What do you do first? Managing residential property on behalf of property owners is a big responsibility. Protection and preservation of the asset, along with minimizing liability and associated risks, should always be at the front of any manager’s mind.
Property inspections can take on many forms. Inspections can be done for improvement grants, financing compliance, state and federal affordable housing programs, and annual property insurance. Depending on the extent of the inspection required and the organization conducting the inspection, there are some universal best practices recommended to help you prepare. Whether it be a lender, HUD, or an asset manager, it is always a good idea to make sure the property is operating at it’s highest potential. Let's take a look at some areas to touch on when preparing for a property inspection.

Is there a checklist?

Depending on what kind of inspection there is going to be on your property, there is a good chance that you can form a checklist yourself, or find one from your local apartment association, lender, or the inspection organization themselves. This list is a helpful piece of information to have, especially for those newer to the multi-family management industry who have not been through a property inspection previously.
If you are able to obtain a copy of the guidelines for the inspection, you can identify and spot check exactly what to look for. Preparing for inspection well in advance is a critical step to a successful inspection, and it is better to be over prepared by leaving plenty of time for unforeseen challenges.

Where to start

If you are unable to obtain a checklist, there are plenty of ways to strategize and form a plan of action. First, look for safety concerns posing potential risk. Second, focus on maintenance issues or possibly even deferred maintenance elements that may exist. Bidders Access®, the newest edition to the Buyers Access® suite of services, can easily help you obtain bids for large capital projects.
Finally, examine every aspect of your asset for general cleanliness and appeal. Look at landscaping. Make sure shurbs are manicured and overgrown hedges are cut low to create good visibility. Pressure wash all concrete halls, staircases and/or decking. Ensure these surfaces are level and no trip hazards exist. Repair cracked stairs and rotten wood as needed.
 

Place orders now

The last thing you want to do when it comes to an inspection is to be concerned with whether your replacement windows and doors will come in fast enough to make required repairs. Talk to your Buyers Access® Account Manager or contact our Member Services team to place an order. Another great feature of the Buyers Access® program is help in finding hard-to-locate items. Leverage the Buyers Access® team to perform research and ordering support, thus maximizing your time to focus on other critical elements.

Exterior hazard control

Completing property inspection walks on a weekly basis and documenting any needed repairs is a best practice many management companies require of their on-site teams. Before an inspection, complete a thorough walk of the property and notate any siding, sidewalk, or parking lot damages. Research and negotiate product purchasing by using your Buyers Access® Account Manager and Member Services teams. Doing so will ensure you get the best supplier pricing and the correct items delivered.

Meet with your team

Inform your team of items on the pre-inspection list that caused concern. Hold a team meeting to review the pre and post inspection checklists, and inform them of the outcomes, items discussed, and any feedback. This empowers everyone on the team to play “offense” and tackle for-seen property needs as they arise. By learning what to look for teams can work together to ensure the property is always in great shape.

Conclusion

Property inspections are important to do on a regular basis to avoid situations where you have to scramble to prepare. Above we have reviewed some key pieces to the puzzle when prepping for property inspections. It’s always tough to get ready for an inspection on a moments notice, especially when unprepared. Maintaining company and industry inspection best practices can prevent your property from needing an overhaul when it’s time for an inspection. What ways do you prepare for a property inspection on your asset? Leave your ideas and methods in the comments!

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

3 Reasons to Convert to LED

by Christin D. on 5/30/2019 9:38:59 AM

Property utility expenses have become a line item on budgets that has been getting more attention in recent years. Causes of this attention include a rise in environmental concerns, focus on tighter cost controls when selecting fixtures for use in multi-family buildings, and studies showing significant time and cost savings by reduction of bulb replacements.
Together, property management teams, Buyers Access™, and supplier partners, have implemented extremely successful solutions to minimize the cost of utilities. Buyers Access™ has been instrumental in helping owners and operators complete several successful retrofits to LED lighting, and other energy conservation programs for assets built prior to the more economic and environmentally acceptable alternatives now available. LED retrofits and water conservation programs are two of the larger budgeted line items Buyers Access™ continues to see being considered across the nation.
Why fix something that isn’t broken? Here we will examine 3 reasons why you should include an LED Retrofit proposal with your next budget “wish list” items, and reasons to take the LED retrofit challenge.


