Categories
Insight

The Importance of Resident Feedback When it Comes to Building Safety

In our previous blog, we delved into the importance of effective communication when it comes to engaging residents on building safety. As many will be aware, the Building Safety Act (BSA) 2022 mandates that Accountable Persons (APs) prepare and keep under review a resident engagement strategy.  

 

The aims of this strategy are to ensure all residents:

  • Feel safe in the buildings in which they live. 
  • Know how to easily report any problems about their home or any part of the building which may impact on their or their neighbour’s safety. 
  • Know what to do in the event of an incident in the block where they live. 

A core component of this is establishing and operating a system for the investigation of relevant complaints, as well as ensuring that residents are fully aware of their own responsibilities. 

 

So where do you start?

Firstly, it’s imperative to implement an effective system for residents to report issues and submit feedback, with building safety complaints able to be prioritised based on the level of risk involved rather than that date they were received. You should also consider what to do if residents find it challenging to articulate issues. For example, you may want to allow them to submit photos that help communicate their concerns. 

 

In addition, the  Principal Accountable Person (PAP) must keep a record of any relevant complaint for seven years, including details of the complaint, actions taken by APs, regulatory involvement, and the complaint’s resolution.

 

How technology can help?

With 81% of residents  saying that it’s important or very important for them to be able to access a portal from a mobile device, it’s paramount that you have a system in place that is mobile-friendly. This will encourage residents to report issues when they spot them rather than having to wait until they are back in front of a computer.

 

With Spike PMS, residents are able to report any concerns or issues via the Spike app, and even attach photos so that staff can get a clearer idea of the issue. 

 

What’s more, Spike PMS can flag any high priority issues based on the information that has been submitted. This means that high-risk issues can be immediately flagged and directed to the relevant team members, with SLAs being set up and tracked against. Issues can also be automatically shared with external approved contractors to be investigated and resolved, with residents being informed and kept up to date on the progress. As all history is recorded against a property, leaseholder and tenant, this provides a central log of all communication which can be used as evidence of notification, in case of future disputes. 

 

Additionally, according to the government’s building safety advice, residents must:

 

  • Read and understand all information provided to them by the building’s duty holders. 
  • Communicate any identified risks, hazards or concerns with the building’s structural safety and fire safety measures. 
  • Strictly follow all fire safety measures for the building. 

With this in mind, Spike PMS provides residents with easy access to key documentation such as safety policies and fire safety documents via a mobile app. Furthermore, whenever newer versions are available residents can be notified, with staff able to see who’s opened and read them which forms an important part of the golden thread. 

 

Example

 

A resident notices a fire door isn’t closing properly. They immediately report the issue via the Spike app. The issue automatically gets sent to the maintenance team and flagged as a priority seeing as it is integral to the safety of the building and the rest of the residents. 

 

The maintenance team respond directly back to the resident acknowledging the reported issue and then send out a building-wide communication via email and the Spike app to notify the rest of the residents of the issue. 

 

Once the maintenance team arrive onsite and after inspecting the fire door, they find that the hinges are loose, causing it not to close properly. They replace the faulty hinges and ensure that the door meets all safety standards and regulations. They then schedule regular inspections over the coming weeks to prevent similar issues in the future. 

 

The property manager sends out an update to the rest of the building informing them that the issue has now been resolved and to remind residents of their responsibility to report any issues via the Spike app.  

Summary

With Spike PMS, property managers can ensure that they not only have an effective resident engagement strategy in place which can be communicated easily to all residents, but also able to provide a quick and effective way for residents to report safety concerns and request additional information via a dedicated app. Thus, ensuring building safety remains a collective responsibility among all stakeholders. 

Categories
Insight

Spike nominated for The Property Institute ACE Awards 2024

We are delighted to share that Spike has been nominated for the PropTech Solution of The Year award at The Property Institute ACE Awards 2024, recognising Spike’s substantial impact in leveraging technology to reshape industry practices and enhance property managers’ efficiency throughout the past year.

 

In recent years, property management has evolved significantly due to technological advancements, regulatory changes, shifting tenant expectations, and a growing focus on community.

 

According to latest research, 89% of property managers believe that technology can streamline property management processes, while 31% of tenants do not renew their tenancies due to seeking better management.

