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Buyers Access Solutions

Rent Growth VS. Expense Optimization - How do you measure up?

by Christin D. on 1/7/2020 4:50:00 PM

Another great way to drive NOI – rent growth alone is so 2019!

Pushing rent increases to drive NOI and relying on income alone sooner or later will take a back seat, and expense optimization will again prevail as the industry cycle moves towards economic slowdown. Multifamily management firms that stay ahead understand that NOI through expense optimization can be achieved easily by partnering with a Purchasing and Procurement Service Organization.


While intelligent expense management is always a common goal among companies, the opportunities to maximize this area of your business are on a different plane. Purchasing optimization as a strategy to drive NOI requires resources and expertise at a different caliber than one can do alone, which is why you need a specialized Purchasing Optimization Organization to partner with like Buyers Access.
 

Purchasing Quiz: Your purchasing defined

Activity: Select the number of each statement that your company currently has in place for purchasing and procurement activities. 
 
  1. Onsite teams have the necessary tools to complete purchasing activities effectively through our company resources and systems.
  2. Our current payables process eliminates pricing and invoicing discrepancies.
  3. We have the best pricing negotiated with multifamily industry MRO suppliers such as Home Depot Pro Multifamily, HD Supply, Maintenance Supply Headquarters, and like organizations.
  4. The procurement department handles purchasing activities at our company. For larger projects and renovations, we have regional maintenance and construction project managers that ensure efficiencies. 
  5. Our company has reporting metrics that track product spend, pricing, contractor scopes, and uncovers opportunities for further optimization.
  6. We have less than 1000 units and don’t need a purchasing service.
 

Now that you have your numbers match them with the numeric category below and  unlock insight into how to better drive NOI through expense optimization.

Don’t skip anything!

Scenario 1-

"Our site teams oversee our purchasing operations and have a (weekly) report they turn in showing the efficiency."

 
Operating efficiency is becoming harder to achieve and the reliance on site teams to a level that drives NOI is sadly unrealistic. Staffing challenges plague the multifamily industry, especially in maintenance. Residents also are now expecting an “On-Demand” lifestyle now that services like “Amazon-Prime” and others are able to deliver faster than ever. The expectation as created the same “On-Demand” expectations for residents and site-teams have to work fast! We can’t overlook it or balk on adopting it, we must keep up with innovation and deliver. Residents are the number one revenue driver in the multifamily industry so taking care of them to exceed their expectations is important and takes priority. Take care of your teams and your residents and place purchasing optimization in the hands of an inclusive purchasing organization specializing in the multifamily industry, such as Buyers Access.

Scenario 2

"Our site managers oversee our payables and are always catching duplicate invoices and price discrepancies right when they happen."

That is a good start, but your manager has so much more on their plate, such as monthly renewals, aggressive rent increase rates challenging retention efforts, overseeing maintenance, etc. The leasing teams, can they help? Where is maintenance? The leasing teams are fighting for their life to get leases and keep the property stabilized while growing GPR (Gross Potential Rent) in a highly competitive market. Maintenance is short-staffed and over-worked, your lender inspection is next week. Let us be the solution. Buyers Access gives on-site teams additional bench-strength through people who support daily purchasing activities, reporting, and contractor sourcing on-demand.

Scenario 3

"We have contract pricing with our suppliers already, and we get bulk discounts as it is."

Activity: Test your consistancy-

Let’s validate the price on one item by answering a simple question. You can do this on your own to see if this solution is performing at its highest potential.

  • Were you charged the same price on every faucet of the same item number from the same supplier in 2019 company or portfolio-wide?
  • If not, how many different prices were you charged for that same faucet from the same supplier in 2019?

Scenario 4

"Our procurement department already standardized the company product selection and negotiates these deals."

Having a procurement department is wonderful! Can your procurement department offer "On-Demand" support to your on-site maintenance and office teams to help with things like emergency contractor sourcing, returning incorrect items received, etc.? Do they offer an all-in-one eCommerce site to minimize the risk of pricing errors, save time through automation, or work to source and select "top-item" lists? Buyers Access' model is inclusive and will provide both managers and leadership visibility through customized reporting in real-time, approval controls, and other innovative solutions and strategies.

