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TECHNOLOGY CREATES INDUSTRY FIRSTS IN TORONTO CONDO COMMUNITIES

Steven Christodoulou is using technology to digitally track their response to COVID-19 and enhance safety at all ICC condominium high rises and townhouses located in the Greater Toronto Area – representing over 26,000 units.

The founder and Chief Visionary Officer of ICC Property Management Inc. worked with Toronto tech firm Safe Buildings to begin digitizing the industry’s first digital risk management program.  It allows ICC staff to access building operations information while respecting work from home and social distancing guidelines at the building.

Gone are the cumbersome clipboards and manual reports that are touch points in the workplace that can often go missing from properties or are incomplete.  A problem Christodoulou’s team may not have determined until municipal fire inspectors visited a property and requested the paper trail.

Instead, cleaning, safety and security checks are being replaced with a digital checklist, part of an easily implemented technology that’s as simple to use as tapping one’s thumb on a smart phone. 

The initiative, rolled out by ICC several weeks ago, has proven to deliver significant benefits for their COVID-19 response, allowing building management team to remotely access the building’s fire code compliance status – from home. 

“We wanted to support our teams in the field and the technology needed to provide a return on investment to our Boards.  From an operational perspective the application pays for itself,” said Judy Statham, President of ICC in Toronto.

The technology has allowed ICC property managers to digitally track safety and security compliance and the cleaning of targeted touch points, along with other COVID-19 response considerations. 

“As an industry, we are all taking steps to enhance employee and resident safety and with technology we can remain at the forefront,” said Statham.

The technology, currently being rolled out at each ICC property, will also provide building staff with secure access to emergency procedures from anywhere on the property. 

“Board members may access this as part of a condo corporation’s business continuity plan, something that we are taking very seriously here at ICC.  This makes it easy to implement protocols at each of our buildings and allow us to apply lessons learned – strengthening our portfolio of communities,” Statham stated.

“The problem with the way we were doing it before was that it was manual and there was no way of proving compliance to our Boards.  As a property manager, you have to be a jack of all trades and navigating through the fire and safety code requirements can be difficult,” said Christodoulou.

“ICC is the first property management company in Canada to use this technology across the organization which positively impacts over 50,000 Ontarians who live in their managed buildings,” expressed Jason Reid, Developer and Technical Advisor for Safe Buildings in Toronto.

“The technology is changing how we look at evidence of compliance.  Most organizations do great work and complete their safety, security checks.  The problem is that they lack the evidence of completion.  ICC’s platform can provide both date, time and photographic stamped evidence that elevates the standard of care in a building and takes it to unprecedented levels to protect residents.”

The Safe Building’s Technology has allowed for some Canadian firsts

  • One of the first condominiums in Canada to digitally track fire code compliance with date and time stamped evidence of compliance – available 24 hours a day from anywhere.
  • On of the first condominiums in Canada who’s building staff have significantly reduced response time with secure digital access to the building’s emergency procedures for fire and flood emergencies – from anywhere in the building. 
  • The first portfolio of condominiums in Canada to provide digital access to the location of shut-off valves – 6 minutes faster than any other building.  Reducing costs associated with damages and resident impacts during emergencies. (Based on live time trials)
  • One of the first condominiums in Canada to offer the arriving Fire Services with secure digital access to a list of vulnerable occupants and where the pets live in the building – saving time and saving lives.

“Taking our fire safety plans digital, we will be reducing our annual fees across a portfolio of 200 buildings and the benefits in reduced costs are proudly shared by the properties we manage.  This allows us to reduce annual recurring fees and provide better service to clients,” explained Judy of ICC. 

ICC is not the only property management company to utilize technology to enhance safety and security within condominiums.  Other companies are also realizing the value of technology both up front and down-stream. 

“By going digital, we are supporting building staff with the right tools to have a direct impact on resident safety before and during emergencies.  That’s what makes this exciting technology so appealing,” expressed Lisa Rapisardi, an ICC Condo Manager in Toronto.

“Code requirements can be broken down into daily, weekly, monthly and annually – that’s a lot to remember when you’re overseeing the day-to-day operations of a building during these trying times. Forgetting even one of these checks can pose huge issues for a property manager when fire inspectors visit,” she admitted. 

“We went digital two months ago – I receive a report every morning!”

That’s why Lubko Belej, General Manager of The Residences of Maple Leaf Square, managed by Del Property Management, started using the Safe Buildings technology last summer.

“In addition to straightforward compliance benefits, the implementation of this technology allows us to easily access the lists of residents needing assistance during emergencies, pets in the building, fire safety and emergency response plans.  Even the floor plans for two towers with 872 suites can be accessed digitally by my staff – faster than any other building in Canada I’m proud of that,” Lubko exclaimed.

“Safe Buildings can prevent emergencies by making staff aware of potential issues, from obstacles in the parking garage to expired fire extinguishers, before they arise.”

“Doing the daily checks, we can see some of the safety issues that might pop up. If a report isn’t done, I get a notification. Then, I can ask our staff why it wasn’t done and to complete it so that we have the evidence – and keep our residents safe,” Lubko added.

“The adoption of technology in managing risk and compliance in residential condominiums must allow a building to measure compliance daily and be remotely accessible.  It should provide residual benefits to the community it serves,” said Reid.   

“Currently, there are condominiums in the GTA digitally tracking the cleaning of touch points in the building every three hours as part of their COVID-19 response plan.  If they forget, the staff are reminded until it’s completed, and the date and time stamped evidence is maintained forever.  In risk management, it’s this evidence of completion that’s as important as the task.”

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