 

In response to these trends, Spike has developed Spike PMS, an innovative property management platform, helping property professionals drive new efficiencies, discover compelling clarity and enhance client communication like never before.

Spike PMS provides full visibility of an entire portfolio at a glance giving managers access to the information they need, at their fingertips, whilst the dedicated app makes communication a breeze, bringing property managers, tenants, and leaseholders closer together.

 

As we eagerly await the ACE Awards ceremony on Friday 21st June 2024, at Old Billingsgate, London, we extend our gratitude to the judges for recognising Spike’s contributions to the industry.

 

Congratulations to all the finalists who made the shortlist! We’re looking forward to an exciting night celebrating innovation, excellence, and the future of the property management sector.

 

See the full shortlist here.

Categories
Insight

How Technology can Help Address Health and Well-Being in the Property Management Industry 

In collaboration with KC, Leasehold Property Expert and Founder of LeasedByKC.

In the fast-paced world of property management, where demands are high and time is always of the essence, maintaining the health and well-being of employees might seem like a secondary concern.  

 

However, with ever-increasing workloads and expectations placed on property managers, as well as the mounting pressure from external national sources, it is not surprising that 1 in 4 property managers are now considering leaving the industry according to the latest research. What’s more, property management staff consistently score well below the Office for National Statistics (ONS) averages when asked about how worthwhile their life is, their life satisfaction, and their level of happiness.  

 

While administrative tasks still make up a lot of the workload for a typical property manager, the role is shifting to one of relationship management, bringing a whole host of additional stress for property managers to contend with who ultimately want to deliver outstanding results to both leaseholders and their tenants.  

The role technology can play in supporting property managers

It’s no secret that current property management systems are outdated and lack the flexibility to keep up with the pace of change. Accessing even the most fundamental information can be arduous and time-consuming due to data being held in multiple systems, sporadic emails, and spreadsheets. 

 

Drawing on over 13 years of experience in the property sector, Spike’s innovative property management platform, Spike PMS, helps property managers drive new efficiencies, discover compelling clarity and enhance tenant and leaseholder communication like never before. 

 

Here’s how solutions like Spike PMS can contribute to enhancing health and well-being within the industry. 

 

Automate time-consuming tasks

On average, property managers spend 288 hours a year performing repetitive tasks. Tasks often include sending monthly reminders for service charge demands, welcome emails to new property owners, and sending key documentation such as the latest fire policies and key health and safety documents. 

 

Having systems in place that can automate many of these manual tasks can improve the work-life balance and productivity of property managers. This means that property managers can spend less time on administrative work and more time on the ground, conducting site inspections, meeting contractors, or building customer relationships via resident surgeries, reducing the number of complaints and improving morale. 

 

Efficient maintenance management for safety

Maintenance issues are a common source of stress in property management. Without a central system in place, leaseholders and their tenants will use email, WhatsApp messages or text messages to report issues. Sporadic messages and using different channels make it challenging for property managers to keep track of what has been reported and run the risk of duplicating reports, making it even harder to keep residents updated on the progress. Not to mention making it almost impossible to track against SLAs and performance metrics for response times. Property management is also a complaint-heavy industry and tracking complaints is crucial to protecting a company and individual staff in case of future legal disputes.

 

Property management systems such as Spike PMS can streamline maintenance management by allowing residents to submit maintenance requests directly via a mobile app, and even attach photos so that staff can diagnose the fault ahead of time. What’s more, the system can be set up to divert defects and issues directly to the relevant team members, or automatically shared with external approved contractors to be investigated and resolved, with residents being informed and kept up to date on the progress. 

 

Access a single centralised view of all data

More often or not, there will be a number of disparate tools and systems in place at a property management company which means that key information can be difficult to access. With one of the requirements of the Building Safety Act 2022 being that building owners and property managers should understand the needs of every household living within the building, it’s paramount that this information is easily accessible. 

 

Spike PMS has been designed to be the single view for property managers, with integrations with third-party systems including finance, CRM, and maintenance management. By pulling in data from different systems and sources, this allows property managers to see all logged activities against a property, leaseholder and tenant, enabling property managers to quickly and efficiently find and access the information they need, whenever they need it.