INTERMISSION! 

Are you still trying to figure out the answer to the faucet question in category 3?

- Let’s talk reporting.

The visibility you gain through operating data-driven purchasing activities makes answering this question easy. You may be struggling, and that is okay. Line item analysis and segregating products in GL code reports by supplier and item type can take a lot of time, time you may not have or can be better spent focusing on resident retention. Once you do find these metrics, the second part is cross referencing to ensure that agreed upon or "contractor" negotiated pricing between you and your supplier pricing was used 100% of the time, company-wide.

You do want the same low prices each time, correct? Of course you do! And why work harder when you can work smarter?

And finally.... Scenario 5

"We have less than 1000 units and don't need any purchasing optimization."

If you are under 1000 units and don’t think that this is applicable, think again! We have a special Small Units Program that leverages resources to get them the same deals realized by larger organizations when buying maintenance and repair supplies. Click here to learn about our Small Units Program now.

AND....Back to the Faucet activity in Scenario 3 ... Did you find the answer?

My final proposal for you is this:

Buyers Access will answer your faucet question AND will uncover the total savings opportunities based on your companies personal puchasing behavior for 2019. That takes care of time savings through finding the answer to the faucet exercise (and future pricing verifications) faster, and money saved through leveraged resources and strategy.

CLICK TO GET ACCESS- to begin the process.

We want you to make an informed decision about the fate of your NOI and we can show you your data, not a hypothetical example. We want you to have all the information to support your taking the next step and saving 10-20% on purchasing without sacrificing quality or quantity.

Thanks for playing and don't forget...

Rent growth as a strategy alone is SO 2019 and it's 2020!




Company News

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

 

 




Company News

A Holiday Call to Action - Shelters to Shutters

by Christin D. on 11/27/2019 2:36:00 PM

There is so much to be grateful for as we head into the Holiday Season, and this year we are asking for your support to lend a helping hand to a lifechanging organization, Shelters to Shutters (S2S).As a strong supporter of S2S , Buyers Access is happy to announce that ALL contributions made during November and December 2019 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Stand Together Foundation.
 

 
Holidays from another angle
 
The holidays are a significant time for many all over the world. Celebrations of “Friendsgiving” events, family gatherings, “White Elephant”gift 
exchanges, and loads of shopping take place this time of year. Our calendars fill with joy, and the spirit of the season fills our hearts as we spend quality time with those we love. But what about those we don’t have what we do? The harsh reality is that there are numerous disabled veterans struggling to get by on the streets, families without shelter that are separated, people roaming the streets due to job loss or medical situations leaving them homeless. These conditions are hard to look at, not pretty, and impossible to ignore.

 
Text Box: “Being homeless strengthens you in a lot of areas because you have hardships. It makes you want to work hard…I am excited about my future because now I have a career and peace of mind.”-Aster, S2S Success StoryWhat can you do?
These unfortunate situations that many can find themselves in are heartbreaking, and many are stigmatized as a result. Homelessness can be due to many things resulting from bad choices or bad circumstances, but many “situationally homeless” individuals have skillsets and work ethics that the multifamily industry could benefit from. But how do you get a job without an address, and how do you keep an address if you don’t have a job? 
 

 
Shelters to Shutters is born
 
In 2014, Chris Finlay who is an owner and operator of a multifamily real estate company noticed the never-ending need for multifamily management companies to fill entry level positions. Finlay connected the staffing challenges of multifamily owners and operators with the employment needs of the “situational homeless”. Instead of solely relying on the public sector to remedy the homeless situation in the United States, Finlay had another idea. He started a pilot program where stable employment was offered to qualified individuals along with benefits such as housing discounts, training and development, team atmosphere, and most importantly a helping hand. This idea has evolved into what we know today to be Shelters to Shutters.
 

