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Five Incredibly Actionable Top Tips To Protect Your Empty Commercial Property

Five Incredibly Actionable Top Tips To Protect Your Empty Commercial Property
Five Incredibly Actionable Top Tips To Protect Your Empty Commercial Property

If you own a commercial property or are responsible for managing one, and it’s empty right now, is it an asset or more of a liability?

Is it offering the return on investment you deserve?

Your vacant office, shop, warehouse, factory, pub or restaurant, or construction site could be causing you more trouble than you need.


Rolling the Dice

As well as the (hopefully temporary) financial loss, there’s also a risk to the building itself. It’s a gamble and one you could lose.

Our unfriendly cold weather may batter it externally, and burst water pipes could cause internal damage. The structure is likely to deteriorate over time and lose value. Arsonists seek out destruction by fire, it’s what they do. Vandals may cause mindless, pointless harm because…well, just because they can. Then there are thieves keen on stealing anything not nailed down. And, squatters, who, as the law currently stands, can more or less occupy your vacant property with impunity.

Any repairs to the property during its secluded sojourn will be down to the landlord, which is you.

That’s the not-so-great news. It’s a bit of a tale of woe, sorry.

The Clearway team knows that YOU know this already. So, where are we going here? Well, there are a few things you can do immediately to keep your commercial property secure and reduce risk. These are all straightforward measures and make perfect sense.

We can take care of them for you.

Secure Property Paybacks

A safer, well-maintained commercial building protects the value of your asset and, importantly, will enable continued insurance coverage – this is expensive enough already for empty properties. Equally, it promotes better neighbourhoods and maintains goodwill; it’s fair to say that broken windows and graffiti attract more and more broken windows and graffiti. Plus, careless anti-social behaviour.

In the ideally short-term absence of a tenant, here are the top five highly actionable things you can ask Clearway to manage for you:

  • A Risk Assessment

We provide a comprehensive risk assessment as part of your initial engagement.

This is a critical step. Why? Because if you want to effect immediate security, you must identify any weak points. While Clearway will do all the heavy lifting with a full evaluation, it’s also worth talking to your staff about what they think can be improved.

  • Secure All Access Points: Priority Prevention

Obvious, really, but a key priority should be to lock down and prevent would-be invaders or criminals from getting in and doing their worst.

For peace of mind, book this service before your last tenants leave the property. This ensures a seamless transition.

Ensuring a physical barrier protects every door, window, or skylight offers an excellent first line of defence. Here, we’d suggest steel security screens and steel sheets, especially where entry is visible. These are well-liked and accepted by our clients as highly effective. Look out for Clearway-protected properties – you may often see our screens and sheets on them.

Clearway Steel Screens

Fort Knox R Us, so to speak.

They’re fitted to the outside of the property over doors and windows and secured to an internal steel frame. Where there are unusual shapes, we can hand-cut steel sheets.

Don’t forget your perimeters. Concrete blocks are outstandingly good at preventing four-wheeled vehicles from getting anywhere near the premises.

There are other notification solutions for monitoring and screening this vulnerable area, which we’ll touch on in our Surveillance section.

Access control systems only permit authorised personnel to enter the property. They’re ultra-clever and sophisticated. We’ve written a full article about them here.

  • Keep An Electronic Eye

It seems that determined criminals will stop at nothing to access unoccupied commercial premises. They are indeed resolute and determined in their quest. Therefore, the wise and easy option is to have measures in place to spot intruders – either at the perimeter or the property itself – and then be able to act accordingly.

Wireless video alarm systems make the most of mobile phone technology. Once activated, they piece together images of the event (it may be a false alarm) to create a 10-second clip to forward to our monitoring centre.

Clearway can install CCTV high up on the property or on moveable towers. They record in wonderfully clear definition and if your security needs change, you can place the moveable ones precisely where you need to.

CCTV towers

We always make it abundantly clear that one of “our” buildings is well-secured by displaying notices advising of the presence of CCTV and alarms. Signs in and of themselves are a visual deterrent, as well as the equipment being used.

In addition to being a legal requirement, it helps to make someone think twice.

  • Get Humans (And Maybe Dogs) Involved

Human instinct, our powers of observation and essential critical thinking are your must-have link in the chain to secure an unoccupied location. No other being on the planet has these skills, at least not yet.

We will customise property inspections directly to meet the needs of your premises.

Regular inspections are especially important if a place will be empty for some time. Highly qualified security staff will look for any signs of external damage or intrusion and check the inside. There are many things they look for, including evidence of squatters, fly-tipping, tampering with locks or CCTV, ensuring that the letterboxes are still sealed, and searching for any water leaks – it’s a long and comprehensive list.

The security guards we work with are trained to the highest standards and fully accredited to deliver static manned guarding, mobile patrols etc.

Man’s Best Friend often goes along: these NASDU-trained animals are dogs like no other: they live to serve their human companions and will assertively safeguard the property.

As in: No one is ever going to mess with a security dog and its master.

security guard and dog
  • Expect the Best, But Prepare for the Worst

Yes, it’s a well-worn expression, but don’t leave yourself, or your sites open to attack or vulnerable in any way.

Nothing may happen, or the absolute worst could happen. If you need to reconsider your security after an event, please do it. Thieves and vandals may already know your systems and the equipment you plan to replace – and word will go around.

What We Think

Clearway has over 30 years’ experience in the security sector. We’re your safe pair of hands and would be pleased to work with you. Depending on your requirements, we can install your priority measures with a quick turnaround, with all the expertise you would expect from such a well-established, specialist company.

Get in touch for more information.

More Quick Action Points:

Theft is a thing. Even if you think there’s nothing worth stealing in an empty property, there are still items of value that thieves would love to get their hands on. Metal-based items, including copper from wiring, lead from roofs, and even aluminium from heating ducts, are crook catnip.

Utility advice. Shutting down your gas and electricity may incur a disconnection and connection charge, so we’d recommend you to take advice on this. However, draining down your water pipes is a 10/10 idea, as they may crack in the colder weather and cause extensive damage.

Get a Plan. Consider drawing up an emergency plan to agree with your employees or colleagues exactly what would happen in the case of an incident. You may wish to include protocols for fire, flooding, vandalism or any other threats. Review it regularly, and keep everything up to date. This works, as it’s an excellent way for your team to pull together with nobody running around in a panic not knowing what to do.

Forearmed is forewarned. Always a good idea, wouldn’t you say?

Gideon Reichental

Vacant Property Security Consultant

Gideon is an experienced property specialist with a commitment to excellent customer service and support. With over eight years dedicated to the niche field of vacant property security and services, Gideon has been at the forefront of developing and implementing best practices and successful strategies for safeguarding vulnerable properties, demonstrating a profound understanding of the complexities involved. His hands-on experience includes managing portfolios of over 200 vacant properties directly, alongside senior management roles overseeing broader portfolios that encompass more than 2000 properties.

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