 

This means that property managers can spend less time digging through files and emails, and claw back some of that precious time to focus on other activities. As well as being able to have a central activity log to be used as evidence of notification, in case of future disputes. 

 

Effortless tenant and leaseholder communication 

On average, it can take up to 7 calls and emails to get hold of a resident. Clear and timely communication can reduce misunderstandings, improve transparency, and foster trust and collaboration among leaseholders, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more supportive work environment. 

 

Having a property management system in place means that regulatory documents and compliance-related information are also readily accessible. Storing important documents digitally and providing easy access to relevant information facilitates transparency and accountability in property management practices.  

 

Furthermore, Spike PMS provides transparent insights into financial transactions, enabling leaseholders and tenants to view detailed service charge statements and transaction histories, ensuring clarity and accountability in financial matters. Additionally, PMS platforms often offer secure payment portals where leaseholders can make service charge payments electronically, further enhancing transparency and convenience. 

Summary

Forward-thinking property management companies are realising that investing in systems and technology not only streamlines operations but also plays a crucial role in fostering a healthy and supportive work environment. By streamlining processes, facilitating efficient maintenance management, enabling data-driven decision-making, and enhancing communication, systems like Spike PMS can contribute to creating a positive work environment where employees can thrive.  

Categories
Insight

Engaging With Residents on Building Safety – The Importance of Effective Communication

The Building Safety Act (BSA) 2022 introduces new requirements for building owners to demonstrate that they have effective measures in place to identify and manage safety risks. The Act enables residents in higher-risk buildings to have a say in the management of their building and raise concerns directly with the Accountable Person, who will have a duty to listen to them.

 

As part of their statutory obligations, the Act requires the Accountable Person(s) to prepare and keep under review a resident engagement strategy. It must provide residents with relevant safety information and risks about their building.

 

The strategy will need to be provided to all residents aged 16 years and over and should be regularly reviewed and updated. It also forms part of the golden thread of information and must be submitted with the safety case to the Building Safety Regulator. 

 

What does your resident engagement strategy need to include?

Every resident engagement strategy will be different, but the Act says it must detail:

 

• What information will be provided to residents.

• What residents will be consulted on.

• How residents’ views will be sought.

• How residents’ views will be taken into account.

• How the effectiveness of the strategy will be measured.

 

So where do you start?

One of the requirements of the Building Safety Act is that building owners and property managers should understand the needs of every household living within the building, especially if there are any disabled or vulnerable residents living there. As well as whether residents have a preferred language for communication. This will help shape your evacuation procedures and how you choose to communicate to residents on an ongoing basis.

 

Therefore, the success of your engagement strategy will rely heavily on how well you know the residents living within your buildings. Often this information can be difficult to access – resident information may be held in different systems, in sporadic emails, or managed by different staff. To ensure you comply with the Building Safety Act, it’s paramount that this information is easily accessible.

 

How technology can help?

Spike PMS has been designed to be the single view for property managers, with integrations to many third-party systems including finance, CRM and maintenance management. By consolidating data from different sources this enables property managers to quickly find and access the information they need, whenever they need it.

 

More importantly it enables them to perform various actions, such as having the ability to send out communication and documentation directly to tenants and leaseholders, whether that’s by email or directly to the Spike app. All communication and documentation that has been sent to a property, leaseholder or tenant is logged in Spike, with property managers able to see who’s opened and read the communication which forms an important part of the golden thread.

 

What’s more, with Spike PMS, you can automate the sending of communication and documentation. For instance when a resident moves into a building, property managers are able to set up a workflow that can automatically send all of the necessary fire safety documentation and any other important information to them, ensuring that you remain compliant, and nothing gets missed.

 

Example

Taking the example of having to know whether any residents are disabled and potentially would require assistance to evacuate the building in an emergency. If this information hasn’t been collected or property managers want to make sure it’s accurate and up to date, they can send out a service request directly to residents via the Spike app asking for residents to populate which then automatically gets logged and updated against the resident profile.

 

Once this information has been obtained, this provides property managers the ability to filter by these fields, and then send the appropriate communication and documentation such as tailored Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) or any other specific information relating to that individual resident.

 

Summary 

In order for your resident engagement strategy to be effective, consider the technology used to keep residents informed, engaged and updated.