Text Box: “…No longer living in a shelter and is now a full-time groundskeeper with his own apartment working on advancing…”-Joe, S2S Success StoryIndustry leader support
 
Andy Helmer, current CEO of Shelters to Shutters, reinforces the realities that surround the homelessness dilemma most U.S. cities face stating that their program finds, “high-quality, motivated candidates for our property management partners” and exposes the fact many of them will be overlooked due to stigma. Helmer has found that the 70% of situationally homeless unemployed individuals “want to work and return to a life of self- sufficiency”. And the result? Click here to look at 10 success stories resulting from the Shelters to Shutters initiative. The organization continues to touch the lives of many across the country with the help of supporters like you and Buyers Access.

 
A lifechanging “Call-to-Action”
 
The multifamily industry has collectively stepped up and helped aid in Shelters to Shutters mission. This holiday season, we encourage you to join Buyers Access, and many others, by visiting the S2S website and learning how you can GET INVOLVED. There are a variety of ways to help on an individual and an organizational level and we hope you will join us. Every individual S2S moves out of homelessness not only changes a life forever but saves a local community $35,578 in estimated expenses creating healthier, more stable neighborhoods. Together we can make a difference.

 
Double the contribution!
 
This November and December, Buyers Access is happy to announce that ALL contributions made to Shelters to Shutters with Buyers Access will be matched by the Stand Together Foundation!
Help us reach our goal of $10,000!!!

 




Company News

National Recycling Day - State of Recycling and Multifamily Real Estate

by Christin D. on 11/12/2019 11:32:00 AM

National Recycling Day is November 15th!

This year, National Recycling Day (America Recycles Day) falls on Thursday, November 15th, and encourages communities and their members to spread the word about recycling. America Recycles Day is a “Keep America Beautiful” campaign program focused on educating, motivating, and encouraging recycling, with the goal of engaging and promoting participation in practices to reduce the amount of non-recycled waste. To that extent, many multifamily communities have been hosting events and educating residents about recycling, and best practices to help reduce the environmental impact caused by waste produced at their community. In addition, multifamily I recycling initiatives have evolved substantially since the early days. Below we will take an inside look at multi-family waste management practices, recycling initiatives, and additional benefits created through best practices.

2001: EPA multifamily specific study

In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) embarked on a study focused primarily on the discovery of the extent to which the multifamily industry was employing recycling programs across the nation. Prior to the EPA study, multifamily did not have a clear definition of recycling practices due to falling under a commercial real estate classification. The EPA study sampled 40 communities across the nation and compared single family to multifamily community recycling practices, and their success and shortfalls. The EPA then defined what a successful recycling program should look like in the multifamily business, and how this was accomplished in what was called the “Multifamily and High-Rise Recycling Assessment”. The results of the 2001 survey brought about significant adjustments in multifamily recycling requirements to various jurisdictions throughout the country.

2016: State of curbside report study

In 2016, the State of Recycling report was published by The Recycling Partnership, which analyzed single family and multifamily best practices and effectiveness for recycling. The findings yielded some of the original challenges the EPA uncovered in the 2001 study, primarily due to a large portion of local governments not defining multifamily outside of the commercial sector. In the 2016 study, 465 communities comprising about 36 million residential units (Single family homes and multifamily units) were considered, and the study found that only 25 million units were eligible for curbside collection including recycling as an option. This means that 11 million units of multifamily were still not included as a part of curbside recycling program. Since that point in time, many local jurisdictions have started to require mandatory recycling in multifamily.

Benefits of recycling

Why does our country donate so much time into supporting recycling as an initiative on so many different levels? A plethora of benefits are realized when communities choose to recycle rather than toss waste into landfills. The practice of recycling conserves natural resources such as water, saves energy, prevents pollution, and increases economic security, including the development and creation of jobs available in the manufacturing and recycling industries in the United States. The Recycling Economic Study done in 2016 revealed that 1.57 jobs and $76,000 in wages were generated per 1,000 tons of materials recycled. Recycling also saves the number of trees that need to be cut down to make new paper products when paper is recycled by households. A 2015 survey discovered that 25% of municipal solid waste is due to paper products alone, while plastics accounted for 35 million tons and glass 11.5 million tons of waste. Reducing the amount of waste from these 3 materials alone would have a substantial impact on the environment if more households practiced recycling as a regular activity, especially those in the multifamily sector.

