Expect Unexpected; Peter Bowden, Senior Director and Head of DTZ's Property Management Business in the North-East, Looks at Lessons to Be Learned after the Recent Riots

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), August 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Expect Unexpected; Peter Bowden, Senior Director and Head of DTZ's Property Management Business in the North-East, Looks at Lessons to Be Learned after the Recent Riots


Byline: Peter Bowden

THE physical - and therefore financial - impact on property and businesses as a result of the ongoing civil unrest has been widely broadcast on news channels, newspapers and across the internet. The damage has prompted some searching questions from a property perspective that carry resonance for all property owners. How do you plan effectively for the unexpected and what should your priorities be when faced with a major incident such as a riot? It is fair to say that rioting on the streets, while not unknown, is an extremely rare occurrence. As a society, we can all draw comfort from this fact, however what it represents - 'an unexpected event' - happens with surprising frequency and it is prudent therefore to plan for these occurrences to ensure that you are ready and know what to do when you are affected.

A major incident could be anything from a gas main explosion, a bomb threat, a transport network failure, a fire, a fuel spillage or it could be even be an outbreak of a contagious disease that temporarily debilitates a workforce. Essentially where property is concerned, these incidents fall into two groups - the direct physical and non-directly physical threat to property. For the direct physical threat, obvious examples are incidents such as a fire, civil unrest, or structural collapse, but could also extend to a common drain, failure of a lift facility, or discovery of asbestos next to the heating plant in the common plant room, for example.

For the directly physical threat, you need to consider preparing a Major Incident Plan, which may either be a stand alone, or link to the non-directly physical Business Disaster Recovery Plan. Planning for the unexpected is all about forethought, considering what may potentially happen and then thinking how you can best overcome or work around the eventualities to minimise or eliminate the impact.

There is no denying that there is place for common sense when reacting to an unexpected event, but the types of situation to be considered will frequently extend to cover a number of different people, each fulfilling separate roles, who need to work together to resolve the problem. …

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