 

Spike PMS brings property managers, tenants and leaseholders closer together via a dedicated app, ensuring that important safety information reaches those who need it, when they need it. This helps property managers meet obligations and the latest regulations.

 

Sign up to our webinar! 

Join our Tech Talk in partnership with The Property Institute on Thursday 9th May to learn how technology can:

 

• Use technology to increase building safety and support Golden Thread requirements.
• Identify your repetitive manual tasks and automate them.
• Strengthen customer retention and foster resident engagement using technology.

Categories
Insight

Spike strengthens its Presence in the Property Management Sector by Being Awarded The Property Institute (TPI) Partner Status 

Spike is delighted to announce it has been awarded TPI partner status and will work closely with the Institute and its members to tackle the major challenges the property management sector is facing. 

 

TPI (formerly ARMA, IRPM) is the leading professional body for residential property management in England and Wales. With over 335 managing agent members collectively managing 55,000 blocks, 1.5 million homes, and over £1bn in client funds each year, TPI is renowned for promoting best practices, providing invaluable resources, and advocating for the interests of both managing agents and residents.

 

In recent years, the property management landscape has been reshaped by a number of factors, including changing regulatory environments, evolving tenant expectations, and an increasing emphasis on community. However, technology solutions have not kept pace, with research revealing that property managers waste over 480 hours a year on using inefficient systems and spend 288 hours annually on repetitive tasks that could otherwise be automated. 

 

Drawing on over 13 years of experience in the property sector, Spike’s innovative property management platform, Spike PMS, helps property managers drive new efficiencies, discover compelling clarity and enhance tenant and leaseholder communication like never before. 

 

By becoming a TPI Partner, Spike will benefit from access to a wealth of resources, including industry-leading guidance and networking events, whilst working closely with property managers to ensure its solutions continue to meet and support the evolving needs of the sector. 

 

Jonny Wootten, Marketing Director at Spike, comments: “We believe that property management should be smart, simple and seamless. By joining as a TPI Partner, we aim to provide and empower property managers with the tools they need to optimise, organise and thrive in today’s challenging world.” 

Categories
Insight

Spike nominated for the Property Week Resi Awards 2024

We are pleased to share that Spike has been nominated for the Technology Innovator of the Year Award at the Property Week Resi Awards 2024, recognising Spike’s dedication to driving change in the residential sector through its cutting-edge technology solutions. 

 

In 2023, we saw a surge in demand for our solutions, both nationally and internationally, with our award-winning resident engagement portal now deployed across more than 500 buildings in 15 countries. Along with new partnerships with industry-leading names such as Casa by Moda, Niche Living, and Baxter Homes emphasising Spike’s position as a pioneer in reshaping the residential landscape. 

 

Research has shown that a significant percentage of our happiness is tied to the quality of our living environment, highlighting the importance of ensuring a positive and convenient residential experience.

 

Spike Living addresses this by offering a comprehensive suite of features, including centralised document management, the ability to book onsite amenities and services, maintenance reporting, direct messaging with staff, and much more, all aimed at enhancing residents’ daily lives. 

 

Furthermore, Spike Living also serves as a bridge between residential communities and local businesses, revitalising the local economy while enriching the resident experience. Through strategic alliances and integrations, Spike ensures that residents have access to exclusive discounts and services, forging stronger relationship between residential developments and their surroundings. 

 

As we eagerly anticipate the Property Week Resi Awards ceremony on Wednesday 1st May 2024, at Grosvenor House, London, we extend our gratitude to the judges for recognising Spike’s contributions to the industry.

 

Congratulations to all the finalists who made the shortlist! We’re looking forward to an exciting night celebrating innovation, excellence, and the future of residential living.  

 

See the full shortlist here.  

Categories
Insight

Spike are #InvestingInWomen this International Women’s Day 2024

“If you invest in a women, you’re investing in everyone else.” Melinda Gates

 

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women around the world. At Spike, we are proud to join in the celebration by honouring the incredible and talented women who are an integral part of our team.

 

This year, the UN’s International Women’s Day theme, #InvestinWomen: Accelerate Progress, resonates deeply with us. We understand the importance of investing in women’s potential and creating opportunities for them to thrive in the workplace. In the tech industry, where women have historically been underrepresented, it’s imperative that we actively support and empower female talent. 