Challenges in Multifamily recycling

As previously stated, multifamily recycling programs have been ambiguous and difficult to measure due to data captured. This is due to multifamily properties being defined as commercial property in many local municipalities, although that is not the only challenged faced. Multifamily communities have little control over what type of waste is thrown into community trash compactors, and the addition of a recycling receptacles beside waste containers and compactors has created confusion for residents. Recycled materials often wind up contaminated by those who don’t know how to recycle properly, or by utilizing inappropriate containers with or without realizing it. Another challenge faced is the practice of encouraging multifamily households to designate a separate container to just recycled materials, often in smaller living spaces. The monitoring of any of these challenges is difficult, and multifamily communities often end up spending more on recycling without seeing high success.

Challenges in U.S. recycling

Until recently, the United States had been sending most recyclable materials to China to be manufactured into goods such as plastics, clothing, and other products. In late 2018, China began restricting recycling imports of certain types, including paper and most plastics, two of the largest recyclable materials in the United States. Unfortunately, waste management companies are now being forced to raise rates, and municipal governments are faced with either paying the higher rates or throwing the recycling away as waste instead. This has left many communities without a choice. As a result, carbon emissions and methane released by recycling decomposing in landfills, and plastic being burned is having a large negative environmental impact on the ozone layer, propelling the environment into an even further undesirable direction.

What is the solution?

It seems like recycling is a thing of the past after researching and realizing the restrictions and costs now imposed on municipalities and consumers. So how can we do our part and continue to recycle? The first step is to be more conscious of the waste we are producing in the first place. Shopping bags, straws, and water bottles are 3 easy items to stop supporting, and by adopting re-usable options instead. Be more conscious of what is going into the recycling bin! Aluminum cans, foil, steel and tin cans, corrugated cardboard, office paper, and #1 and #2 plastics such as water, juice, and salad dressing containers are still encouraged if they must be used. The second part is to be more conscious of how the goods are when thrown into the bin. Cleaning recyclables of all debris and waste such as food residue is key in the expense of processing recyclables, making it a requirement for consideration.
Though there are many who are pessimistic about recycling and take and all or nothing approach, educating yourself and others on the facts is key to continuing any progress in our recycling initiatives, whether it be in a business or multifamily community environment.

Published by: Christin Daniels for Buyers Access® residential multifamily purchasing experts. To connect with Buyers Access and obtain a complimentary purchasing analysis, visit us at www.buyersaccess.com or email us at BASales@buyersaccess.com.

 

 

 

EPA (November 2001). Multifamily Recycling: A National Study. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (EPA530-r-01-018). Retrieved from https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/10000OV5.PDF?Dockey=10000OV5.PDFGreenblatt, Alan (Dec. 2018) Under China’s New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers. Governing: The States and Localities. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html
EPA.gov. How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html.




Company News

Cold, Flu, and You: Promote Wellness this Season

by Christin D. on 11/5/2019 4:00:00 PM

Flu Season and You

Flu Season is upon us and protecting yourself against contracting a cold or the flu is a high priority this time of year. From consistent hand-washing, to guzzling vitamin C, most of us do whatever we can to prevent ourselves from contracting the influenza virus. As multi-family industry professionals, we should consider the action items and steps that we can personally take to protect ourselves and others in the community. Below we will discuss some statistics of flu season, steps to take personally and professionally to prevent contraction and spreading of the flu virus, and ideas you can take to implement prevention.

Statistics on flu and cold season

Each year, cold and flu season is responsible for 44 million “sick-days” in the United States called, in by 11 million employed adults spread throughout the country. This statistically accounts for about a $9.5 billion-dollar financial burden on businesses, and even considers that 39% of the workforce will still report to work even when ill. Aside from work being the 3rd most likely place for individuals who have the cold or flu virus to frequent, according to the CDC, other locations that are highly frequented by sick individuals include local drug stores and grocery stores.

