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Tag: #propertylondon

Vacant Property Inspections (VPIs) in the time of Covid

As a result of the national lockdowns, offices have closed, retail properties are vacant and homeowners have deserted their city properties. Consequently, restaurants have closed their doors, retailers have moved online and the once busy city is empty, creating an unprecedented demand for VPIs.

The term VPI stands for Vacant Property Inspections and in the last year it has become necessary for a far broader range of properties than it did pre-COVID-19.

Many of you may not be familiar with the term VPI, or the practical benefits of a regular vacant property inspection, but it may well effect you. A VPI is critical to property insurance providers, property managers, retail property owners and managers, office managers, building supervisors and even homeowners.

When a property is left unoccupied it may suffer damage, be vandalised even become occupied by squatters, leading you to call on your insurance provider to help resolve the issue. Issues such as fire caused by arson, damp caused by a leaking pipe, burglary due to a weak lock or broken window, squatters or even theft of the contents of the building are worryingly common side-effects of leaving a property empty.

Unfortunately for many, in the event that you do not undertake a regular VPI, your insurance provider can reject any claim you make on the above issues, even if you feel it is covered by your agreement.

A large number of insurance providers expect a property to be inspected a minimum of once a week, checking for a range of issues and providing evidence that such an inspection has taken place. In some cases, without proof, insurance providers do not have to honour a repayment to the customer in the case of damage or theft.

Gallowglass Security’s Property team have seen an unprecedented rise in demand for VPIs. Pre-COVID-19, VPIs were ordinarily for properties that have just been sold or were pre-development. Typically, these properties were vacant for three months and generally considered low risk property. However, since March 2020, Gallowglass Security is now undertaking over 1000 vacant property inspections every month for private property owners through to large corporates.

Every client and every insurance provider has different demands as to how they want the empty property inspected and the VPI to take place. As a result, Gallowglass Security’s Property team provide clients with a tailored made experience based off our extensive knowledge, and the demands of the insurer’s contract.

We provide clients with a daily or weekly, fully digitalised, time-stamped report, featuring photography of all key areas of the building. Alongside this, we also provide our clients with bespoke services, whether this be forwarding mail, bleeding radiators, checking fridges or running the taps and ensuring that no pipes have frozen during these colder months and reducing chances of legionella. Clients have individual demands and our SIA licensed staff always look to accommodate these and ensure their inclusion in our reports.

For those that feel that this is not a concern, there are several horror stories that should act as a warning. One example of which is an empty warehouse that didn’t invest in a professional VPI service. It was reported to contain over 800 tonnes of rubbish, which had been illegally dumped there in 7 days. Due to a lack of reporting, this individual’s insurance provider was not obliged to pay-out and clear the mess left, leaving the owner with a bill over £100,000 to clear the rubbish from the vacant property. As you can imagine the financial cost of a regular VPI is significantly less, let alone the emotional cost.

For those who own a vacant property, whether this be an empty office, empty home or empty warehouse, Vacant Property Inspection Services should be top of your agenda. The effects of COVID are due to have an unprecedented effect on the economy, let alone the personal impacts. Don’t let damage to your vacant property become another burden on you.

Security

Nick Kostov appointed partner as of 01 November 2020

We are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Nick Kostov as a Partner at Gallowglass, and to welcome him as our new Head of Operations. As with many at Gallowglass, Nicks journey towards Partnership has been a fascinating one. Nick graduated as a Primary School Teacher from Bulgaria’s Plovdiv University in Primary School Pedagogy and Foreign Languages, and is also fully licensed to teach at Primary level in England and Wales.

The early signs of his leadership ability, initiative and calmness under pressure were vividly illustrated when undertaking national service in the Bulgarian Air Force, when he single handedly played a critical role in averting an aeronautical disaster. A MIG 23, piloted by a senior Bulgarian General, was in distress and attempting to land at his base. Following a catastrophic failure of communications in air traffic control, he improvised and established alternative means of communications, and from there was able to guide the pilot down to a safe landing.

Since joining Gallowglass in 2008 his leadership ability, particularly in event security, was immediately apparent, and his rise through the security ranks was meteoric. He was the first, and to date, the only guard at Gallowglass ever to secure the accolade of primus inter pares. This qualifies him to undertake all security leadership roles regardless of size and complexity. In this capacity he has continually distinguished himself as an outstanding security team leader at high profile events in London, and at landmark event venues such as the Saatchi Gallery, Kew, the Roundhouse and the corporate and governmental orientated QEII Conference centre.

His leadership style is characterised by his natural authority, that is calm and unflustered and with no small measure of charisma as well. This has always engendered immediate confidence amongst event production professionals in both Nick and his team, and amongst the security team itself. Owing to Nick’s immense and steadfast contribution to Gallowglass’s growth in both a security leader and managerial capacity, he made an unanswerable case for elevation to Partnership, and one that is richly deserved. Away from work Nick delights in family life with his wife and young daughter. He is a connoisseur of Scotch Whiskey and a very keen student of the ferocious martial art, Krav Maga.

Giles Turnbull, the Managing Partner of Gallowglass Security Partners LLP, adds:

” I place a great premium on the timeless concept of leadership and of its value to our organisation, together with a desire to encourage and empower all our valued staff to perform to the absolute limits of their ability and beyond. With this in mind it always gives me immense satisfaction to observe members of our team exhibit these qualities and grasp the opportunities afforded to them to progress through our organisation.

Nick has shown tremendous leadership at all levels and has made an immense contribution to our progress as an organisation, and both I and my fellow Partners are delighted to welcome him to the Partnership. When I reflect on the composition of the Partners, I note that over half started their careers with us as security guards. This confirms that Gallowglass is a meritocracy, where hard work and ability will always secure its reward, and rightly so.”