Shopping centres shouldn't cut corners on security and health

Posted On Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:00 Published by
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In a post recession market shopping centre management has to run a tight ship on a skimpy budget, but often cutting corners leaves consumers exposed

According to Mark Souris, Managing Director at Periscopic, a top retail property management company and a member of the One Property Holdings Group, the most overlooked areas when it comes to shopping centre management are security and janitorial maintenance.

"It is vital that owners of shopping centres realise that if a shopper does not feel safe or have a good shopping experience, they are going to go somewhere else. Often we see centres trying to cut corners because of tighter budgets but the wrong choices are made leaving the shopper and tenant vulnerable," says Souris.

James Oosthuizen, head of the Consumer Goods Risk Initiative at the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, says, "In May alone there were 20 armed robberies and 10 burglaries in shopping centres around SA. Crime in South Africa is very diverse, and because of this centres need to have layered security plans, if one layer of the plan is flawed, the centre is very vulnerable."

Security service level agreements (SLA) usually suffer because less qualified guards are now deployed, these guards have less tactical training, which leaves the centre vulnerable to attack at delivery in-roads and at ATMs, he says.

 "Shopping centre owners need to understand that if people don't feel safe, they will not come to your centre. When it to comes to security issues, centres tend to be penny wise and pound foolish.  Ironically by ensuring your security systems are properly maintained and upgraded every 4 to 5 years, you will not only help the local community in mitigating the risk of crime, the centre will  also see better insurance rates," says Souris.

Janitorial issues, which are vital for health reasons also suffer budget cuts. "If centre management is not on top their cleaning and maintenance needs, they will face some real risks such as the incorrect disposal of disease spreading bio waste and fire.

Souris comments, "Restaurants need to be kept in check, aside from kitchens that are spotless and fit in essential safety regulations, we recommend that centre management walk the roof of the centre. A commonly overlooked fire hazard is the greasy run off from restaurant extractor fans. This grease drips onto the roof, making large puddles that could be a disastrous fire trap."

"Janitorial SLAs are more complicated than initially thought. Different types of waste require different removal companies that are specifically qualified.  The disposal of waste from bathrooms like sanitary bins needs to be handled by professionals who can safely dispose of this bio waste as legislated by government.

"This differs drastically from cleaning companies that specialise in cleaning high ceilings and windows. These services need to have trained technicians with the right kind of safety gear. It is vital that this type of sky high cleaning is done at least once a year.

"It is essential the centre management understands that even though times are tough, corner cutting on essential services is not the correct way to manage your centre."

Publisher: eProp
Source: Periscopic

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