Where germs live

The flu and common cold are most contagious during the early onset. Unfortunately, this is also when people still may not realize there is anything wrong. They still feel well enough to go out in public and therefore can spread the virus without realizing the severity. As multi-family industry professionals, we work and operate where “home” is for many of these 11 million adults who do call in sick. This increases our exposure to their germs even when the resident opts to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Since our place of work is their home, we must take extra caution to avoid getting sick. Below are some common places to consider taking extra precaution around when trying to avoid contracting the flu and common cold:

  1. Building entryways- including elevator buttons, handrails in stairwells and access points, door handles to common spaces in a community.
  2. Public restrooms in the gym or other common areas
  3. Hospitality and snack areas, such as a coffee bar or resident appreciation event gathering
  4. Common areas such as the local game room/tv lounge, business center, or conference room
  5. On-site fitness centers, weight rooms, or spin/yoga studios

How to protect your community

As multi-family professionals, we have a responsibility to create an atmosphere of safety and cleanliness when possible. Though we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of our efforts, it is part of our responsibility. There are a few recommendations that property teams can do to help protect the visitors and dwellers of a community, and by directly making a few adjustments on-site during this time of year:

  1. Supply paper towels instead of air dryers in common area restrooms to help reduce the number of bacteria left on hands after washing thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Install hand sanitizer stations at entrances, stairwells, common areas, and restrooms to make sanitation easier for residents and team members on the go.
  3. Make microfiber cleaning cloths and sanitation wipes available to staff members so they can wipe down surfaces regularly with minimal additional effort.

In addition to the above recommendations, there are also other easy and fun ways to communicate and educate residents about flu season’s best practices. They may even create a heightened sense of resident satisfaction as you demonstrate your commitment to their community. Here are some ideas that may help spice up flu-prevention at your property:

  1. Host a pre-flu season event. Invite a local flu-shot vendor or offer flu-shot passes with an incentive to residents. The incentive can be small and often stores will partner and provide a “perk” to those residents that show up and get the shot! Think a discount on “Emergen-C” or “Airborne”.
  2. Include education in the monthly news letter for residents to read prior to the start of flu season. You could even announce the above pre-flu season event in the publication at the same time.
  3. Have resident care packages in the office or distribute them in an appropriate fashion for your specific community. Vendor partners and Buyers Access team members can offer great ideas and resources to do this if you have a tight resident-appreciation budget to work with.

 

What to do if you get sick

flu season cold season multifamilyEven taking all the right preventative steps, you can sometimes still wind up sick. Once contracting a virus, it’s time to look at measures that can be taken to protect yourself and others while it runs its course. Remember, the flu virus is stronger in the beginning stages and can spread easier during this time. Staying home from work may be a good idea to have minimal contact with others. If you must report to work or engage in regular activities on some level, follow the below recommendations to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Invest in a protective dust-mask to wear outside of your individual space to avoid airborne germs from spreading
  3. Wipe down everything you touch with an antibacterial spray or wipe and allow it to dry naturally so it has ample time to kill bacteria and germs.
  4. Drink plenty of fluid and use paper cups or personal drinkware that won’t be washed and re-used in the office or public area.
  5. Rest more than you think you need to. Your immune system is already weakened substantially once you do get sick so this extra TLC can speed up recovery. If you reported to work and start to feel worse, re-evaluate your attendance and communicate any concerns to your workplace supervisor.
     

Final thoughts

Getting sick is no fun and nobody ever wants to get sick. It’s important to remember the seriousness of the flu virus and consider that even mild strains can cause serious complications. Spreading bouts of sickness around the office or community can be decreased by following some of the above suggestions and preparing for the flu season accordingly. Buyers Access, and our supplier partners, are always available to help equip your team with the supplies needed to create an uninviting environment for germs associated with the flu virus and other bacteria. One of the best parts about being a part of the Buyers Access program is that you have an abundance of additional resources and extra sets of hands to call on when you need them. Contact our sales department at BASales@buyersaccess.com to get this support. If you are already a member, your account manager and the member services team can quickly help you get prepared by sourcing the best products and lower prices with additional savings on mass quantities when needed. Email memberservices@buyersaccess.com to reach out to your team of support and make your property safe this flu season!

 




Best Practices

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.

 




Company News

2019 Empower Conference Highlights

by Christin D. on 9/20/2019 11:27:00 AM

Have you ever been to a Buyers Access Empower Conference before?

