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Technology vs. COVID-19  Condos & Co-ops Use Tech    Tools to Beat the Virus    BY A J SIDRANSKY  December 2020        NEWENGLANDCONDO.COM   Zachary Kestenbaum is the CEO of BuildingLink, a nation-  al provider of multifamily building technology located in New   York. “We know that in property management, being prepared   for the unexpected and establishing clear and proactive com-  munication is essential, and that’s been especially true during   this pandemic. Communities that came into the pandemic with   electronic systems already in place and having already switched   205 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 • CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED  continued on page 6   THE CONDO, HOA & CO-OP RESOURCE  CONDOMINIUM  NEW ENGLAND  When a crisis hits a multifamily com-  munity—or any other organization—the   difference between a good outcome and a   disastrous one is often a matter of simple   preparedness. Residential communities in   particular need to have a plan in case of an   emergency, whether that emergency takes   the form of COVID or hurricane, earth-  quake, or fire. Some states and munici-  palities require multifamily buildings and   developments to draft emergency contin-  gency plans as a matter of law, and some   don’t—but in any event, they are always a   must-have for the safety of your commu-  nity.  What Is a Fire Safety Plan?  Public service announcements have   been ubiquitous for years about the need   for everyone to know what to do in a fire   emergency, but in order to know that, you   need to have a pre-prepared plan. The   proper name for an official fire safety plan   is  a  Fire  Emergency  Preparedness  Guide   (FEPG). It gives you information about   what is physically installed in your build-  ing—fire protection systems, exits, stairs—  and describes both fire and non-fire emer-  gencies. FEPG requirements for buildings   can originate with the state or local gov-  ernment (or neither—in which case it’s in-  cumbent on boards and managers to make   sure their communities draft, maintain,   and update as needed their own FEPG).   The form of ownership, whether it be co-  op, condo, or rental, is irrelevant; indeed,   FEGPs  aren’t  just  for  residential  build-  ings—commercial and industrial build-  ings should have them as well. Safety is a   matter of precaution and common sense,   even to the level of the individual family.   More on FEPGs  “We’ve done a good amount of research   over the years and in our experience, fire   It’s become axiomatic that over time, technology gets smaller, more efficient, and   more capable of multiple increasingly sophisticated and specialized tasks. Think about   your mobile phone. There was a time in the not-so-distant past that its predecessor,   the car phone, was tethered to the inside of your vehicle, and its sole task was to make   voice telephone calls. Now consider your current smartphone.  It’s everything from a   multi-option means of communication to a pocket-size encyclopedia, placing pretty   much the whole of accumulated human knowledge in the palm of your hand.    Technologies developed for use in the real estate industry have gotten smaller, more   efficient, and more multifaceted with each successive generation, too. And now with   the coronavirus being a looming presence over nearly every aspect of multifamily life,   developing  technology  may  also  offer  tremendous  unexpected  benefits  to  mitigate   COVID’s unexpected consequences.  The Intersection of COVID & Tech  When developers—both real estate and software—initially devised technologies as   refinements for residential buildings and their occupants, chances are they weren’t   anticipating that those innovations would one day be used to combat and control a   public health crisis like COVID; emergencies like fires and power interruptions, sure.   Keeping residents and their property safe from intruders and other threats, certainly.   But a highly infectious, potentially deadly microbe sweeping the globe and bringing   the business of everyday life to a crawl, or even a grinding halt? Not so much.    The  holidays: a  time for  upholding   long-standing traditions, usually in-  volving festive gatherings of family and   friends, communal meals, sacred servic-  es, gift exchanges, visitors, and, invari-  ably, crowds—until this year, that is.   The coronavirus is forcing families   and communities to reconsider what,   how, and with whom they celebrate in   ways that have never before been ad-  dressed. For festivities that occur in co-  ops, condos, and HOAs, those plans will   also have to account for new rules and   restrictions that associations and corpo-  rations have adopted to keep their resi-  dents, staff, and visitors as safe as pos-  sible as the pandemic heads into another   year.   But in spite of the unprecedented   challenges before them, associations and   cooperatives are finding ways to imbue   the season with spirit and celebration. It   just might look a bit different than it has   in the past.   Where the Weather Is Warm  In localities where pleasant tempera-  tures stick around for the holiday season,   outdoor festivities  offer  communities  a   safer option for gathering than being in-  doors. Where six-foot separation can be   maintained, and provided that masks are   worn properly by all attendees when they   are not eating or drinking, a small out-  door holiday gathering with people from   outside one’s household is considered   “moderate risk” by health experts, in-  cluding the Centers for Disease Control   and Prevention (CDC). (“Lower risk” ac-  tivities are discussed in the next section.)  Warm-weather locations are also pop-  ular holiday destinations for out-of-state   visitors, of course, so communities in   places like Florida and Nevada must also   consider how they are going to handle an   influx of guests, revelers, and vacationers   when states’ viral counts are surging and   regulations for quarantining and COVID   testing change frequently.   Dr. Linda Marks, Commissioner of   the City of Aventura, Florida, as well as   Fire Safety Plans   Have a Strategy Before    You Need It  BY A J SIDRANSKY  Prepping for the   Holidays in a Pandemic  Condos Co-ops, & HOAs   Create Cheer, Even in Crisis  BY DARCEY GERSTEIN  continued on page 9   continued on page 8 

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