From the Summer 2020 Issue
Why Does an RCM Designation Matter to Condominium Security?
The RCM Advantage
Condominium managers play a vital role in ensuring the proper functioning of the forest of towers that have sprung up across Canada’s major urban centres in recent years. When we think of their responsibilities, we think of everything from managing building maintenance and capital upgrades to hiring staff and working with condominium boards, to providing effective financial oversight for the property. What we don’t often consider is how security factors into a condominium manager’s duties.
Condominium managers typically hire security firms to oversee building concierge duties, set the service-level agreements for property patrols, work with security providers to ensure effective building by-law enforcement, and more. Their recommendation of a security firm to the condo board has potentially massive implications for a building’s residents. And from our experience, those with the Registered Condominium Manager (RCM) designation have the extra tools necessary to make the most informed recommendations.
As we know, security personnel are the first point of contact for most residents and visitors when they enter a building. They enforce those aforementioned by-law rules and are often the very first responders in cases of emergency. If fire crews or paramedics are required at the scene, security guards are typically the ones who meet and direct them to necessary on-site resources. If there is a major maintenance issue such as an elevator breakdown, security personnel are often the ones informed of the issue first, before relaying details to building management to organize repairs. That’s an especially critical role at a time when condos are growing ever taller, and access to upper floors becomes a major risk factor for residents, particularly in emergency situations.
Condo owners want to know that management has done their due diligence in selecting a security firm to protect their property and provide the very best service experience possible. Finding a manager with the necessary skill set to provide that guidance can be a challenge. The industry has seen a widespread shortage of qualified property managers in recent years due to the explosion in condo development. Many buildings have suffered from a lack of managerial experience and expertise.
In terms of qualifications, performance and expectations for condominium managers, the RCM designation sets a higher standard than the General License. With a rigorous educational program at its foundation and experience and continuing education, requirements they have a better understanding of how to properly vet prospective security firms in areas such as reliability, service quality and product offerings. It takes an experienced manager not only to understand the technology but to assess budgets and negotiate the price of the equipment provided.
The right security firm will also help a condo manager identify areas of potential risk and liability across a property. Again, if the task is to protect and help enhance the value of a building—especially one soaring to 50 floors or more—the risks can be complex and numerous. RCM-designated managers have the advanced training necessary to understand and manage complicated issues on the security front, skills that a General Licensee may lack.
Lastly, because condo managers are the ones that liaise directly with condo boards to set everything from budgets to maintenance schedules, their recommendations hold added weight and importance. For example, if they make the wrong strategic security staffing suggestions, or encourage the adoption of a security technology that may be inadequate, the ramifications can be significant and lasting with potential impacts on a condominium’s bottom line.
The guidance an RCM-designated manager can provide is vital to a building’s long-term success, improving financial performance, quality of life, and reducing legal liability. Achieving all of those goals also means making effective security procurement and deployment decisions. Condo boards would be wise, then, to think carefully when reviewing a prospective condo manager’s qualifications—their safety and security depend on it.
Winston Stewart is the President and CEO of Wincon Security, a Scarborough, Ontario-based security firm that has delivered property monitoring and protective services to retail, commercial, industrial and condominium clients across the Greater Toronto Area for more than 25 years.