The Buyers Access team hosted another memorable conference earlier this month where members and supplier partners spent 3 days collaborating on various industry topics while having a little fun. Breakout sessions, brainstorming, a reverse trade show, and face-to-face meetings between key industry professionals made this year’s EMPOWER event both productive and insightful for attendees.
During the 3-day event industry leaders explored topics such as industry trends, optimal use of resources and purchasing power, new product insights, and how to further utilize the Buyers Access teams in ordering, reporting, and streamlining bidding processes and partnerships. You could probably feel the energy from afar as the event burst with knowledge and genius, not to mention unforgettable fun. We can’t tell you all the secrets, but below we will share some highlights from the recent event and exciting new features to come.

Buyers Access Suppliers

Buyers Access partners with some of the industry’s best and most reputable suppliers to ensure we have the most relevant product offerings and selections available to members. With approximately 50 of the most well-known supplier partners on board, Buyers Access optimizes these relationships to leverage opportunities for members in purchasing, training, capital projects, standardization, and reporting, to name a few.
This year, Buyers Access suppliers from the below companies were able to work together with the Buyers Access team and members to present some of the newest innovative ideas and solutions for multi-family.

Suppliers in attendance included:

- The Home Depot PRO (formerly Wilmar)
- Sherwin-Williams
- Staples
- Ancillary Services Management
- HD Supply
- Cintas
- MaterialLink
- Bidders Access
- Energy Link
- Courtesy Connection
- Ferguson
- Maintenance Supply Headquarters
- Grainger
- National Exemption Service
- BBC Lighting

If you are not currently a Buyers Access member but already purchase from any of the above, our team can easily integrate the Buyers Access advantages into your existing purchasing process. Our members get exclusive resources that add time back in their day, along with insights relating to multi-family MRO rollouts, and ongoing support to meet the new regulations and consumer trends.

Breakout Session Highlights

This year’s Empower 2019 breakout sessions were hosted by Home Depot Pro, Sherwin Williams, Staples, HD Supply, and Cintas. The sessions addressed many aspects relevant to keeping Buyers Access members ahead of the curve and at the forefront of competition in the multi-family arena. Innovation, optimization, standardization, and selection were common topics throughout the conference, which were more specifically addressed during these sessions.

Staples and Sherwin Williams provided innovative solutions to common challenges through service and product offerings, introducing and expanding on a variety of new additions to their product offerings. HD Supply and Cintas put a large emphasis on the many changing regulations and safety requirements directly related to multifamily properties. HVAC regulation changes, exclusive warranty programs, and other life-safety updates were discussed in detail. Home Depot Pro, formerly known as Wilmar, unveiled a Buyers Access member advantage program which addresses innovative technological offerings, product standardization, and maintenance optimization.  

Brainstorming and the Reverse Trade Show

In addition to the informative workshops hosted by the leading national vendors listed above, Buyers Access members had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with suppliers and account managers during the legendary reverse trade show. During the event, teams were able to collaborate and strategize avenues for implementation of key topics covered at previous sessions. The trade show was fully equipped with a DJ, great music, an electrifying atmosphere, chocolate covered popcorn, and plenty of laughter.


The final day of the conference everyone gathered together over refreshments and coffee to discuss hot topics that were hand selected by conference attendees prior to the event. During this session attendees shared ideas, strategies, and gained new perspective on various industry topics. Maintenance and time saving technology was a popular area of choice among the group, and where Buyers Access account managers shared insight into standardization and the creation of product lists to promote savings and efficiency.The brainstorming session and breakouts were enticing, and everyone left with something new to apply and a team of support to execute for them on a variety of levels.

Until next time!

The Buyers Access program has proven to be of high value to any management companies looking to optimize performance, purchasing, and increase their bottom line. With industry changes constantly affecting the multi-family industry, creativity and innovation continue to stay at the forefront of our minds when providing value to our members. If you want to be a part of this “family” of thought leaders and become a member, contact us now and we will do a free purchasing analysis with no strings attached. We can be reached at BASales@buyersaccess.com or by calling 1-800-445-9169.

 

 

 

 

 




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