Better control over electrical costs-
LED lighting lasts 15 times longer than the incandescent bulbs that were formerly widely used in new construction. Shifting to LED means less time spent by maintenance personnel changing bulbs with a higher frequency of burn out, as well as a lower cost of materials over time.
In 2008, LED bulbs were quite expensive. Since then, LED bulbs have reduced in cost by up to 90 percent. LED bulbs use significantly less energy and dramatically decreases common area electrical expenses. Substantial savings in energy consumption can be realized by properties electing to undertake an LED retrofit project with Buyers Access™.


Reduction in property carbon footprint-
Incandescent bulbs use an average of 70% more electricity than LED bulbs. Switching to LED bulbs preserves energy consumption and reduces the carbon footprint. Less waste is generated with the longer lasting LED bulbs as a result of less frequent bulb changes, which positively impacts the environment.
There are numerous grants and energy rebates which may also be available to your property if you choose to undergo an LED retrofit. Buyers Access™ and its supplier partners work diligently nationwide to plan these projects from start to finish, allowing properties to realize cost and rebate savings upon completion, and for years to come.


Reduction in property risk and increased aesthetic appeal-
Liability is dramatically reduced when areas are well lit and when bulbs burn out less frequently. Keeping up with lighting inspections and the constant replacement of bulbs gives any maintenance team concerns, especially on properties with interior hallways, or that have darker locational challenges.
Recently a variety of information has been published regarding LED lighting vs. other forms of lighting, and the potential correlation to productivity and mood. The change to LED lighting for increased productivity is something that could benefit the communities. Aesthetic appeal can also increase upon an LED retrofit project through nicely illuminated hallways and parking lots. This can potentially help to retain existing residents, and secure new prospects. Add this with the cost savings, and an LED retrofit will pay for itself over time.


Your next steps-
Buyers Access™ and its supply partners are dedicated to partnering with industry leading manufacturers specializing in LED retrofits. If you are currently a member of Buyers Access™ and would like a quote for a site wide LED retrofit project, contact your Account Manager and we will obtain a variety of pricing options and strategies to complete the project. If you are interested in learning more about how Buyers Access™ can help your team, please reach out to our sales department at sales@buyersaccess.com and a specialist will be in touch with you and start a complimentary analysis on savings.

 

 



References:
The Power of LED Lighting (2019, May) Rooflines Vol. 55 No. 5., p. 23-25. Aaron Smith, Senior Lighting Consultant at LFP Lighting.
Shaw, P. (2018, August 1). LED Lights the way to savings. Multi-housing Pro Magazine Online.




Best Practices- Maintenance

3 Reasons to Convert to LED

by Christin D. on 5/29/2019 4:54:00 PM

Property utility expenses have become a line item on budgets that has been getting more attention in recent years. Causes of this attention include a rise in environmental concerns, focus on tighter cost controls when selecting fixtures for use in multi-family buildings, and studies showing significant time and cost savings by reduction of bulb replacements.
Together, property management teams, Buyers Access™, and supplier partners, have implemented extremely successful solutions to minimize the cost of utilities. Buyers Access™ has been instrumental in helping owners and operators complete several successful retrofits to LED lighting, and other energy conservation programs for assets built prior to the more economic and environmentally acceptable alternatives now available. LED retrofits and water conservation programs are two of the larger budgeted line items Buyers Access™ continues to see being considered across the nation.
Why fix something that isn’t broken? Here we will examine 3 reasons why you should include an LED Retrofit proposal with your next budget “wish list” items, and reasons to take the LED retrofit challenge.

Better control over electrical costs-

LED lighting lasts 15 times longer than the incandescent bulbs that were formerly widely used in new construction. Shifting to LED means less time spent by maintenance personnel changing bulbs with a higher frequency of burn out, as well as a lower cost of materials over time.
In 2008, LED bulbs were quite expensive. Since then, LED bulbs have reduced in cost by up to 90 percent. LED bulbs use significantly less energy and dramatically decreases common area electrical expenses. Substantial savings in energy consumption can be realized by properties electing to undertake an LED retrofit project with Buyers Access™.
 

Reduction in property carbon footprint-

Incandescent bulbs use an average of 70% more electricity than LED bulbs. Switching to LED bulbs preserves energy consumption and reduces the carbon footprint. Less waste is generated with the longer lasting LED bulbs as a result of less frequent bulb changes, which positively impacts the environment.
There are numerous grants and energy rebates which may also be available to your property if you choose to undergo an LED retrofit. Buyers Access™ and its supplier partners work diligently nationwide to plan these projects from start to finish, allowing properties to realize cost and rebate savings upon completion, and for years to come.
 