 

Currently women make up only 26% of the tech industry workforce. Despite this, their contributions are invaluable, and their presence is crucial for driving innovation and diversity in the field. 

 

At Spike, we are committed to breaking down gender barriers and creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees. We do not tolerate any form of gender discrimination or pay gap, and we have implemented various initiatives to ensure that women feel equal, empowered, and respected. 

Here are some ways that Spike are actively investing in women:

Encouraging retention and recruitment: We strive to give equal opportunities to women from diverse backgrounds and encourage them to bring their unique talents and perspectives to our team. 

 

Investing in training and career development: We provide ongoing training, one-to-ones and support to help everyone advance in their careers and reach their full potential. 

 

Promoting work-life balance: We offer flexible working arrangements to accommodate the needs of employees with family or health commitments, ensuring that no-one has to sacrifice their personal well-being for their career. 

 

Encouraging social engagement and wellbeing: We actively organise social and charity events, from bowling, nights out, cinema trips, charity initiatives and more to encourage a sense of inclusion and camaraderie. 

 

Ensuring equal pay: We are committed to eliminating any gender pay gap within our organisation. 

 

Encouraging communication and participation: We actively seek input from female team members and include them in decision-making processes to ensure that their voices are heard and valued. 

An Empowering Ladies Lunch:

One of the highlights of our celebration was the empowering ladies lunch, where our female team members came together to celebrate our collective efforts and successes. It was a time to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of women in shaping the landscape of technology and driving innovation forward. Over delicious food and engaging conversations, we reflected on the challenges and triumphs we’ve experienced as women working in tech, while also celebrating the progress we’ve made. 

 

In addition to meaningful conversations, we incorporated fun activities into our celebration to strengthen bonds. We organised quizzes and games that sparked laughter and camaraderie, providing an opportunity for our team members to relax and enjoy each other’s company. These moments of levity are essential in fostering a sense of unity and solidarity among our diverse team of women. 

Summary

As we celebrated International Women’s Day, we also took the time to recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We reaffirmed our commitment to creating an environment where all voices are heard and respected, regardless of gender or background. By embracing diversity, we harness the power of different perspectives and experiences, driving innovation and creativity within our team. 

 

At Spike, we are proud to honour the incredible women who contribute to our success every day. As we come together to celebrate our achievements and empower one another, we are reminded of the limitless potential of women in shaping the future of technology. 

Categories
Insight

Spike nominated for the Global ESG Awards 2024

We’re thrilled to share that Spike has been nominated for the CommuniCare Impact Award at the prestigious Global ESG Awards 2024, recognising Spike’s commitment to fostering positive social change within our clients’ developments and the surrounding communities. 

Our nomination highlights the significant impact we’ve achieved in enhancing community engagement, social interaction and placemaking through our innovative tenant engagement solutions. 

 

An example includes the work that Spike has been doing with Riverwalk Innovation Hub, a major office development situated at the heart of Citywest Business Campus in Dublin. Working closely with Bartra, Spike developed The Riverwalk Workplace app, a tailored solution designed to connect tenants, staff, and property managers seamlessly. 

 

The app facilitates communication, provides essential information, and fosters a sense of community among tenants. Through features such as push notifications and the online social clubs and forums, tenants can engage with each other, organise events and stay updated on campus activities. Tenants can also use the app to submit any queries they have to JLL Ireland, the managing agent, which has encouraged regular feedback on what they are enjoying the most and what they would like to see added to the campus. 

 

After the Covid-19 pandemic, the JLL Estate Team had the challenge of how-to encourage people back into the workplace. The app played a pivotal role by showcasing the safety measure in place and highlighting the events that were taking place across the development, such as Taco Thursday and regular fitness classes. The Riverwalk Workplace app has quickly become an integral part of the Riverwalk experience, with over 500 tenants now back in the office on a regular basis and using the app.  

 

Spike’s commitment to social impact extends internally as well, with the team actively participating in various fundraising events and charity initiatives. In addition, Spike fosters a diverse culture and encourages employees to celebrate their individuality. For instance, cultural holidays provide opportunities for the team to see their heritage celebrated at work, which can enable them to feel a sense of belonging, respect, and representation. All these initiatives earnt Spike a spot on The Sunday Times Best Places to Work in 2023. 

