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Commercial Real Estate Management Crisis Management Strategies

When you manage a commercial or retail property of any size, there are things that can go wrong in the building or across the property.  Those things can then disrupt occupancy, safety, and investment performance.  You need a comprehensive crisis control plan to keep those events under direction.  Forward planning is a good idea to consider here with your team.  (NB – you can get plenty of commercial property management ideas here in our Snapshot program – its free)

It doesn’t matter what size building you manage, the facts of potential disruption and crisis are still there.  Look at the property for what it is and know how you would respond when difficult events occur in the asset.  Look at the tenants to identify what issues they would bring to the property and or the other tenants.  Control and planning processes here are a good idea.


Checklist for Crisis Responses


Here is a checklist to help you with the bigger challenges of a property crisis:

  1. Safety of people – focus on people and safety first. Understand if there are any injuries, and remove tenants and customers from the impacted zone or event zone.  Call in the appropriate emergency services and activate your ‘Emergency response plan’.
  2. Emergency services – call in the necessary emergency teams and local authorities to take control of issues and events. They know what to do with injuries, people, and problems; they know how to react to complex events with large assets and properties.
  3. Incident record and management – from the very start of the crisis event, record the facts and challenges. Capture comments, photos, directions taken, and information gleaned so a full review of issues can be available for later review and or property control.
  4. Property control – the essential services and associated plant and machinery in the property may be impacted by the crisis. Know who to contact to get the services and plant safely controlled and or shut down as the requirement may be.
  5. Tenants contact – the tenants should be told what is happening and what they should be doing whilst the emergency events evolve. Delegate your property management people to interact with the tenants on site and share information relating to safety and security.
  6. Trades contact – get in the trades and contractors to control the plant and equipment impacted by the event. Remember that a problem of this nature can happen at any time and on any day.  Contractor access and timely response is critical 24/7.
  7. Contingency plans – know what you will do if certain parts of the property cannot be used or should not be accessible for some time. You will need plans to redirect people, tenants, and provide a ‘safe’ site or asset.
  8. Media response – when problems develop in a property and or there is a personal injury event involved, the local media will likely be the first on the scene and they will be creating their version of a ‘spectacular story’ to put on the local media in your town or city later that day. We all know how that can then lead to a manipulation of the real facts and the ‘spinning’ of poor publicity; media teams can be ‘brutal’ when it comes to the real truth of an event and the portrayal of facts.  Have a media response plan to respond professionally in the time of crisis.  Control what is said and done with any media teams.
  9. Landlord briefing – let the landlord know as soon as possible what has been happening with their property asset and with the crisis event. The landlord may have specific directions and instructions to issue to the property management team.  That is certainly the case in large office buildings and retail shopping centres.
  10. Insurance advice and reporting – the factors of risk in the property will likely be covered by some insurance policy. The insurers will want to know what has happened and how things are controlled.  They will want their risk position to be managed to a plan and a response.  Get the insurers involved quite soon in a property crisis event.

You can add to this list based on your location, the tenants, the landlord, and the property type.  Understand your managed property for what it is across factors associated with design, people, physical condition of improvements, seasonal risks, and locational factors.  Have your crisis management plan ready to use when something goes wrong in the property.

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