Condo Media - June 2018 - 20

Y

GOT SECURITY QUESTIONS?
"You want an independent consultant
who has absolutely no affiliation with any
type of security company," Scott Civian,
security manager for the Brook House
Condominium Trust in Brookline, Mass.,
emphasizes. An independent consultant,
he notes, isn't selling anything but advice,
and therefore has no incentive to recommend expensive services or products the
association doesn't need.
Norman Bates, president and founder
of Massachusetts-based Liability Consultants, Inc., agrees. Many security vendors
offer free security assessments, but the
"consultants" doing the assessments,
he notes, are sales people, with a vested
interest in promoting the products and
services their companies are selling. "The
more cameras you buy and the more
security personnel you hire, the more
money they make."
Christopher Lanni, CMCA, AMS, CPP,
president of Secure Residential Services,
LLC, puts it this way: "An independent
consultant won't recommend a $200,000
security system, when all you need is a
$500 camera."
FINDING A CONSULTANT
You can find a list of independent
consultants at the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, a trade group that accepts only
independent consultants as members.
But membership in the IAPSC doesn't
guarantee that a consultant has the
experience and skills your community
needs, Bates cautions. "It's like any other profession," he says. "Some people
look good on paper"-but only on paper.
"All consultants are not created equal,"
he notes. Some are more experienced,
more skillful, or may be a better match
than others for a particular community.
Lanni thinks professional certifications can be a useful benchmark for
evaluating security consultants. "I'm
big on certifications," he says. "They
reflect a commitment to the industry
and to professional development that
puts them on a different level."
For consultants working with
condominiums, experience with
residential communities is essential,

20

CONDOMEDIA

condominium executives and security
experts agree.
"Residential is very different from the
corporate world," notes Civian, who has
experience with both. "In a condominium,
you are dealing with people's homes." And
people think about their homes differently than corporations think about their
office buildings. Corporate security procedures also tend to be similar in different
buildings, he says, reflecting industry
standards that don't change much over
time. Condominiums, on the other hand,
have many more policies and procedures
that differ from one community to
another and can change frequently when
boards turn over.
Condominium residents are also more
concerned about privacy, according to
Civian, who notes, "There's a fine line
between privacy and security," and consultants working with condominiums, he
says, must recognize the need to strike a
balance between them.
"Every community has its own philosophy, its own way of doing things, different
rules and different tolerances," Lanni
emphasizes. Security procedures that are
acceptable in one community might be
anathema in another. Consultants must
understand these "nuances," he says.
"They have to recommend solutions that
fit an association's philosophy as well as
its budget and operations." Boards that
pick a consultant without residential experience, he cautions, "could go sideways
very quickly."
STYLE, PERSONALITY,
AND CHEMISTRY
The process for finding a security consultant is like the selection process boards
would use for any contractor: Develop a
list of consultants in your area, identify
several who "look good on paper," check
their references, and interview the three
or four who survive this initial screening.
You are looking for good chemistry as well
as appropriate knowledge and experience.
"Describe different scenarios and ask
how different consultants would handle
them," Civian suggests. "You want to
gauge whether their style and personality
are a good match for the community."

Listening skills are also important,
Lanni says. "You want a consultant who
listens to your concerns, who is able to
pick up on cues and understand your
community. You don't want consultants
who come in thinking they understand
everything about your property," he adds.
"You want them to be open to learning
about the community," and committed to
working with the board to develop proposals that meet the community's needs.
Boards obviously can't predict the
issues consultants will identify, but they
should have a well-defined idea of the
goals they want to achieve. "Having a clear
understanding of the board's expectations
is critical to a successful relationship,"
Bates says.
Lanni agrees. "We have a high-level
conversation with boards about their
goals up front," Lanni says. He suggests
that boards consider having a preliminary
conversation with a consultant early in
the process, before selecting candidates
to interview, to ask if the board's goals are
reasonable and achievable. "I don't mind
having those brief conversations," Lanni
says. "A lot of my work stems from them."
It is also helpful if boards consider in
advance the funding they are going to
allocate for security planning, industry
experts suggest. That initial budget may
change based on the consultant's recommendations, but it will provide a frame of
reference consultants can use in developing a proposal.
DEFINING GOALS
AND EXPECTATIONS
What exactly will security consultants do
for you? The short answer-as little or as
much as you request.
"All projects are different," Lanni says.
"Some boards have made all the decisions" and just want help in implementing
them. Some want consultants to address
a specific question-"should we install
cameras or hire security guards?" Some
want consultants to provide "a complete
solution"-identify problems, develop
a security plan, prepare RFPs, evaluate
vendor proposals (for technology and
security services), and oversee the implementation process.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - June 2018

Contents
Condo Media - June 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - June 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - June 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - June 2018 - 2
Condo Media - June 2018 - 3
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Condo Media - June 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - June 2018 - Cover4
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