 

The Global ESG Awards 2024 voting is open to the public until 18th February, we invite you to support Spike by casting your vote here. 

 

The winner will be announced at this year’s MIPIM where the trophy presentation will take place at the Grand Auditorium Stage on Tuesday 12th of March 2024. 

Join us in championing sustainability, innovation, and positive change. Thank you for your support! 

Categories
Insight

Spike Selects Hope for Food as Charity of the Year 2024

After the success of last year’s charity initiative with Dorset Mind, we are thrilled to announce our 2024 Charity of the Year as Hope for Food. 

 

Selected by staff, Hope for Food is a volunteer-driven charity with a noble mission: provide basic necessities to those in our local area who are homeless or living in poverty. Their efforts include providing meals and food parcels, clothing distribution, and supplying small household goods. Hope for Food operates with deep respect and dignity, offering help to anyone in need, judgement-free.

 

During their Christmas appeal, Hope for Food, distributed 428 Christmas food parcels and over 1,750 selection boxes to children, along with 234 regular food parcels. Beyond food, they also provided gift vouchers, stocking fillers, and gift bags to families and individuals in refuges or supported housing, including four hostels which they support. This ensured that the festive spirit was felt by all, regardless of their circumstances.

 

In their ongoing mission, Hope for Food consistently supports around 160 families weekly with food parcels, fresh produce, toiletries, and household cleaning packs. They also cater to the community’s broader needs by providing food, drinks, clothing, shoes, bedding, tents/sleeping bags and other essential items on a twice weekly basis to the homeless, rough sleepers and vulnerably housed. As well as responding to specific requests from social and support workers, demonstrating a commitment to addressing both general and specific needs within the community.

 

Although they received remarkable support during the holiday season, the charity is now facing a drastic decrease in donations, averaging just 2-3 donations per week. Spike is committed to helping the charity maintain it’s essential food, clothing and household item supplies to that they can continue supporting those in need.  

 
As part of our partnership with Hope for Food, our team will be participating in a wide range of activities, including volunteering at Hope for Food’s meal distribution drives, soup kitchens, providing donations for food, clothing and essential items, as well as taking part in fundraising events to support Hope for Food’s mission to assist less fortunate households and families in our community.  

 
We invite our clients, partners, friends and members of our community to join us in making a difference by supporting Hope for Food throughout 2024. Together, we can contribute to a brighter future for those facing hardship. 

 

You can see all the fantastic work Hope for Food are doing and donate here 

Categories
Insight

Spike strengthens its industry presence by joining the UK Single-Family Association

Spike is proud to announce that it has become the first PropTech company to join the UK Single-Family Association (UK SFA), a not-for-profit organisation committed to advancing industry standards and best practices within the Single-Family Rental (SFR) sector.

 

Through its membership with the UK SFA, Spike will actively participate in initiatives aimed at addressing key challenges facing the sector, and champion the role of technology in enhancing property management, tenant relations, and increasing operational efficiency.

 

 

By joining the UK SFA, Spike gains access to a diverse network of industry professionals and thought leaders, as well as valuable resources and educational opportunities. This reaffirms Spike’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry developments and contributing towards the advancement of the SFR sector.

 

 

Richard Berridge, UK SFA CEO, comments: We are thrilled to announce Spike’s membership of the UK SFA, and be the first PropTech company supporting our mission. Spike is a leading light in the PropTech sector, connecting people and properties. Their approach to innovation advancement compliments the values of the UK SFA and I am confident Spike will be a valuable voice in the Association as we seek to drive positive change in the SFR sector.”

 

 

Jonny Wootten, Marketing Director at Spike, comments: “We are delighted to become members of the UK Single-Family Association. The rise in Single-Family Rental homes provides an exciting opportunity for the BTR sector, and by collaborating with other members and stakeholders, this will ensure our solutions continue to support and meet the evolving needs of the market.”

 

 

Spike is already working with a growing number of SFR operators, with Casa by Moda recently rolling out its resident portal across its Casa developments.

 

 

You can meet Spike at UK SFA’s official launch event being held on 22nd February at the LOFT Pop-up Showroom at White City Warehouse, West London.