Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: The word 'safety' according to the definition, provides us with a feeling of comfort with the absence of danger. It is a process and not, as some claim, a state as the nature of danger often changes. What does a safe building actually mean?
Magdalena Majchrzak: It is similar with office buildings. Preventing threats sometimes has a very dynamic character and there are many types of risk. We can talk about the physical safety of people inside the building as well as ensuring the safety of a building’s construction, technology security, financial security, and even public security when the scheme is accessible to people from outside. Just as you mentioned, safety is a feeling of an absence of danger. From a tenant’s point of view, a secure building is a building where people can conduct business without any obstacles and be sure that there are no risks for the business to be able to operate.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: Which aspects related to safety in specific locations are the most important from a tenant’s point of view?
Magdalena Majchrzak: There are many although it depends on who the tenant is and what their needs are. However, you will always find energy, and computer security at the top of the list. Let's be clear – one cannot work without power. It is absolutely fundamental and no company is able to do business without the appropriate safeguards in place. The same with providing Internet access. Currently, there are numerous solutions that ensure a building’s security in case of a power failure. Each potential tenant should consider how the company would operate when a power supply interruption occurs. If the interruption lasts longer than several hours it makes proper server functioning and access control impossible. It is most definitely worth asking if the building is adequately prepared for such circumstances. Furthermore, I would recommend to revise the ownership rights for the building. While signing a lease agreement try not to cut the costs in legal areas as a properly constructed contract gives you financial security.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: Can a tenant’s client have any influence on solutions regarding office safety?
Magdalena Majchrzak: Yes absolutely! Some of the companies/tenants providing services for contractors undergo audits regarding the safety of their office space. Client requirements can be highly demanding. In such audits, clients ask about different aspects related to safety – from fire compartmentation to complex security alarms. Therefore, tenants often focus on the safety of a building’s construction, its management, security systems as well as monitoring capability. Contractors, sometimes pay attention to the quality of plasterboard partition walls or which direction the toilet doors opens. This may seem funny, but tenants often decide to relocate their office due to the requirements of their clients.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: What is the most common mistake made by landlords?
Magdalena Majchrzak: I think that it is the embellishment of reality and making promises during the opening stages of negotiations. A person interested in office space is not always able to grasp what can be done with the space. Many companies need some time in order to analyze the offer and consider its potential. Furthermore, landlords should not confirm that changes are possible if they are not completely sure that these changes can be implemented.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: What aspects can we, as the scheme’s users, influence? What is dependent on the owner and what aspects do we have no influence on whatsoever?
Magdalena Majchrzak: In an office building that has many tenants, most of the aspects regarding its security depend upon its owner. Nevertheless, most of them have legal regulations that need to be fulfilled. However, there remain aspects related to a building’s functionality that have a huge influence on the physical safety of people inside it. First of all, I am referring to the provision of adequate security for all entrances and exits. Control of access in itself does not solve the problem as it can be dependent on the human element, especially when it comes to side-entrances and passages leading to parking lots. For my part, I always focus on the organization of the reception in the main hall. I think that at the design phase, many scheme owners should take on board the experiences of hotels. Reception serves as a command centre and a great observational point. Owners of buildings often transfer a great part of their responsibilities to Property Management companies that are hired to manage the buildings - the more reliable the company, the better it is for the tenants.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: What should a tenant focus on when selecting an office building?
Magdalena Majchrzak: Many tenants are guided by a building’s aesthetic values or prestigious location. However ,it is also worth checking what is going on in the neighboring areas. One should also bear in mind that a building located in the city centre can be prone to many inconveniences that city life presents. This may include demonstrations that can descend into violence, or even the risk of a terrorist attack that is unfortunately prevalent in today's world. It is worth imagining the potential dangers and their consequences no matter how remote the chances of these events are from happening. This can prove very helpful and can set a different perspective.
Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek: Many thanks for the interview.
Communication Manager Poland&CEE, JLL
The interview was conducted by Anna Wasilewska-Dąbek, Editor of Bazabiur.pl. Anna is an expert in B2B communication, CRM and digital marketing. She gained her experience working for corporations such as DHL and King Sturge both in Poland and abroad for over 15 years. Anna works at JLL for 4 years.