Managing a block of flats is no joke. There are so many things to think about, from construction and aesthetics, to upkeep and safety. With the different layers that require your consideration, it’s sometimes tough to sort out what you need. When it comes to the safety of your residents, though, it’s crucial to come up with a methodical approach. Here’s a checklist of five important safety features your building should have.
1. Fire safety
Some of the main things you can do to protect residents from fire include installing carbon monoxide detectors, ensuring your fire extinguishers are not out of date, and testing your emergency lights and fire exits.
Another important element is cladding and smoke ventilation. We all remember the horror of the Grenfell tragedy, where 72 people died as a result of a blaze that could have been contained had the safety measures and cladding been appropriate. It’s vital to double check that your cladding is right for your type of building, as well as the smoke ventilation system. For example, according to the smoke ventilation experts at Sertus, very tall apartment buildings will require mechanical ventilation, while smaller buildings may benefit from a natural system.
2. Security cameras
Security cameras are not only a brilliant way to increase security, they’re also easy to install and require little maintenance. CCTV cameras can have multiple benefits, from increasing property value to protecting from lawsuits. However, the safety advantages are perhaps the best reason to invest in them.
Camera recordings can be a significantly useful feature when it comes to criminal incidents. While eyewitnesses can be helpful, there’s nothing like tangible footage to assist in finding and prosecuting someone. Even before a situation of the sort happens, security cameras can actually deter potential criminals in the first place through their visible presence.
This one may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how many landlords forget about this simple yet powerful security feature: lights. This can either be your normal, run-of-the-mill lighting that illuminates a space for better visibility, or purpose-made security lighting that turns on using motion sensors.
Light sources should be installed in multiple locations, namely around the block (and the entire complex if applicable), the entrance, and inside the building — including corridors, lifts, and staircases. However, you should take other factors into consideration when setting up your fixtures — for example, if your building has a car park, it’s vital that it is well-lit.
4. Decks and railings
In the UK, 100,000 people every year are treated for injuries sustained by falling down the stairs. Across the pond, in the US alone, more than 4,000 children receive medical treatment due to a fall from a balcony or window annually.
Steady decks, bannisters and railings can prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your residents. However, you must check that your railings and decks are secure, of correct height, and placed sensibly.
5. Windows and doors
Following on from the previous point, another potential hazard is unsecure windows. Of course, the risk of falling isn’t the only issue when it comes to windows and doors, though — burglary is another one.
In order to provide safe windows and doors, there are a few factors to consider. You want your doors to be sturdy and windows durable — using safety glass is a great option if you want to keep things low-key, while window railings can provide another layer of protection. Appropriate locks and bolts are also recommended. For the front door, applying some form of security system like a codelock can be a lifesaver.