Reduction in property risk and increased aesthetic appeal-

Liability is dramatically reduced when areas are well lit and when bulbs burn out less frequently. Keeping up with lighting inspections and the constant replacement of bulbs gives any maintenance team concerns, especially on properties with interior hallways, or that have darker locational challenges.
Recently a variety of information has been published regarding LED lighting vs. other forms of lighting, and the potential correlation to productivity and mood. The change to LED lighting for increased productivity is something that could benefit the communities. Aesthetic appeal can also increase upon an LED retrofit project through nicely illuminated hallways and parking lots. This can potentially help to retain existing residents, and secure new prospects. Add this with the cost savings, and an LED retrofit will pay for itself over time.

Your next steps-

Buyers Access™ and its supply partners are dedicated to partnering with industry leading manufacturers specializing in LED retrofits. If you are currently a member of Buyers Access™ and would like a quote for a site wide LED retrofit project, contact your Account Manager and we will obtain a variety of pricing options and strategies to complete the project. If you are interested in learning more about how Buyers Access™ can help your team, please reach out to our sales department at sales@buyersaccess.com and a specialist will be in touch with you and start a complimentary analysis on savings.
 

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

Are you ready for emergencies?

by Christin D. on 5/21/2019 11:23:00 AM

 How prepared are you?

Inclement weather and other natural disasters are better braved with a plan and preparation rather than spur of the moment actions. The past several years has exhibited many challenges in the form of natural disasters for the multi-family management industry. This leaves us asking, “What are some things we can do today to better prepare for tomorrow?”.
The information below is designed to be a guideline, and a proactive approach to emergency response planning that can be taken now to prepare for an emergency later.

Step 1: Review your Property Risk Assessment

Multifamily apartment communities not only have risks associated with daily operations, but they also have larger potential emergency situations to prepare for. Both categories can be looked at in similar ways, but may be approached differently. Performing an emergency response risk assessment outside of your typical property risk assessment will help zero in on potentially larger catastrophic emergency situations. Some of these are:

  • Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado/Hurricanes
  • Along with all the side effects such as power loss, high wind damages, personal safety, etc.

At Buyers Access™, we recommend that management companies have a well-rounded understanding regarding their insurance companies’ expectations and coverage's when it comes to natural disasters and emergency response situations.

Step 2: Identify Region Specific Natural Hazards

If you are in a certain region of the country, chances are there are specific natural threats that your community faces. For example, if your property is in Miami, Florida, preparing for hurricanes, flooding, and heavy winds could reveal potential opportunities for risk elimination. Those in the northern part of the country may have blizzards and snow storms to worry about in the winter months. Keeping these ideas in mind, a higher focus on potential damage and liability involved with the specific risk condition can help your team gear up for potentially larger disasters.

Step 3: Update the Emergency Response Plan

The service team and community manager along with any other support teams/partners such as Buyers Access™, should walk the property to look for all specific risks, and document all potential risk factors. Contact Buyers Access™ and work with our team to develop a specific plan for any necessary supplies needed, such as generators, first aid supplies, storm shutters, etc. Make sure to always have plenty of drinking water available in case of loss of power or damaged plumbing. What other things should you think of to include in the plan?

Step 4: Draft or Update the Emergency Response Plan

When drafting the emergency response plan, below are a few questions to ask and points to consider making your plan as complete and comprehensive as possible.

  1.  Alarms, where are they located and how will they be shut off
  2. Emergency call list- make sure this is always up to date
  3. Command Centers- where will everyone report to, and when?
  4. What is the communication plan to residents?
  5. What community resources are available for your team to use and what is their contact information?
  6. What are the evacuation routes?
  7. Ensure hazardous materials are safely stored.
  8. Identify areas of relocation.
  9. Have a list of vendor contacts easily accessible to save valuable time in case of an emergency.
  10. Know where your utility shut offs are! Mark a property map with utility shut offs and electrical points of importance for everyone to know.
  11. Review and include a copy of any corporate specific policies and procedures having to do with emergency response.
  12. Finally, review the above with your entire team and ensure everyone has access to and knows where this information is kept, and how it is accessed.

