By Elizabeth Bessette/ Published Oct 2015
Communities work hard to develop and maintain their common areas and amenities. Although associations do what they can to control vandalism and after-hours usage, many pools, tot lots, and sports courts are left exposed. Mat Lamore, manager with GRS Management, discussed the process one of the associations he works with went through to guarantee better security at their community. They wanted to discourage use by non-residents of their clubhouse, pool, playground, and sports court. The association had previously purchased cameras to install in their clubhouse, but the cameras were not monitored, and the manager was responsible for scanning through hours of footage to find documentation after damage to property or a break in had been discovered.
Most commonly, pool areas and clubhouses are hot spots for young adults to frequent during off hours. “The amenities were becoming a hangout for kids at night” explains Lamore. These areas also become targets for vandalism. Many communities know the frustration of waking up to the patio furniture in the pool or graffiti in the common areas (despite having secured gates or roaming guards in place). These occurrences oftentimes motivate HOAs to research the different options security companies can provide. As with the communities managed by Lamore, they searched for comparable options for surveillance online, through referrals and by word of mouth.
Their results were informative. Many security companies could satisfy their initial need for better security. However, they were experiencing challenges in finding a solution that was all encompassing; specifically a system that would control access into the area but would not take time away from Lamore’s primary responsibilities. Through their research, they noticed companies existed that could install security cameras, but they would outsource their monitoring service, or the manager would have to pull the video feed. Others could provide access control, but the community/manager would need to manage their own database. Least common of all were comprehensive, in-house service and maintenance plans.
Ultimately the association decided to select Envera Systems as their security provider for access control. What made the decision for them were several variables. First, was the ability to satisfy their need for access control on the gates and doors leading to the amenities and clubhouse. No longer would non-residents be able to access the amenities dedicated for residents only. Secondly, Envera Systems installed the equipment and offered a service and maintenance plan. Without the plan, the manager would need to get a vote from the board for the repair and then locate a service provider that was familiar with the equipment. Thirdly, the association and the property manager would not have to manage the database. Records of the community could be organized and kept up to date while allowing Lamore to focus on his primary responsibilities as the manager. “You want your manager to manage—not look through 10 hours of video footage or complete data entry”, states Lamore. Additionally, the association could update who had access to the amenities through the use of credentials. If a resident wanted to reserve the clubhouse, fobs could be programmed for that specific homeowner for the requested times as well. The key fobs are assigned to specific homeowners and tenants. If a resident is late on their dues or decides to relocate, the fobs can be disabled, eliminating the need (and cost) to change locks or collect keys.
The new access control system at the community has been operational since early this summer when the implementation team from Envera Systems started registering approved homeowners and tenants. These meetings provided an opportunity for Lamore to collect updated lease documents and unpaid dues as well. Working together, Envera and Lamore designed and distributed informative mailings to residents as to when they could collect their key fobs. Notices at the amenities were posted alerting homeowners when the system would be turned on. Since going live, the system has prevented after-hours usage and unwelcome visitors from using the amenities. It has also allowed the community’s roaming guard to focus on securing other areas of the community.
Marketing and Sales Analyst, Envera Systems
As an analyst in marketing and sales, Elizabeth Bessette has been working at Envera Systems since September 2014. With a background in marketing and event planning, she has combined her passion for design with Envera’s dedication to top performing security systems. Her responsibilities include creating new magazine, video, and advertising content; launching e-mail campaigns; and organizing tradeshow events throughout Florida. Envera Systems specializes in security technology systems combined with remote guards to replace or enhance guards at communities. Contact Info: (855) 936-8372 or www.EnveraSystems.com.
Associations should consider researching professional options to help secure, monitor, and manage valuables. Key factors to focus on while shopping for a security provider should include: how a company maintains communication, confirming employed guards (remote or live) are Class D licensed, if they have a service and maintenance plan, and if it is in-house or outsourced. Another important consideration as a homeowner in Florida is understanding what the company’s hurricane preparedness plan is, if any. With emerging trends improving the way security professionals protect community assets, associations should start researching what options are available to best protect their amenities. The next generation of technology will provide associations with peace of mind that their valuables are well protected.