Time to act!

Now that we have covered some emergency response plan and natural disaster basics, it’s time to apply some of the points at your property with your team. If you are a supplier, ask yourself what you can do to ensure the properties you call on are prepared for emergencies? Buyers Access™ assists suppliers and multifamily properties in determining their needs and solutions every day nationwide. Some of the most prepared properties are those utilizing the extensive resources of supplier management and purchasing optimization that Buyers Access™ can provide. If you are interested in learning more about Buyers Access and how we can help you and your emergency response processes, contact our Ken Miller, VP of Sales for Buyers Access™ at kmiller@buyersaccess.com or by calling 864-630-8083.
 

 




Best Practices- Maintenance

4 Things You Should Do for Your Property Pools, Now!

by Shelly L. on 5/14/2019 4:48:00 PM

The sun is shining, the weather is heating up, and in the world of multifamily most of us know this means two things: air conditioning calls and pool season. Buyers Access™ purchasing program and dedicated team members are committed to assisting our clients, and the industry, in opening and having a happy and safe pool season. Often, the preparation that goes into swimming pool season in multifamily property management can be the difference between a fun and a frazzled summer on site. In this article, Buyers Access™ reviews 4 important things to remember when facing pool season this year.

1. Plan for the inspection
It’s is a great idea to begin planning for your pool to be inspected at least 1 month prior to opening if it is required by your local health department. This can allow enough time to address any concerns that your pool inspector may have regarding your pool prior to allowing it to officially open. Let’s look at some categories the Buyers Access™ team helps on-site managers and suppliers connect on when prepping the pool for opening inspection.

  • Check pool equipment and ensure it is in good repair. Check any necessary flow rates per ordinance and make sure that pool equipment is in operating condition to meet any required flow rate criteria.
  • Pool filter cleanliness and operation level. Is the filtration system taking out the unnecessary particles from your properties pool?
  • Inspect pools deck and drain safety. Make sure that all main drain covers, pool deck safety equipment, and decking are in good repair. Make sure you have extra necessary pool equipment such as ropes in case something is broken or malfunctions on a crowded weekend. It is always better to be prepared!
  • Ensure that you have enough of the needed pool chemicals present. Check chemical automation systems and be sure to store the chemicals in a locked and marked location.

2. Train and update the team
Training is imperative for a safe and enjoyable pool season. It is a best practice for maintenance personnel to attend training, which Buyers Access™ can offer free of charge through its Account Managers and various supplier partners. Having a team of experts on your side is always beneficial, and they are just a phone call away. Here are a few training ideas for you and your on-site management team to brush up on going into swimming pool season:

  • Make sure anyone required to have a valid “CPO” or Certified Pool Operator certification has valid instatement and non-expired credentials.
  • Keep your CPO certificates in a location on-site for reference.
  • Get with your purchasing and procurement partner, such as Buyers Access™, and set up a training to teach and review common chemical safety practices each year.

3. Balance and perform routine checks of chemicals, and know what to do in an emergency!
Chemistry is not something to be taken lightly, and both airborne and fluid water pathogens can cause health concerns, and potentially injuries. Reiterate to all staff members who deal with chemicals the importance of chemical handling, storage, labeling, usage, and safety.

  • Call your Account Manager for any questions regarding your pool chemicals and they can connect you with a preferred supplier to provide the necessary assistance.
  • Keep accurate daily chemical records, whether manually or electronically, and ensure records are stored properly.

4. Safety First
Pool safety is not something to take lightly and is a potential liability every day. Ensure you are on the offense every day by completing the above steps along with daily checks below:

  • Inspect pool decks for any potential trip hazards, glass, or anything else that could cause injury.
  • Ensure your emergency equipment and phones are in working order.
  • Check your chemicals as required by local ordinance or other requirements at least once per day.
  • Maintain good records for chemical logs and know where to find the Certified Pool Operator’s certificate in case it is requested by local health department.
  • Ensure you are storing chemicals safely. Do not store chemicals together or near water where they can cause injury.

Pool season is a substantial responsibility, but it can be enjoyable for all parties if prepared for properly. All of the suggestions in the above can be further discussed with your Buyers Access™ team and recommended supplier partners to ensure you have the support, training, and equipment you need at the best possible price and quality.

Let us know how we can help to make this year’s swimming pool season safe and fun!




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