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Tag: #VPI

Front of House; Building Manager; Security Guard: One person, three jobs

Sadly, due to the Pandemic, it is impossible to keep all three roles active. A limited number of staff and visitors are coming into the building; therefore, reception and front of house staff are largely manning empty reception halls. However, checking on the buildings health and ensuring the site is secure remains critical. A burst pipe, running tap, faulty heating system or broken air conditioning units can cause damage to the building and even effect the company’s ability to work remotely, if servers are kept on site.

Asa result, we are seeing increased demand for an individual that can service all three roles; front of house, security and site inspection, at a fraction of the cost.

This has led Gallowglass Security to fill a new and developing service based on our highly experienced and dedicated existing team.

Historically we have always provided more than simply reception or security, many of our team started in security, but have developed significant building management experience as well as Front of House training from our very own, Amr Fadl, a former concierge at The Ritz and Browns Hotel.

While we can provide front of house and security services, we have also trained our team to have a strong technical knowledge and understanding of how buildings work. Through the wider Gallowglass Security team we can pull on resources to solve most problems without fuss.

Our team also has multi building experience and the confidence to start at an unfamiliar property and immediately get to work. They have the expertise to read existing building manuals and standard operating procedures and instinctively know what needs to be delivered and how. They are able to communicate problems to the property manager coherently and effectively. The team can also communicate with contractors regarding remedial work whilst constantly updating the property’s managers.

This unique skill also comes with the added benefit of Gallowglass Security flexibility and response. We are able to deploy with minimal notice and without lengthy minimum contracts. This gives building managers the ability to call on support when and where they most need it for as long or short a time as they require.

Further advantages of the wider Gallowglass Security support comes when things don’t go to plan. When a problem or work overruns we can continue to provide staff. If a leak is not fixed by the end of a shift, we will immediately deploy a fresh team member, we will not simply say “sorry times up I am going home”. We see all our work through to the end.

We offer this service based on years of experience proving the service as reliable, flexible and cost effective for our customers.

2 Bloomsbury Place-Gallowglass new central London hub

Just before Christmas 2020 Gallowglass Security took over the lease of 2 Bloomsbury Place from our long-term client, The Bedford Estate. The location has become a home to our key holding and response teams, providing respite for our foot patrol teams working through the coldest of winter nights and space for our growing enforcement department.

Although the building is brand new to us there have been many fascinating occupants since the first tenant Mary Frankland lived here from 1733 to 1735. At the time the area was known as “Passionate Bloomsbury” on account of the number of artists and writers who lived in the district. The name Bloomsbury is originally derived from Blemund’s Bury, a “bury” being the Saxon term for a manor house.

The house was occupied by from 1736 by lady Jane King before passing to James Booth who lived here for 42 years. Whilst his name is not a famous one his influence at the time was significant. He wrote the will of George the third, advised the Duke of Cumberland, brother of the king, that “in law no king of England has the power to bequeath personal property” after the king had torn up the will of his father George the second.

From 1772 Richard Heron took up occupation describing it “above middle size, well made and of good construction”. In 1776 he would become principal secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he was held in high esteem for his “integrity and devotion to duty”.

In 1786 a more recognisable name of Richard Ryder took up residence, a royal master carpenter who gave his name to Ryder Street in St James’s as he over saw its construction.

By 1841 the house was used by a charity called the Corporation of the Sons of Clergy which had been established in 1655 by royal charter during the reign of Charles the second. The charity gave pensions and donations to the widows of clergymen and provided education to their children.

This was not the last philanthropic organisation to be based at 2 Bloomsbury Place, in 1885 the Cholmondeley Charities took occupation. A wonderful anecdote from that time was the occasion Lord Cholmondeley was visited at 2 Bloomsbury Place by a famous confidence trickster called Horatio Bottomley. The fraudster made the mistake of pronouncing his lordships name phonetically, the butler advised the miscreant that “chumleigh” was the correct way to address Lord Cholmondeley. To which Bottomley retorted “I see, in that case perhaps you would tell his lordship that Mr Bummerley is here to see him”.

By 1920, 2 Bloomsbury Place became exclusively used for commercial activities, these have included a firm of watch importers, a lady named Millauro who specialised in the manufacture of glass eyes, and the press and public relations specialists, Richman and Associates. It is our turn to write a new footnote in this building’s wonderful history.

Meet Jaco Nieuwoudt; Head of Regions, Partner, Security Expert, Chef, Curer of meats, Rugby Player,BBQ enthusiast

Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions and Partner, Jaco Nieuwoudt, has been with us since 2003, after flying over from Pretoria, South Africa, where he was born.  

Although a proud South African, Jaco left the Rainbow Nation to fly over to the UK 18 years ago, at the age of 21, swapping the high veldt of South Africa for the Dales of Yorkshire, via London.   

Now living in West Yorkshire, with his family, Jaco manages all Gallowglass Security’s major event security, regional security services and acting as our client’s and partners point of contact across the Midlands and the North, often playing a hands-on role.   

Jaco and John with Sir Ranulph Fiennes

For those that have met Jaco, it will come as no surprise that he was a keen rugby player and a big presence on the pitch, let alone a Security site. As a young man, Jaco played for the first mixed race school in South Africa, CR SWART, as a Prop or Lock. When he flew over to the UK, he was quick to pick up his boots and join Ilford Wanderers Rugby club in London, but due to the nature of our work, he had to quickly hang them back up, as his reputation for delivering excellent security services started to grow.  

Historic moment- Stuart Rae’s (front row left – Solicitor/Partner) last game of rugby

Starting as a Security Steward in 2003, Jaco’s eye for detail, eagerness to go above and beyond and exceptional client service led him quickly up the Gallowglass Security ranks; becoming a qualified trainer (PTLLS), a certified bailiff and creating Gallowglass Security’s unique and highly adaptable in-house training portal for all security personnel joining the company.   

During his time as a Crewing Manager, our clients were quick to request Jaco’s presence and support for their events and security projects. This led Jaco to often travel the country at the client’s request to support some of Gallowglass Security’s most prestigious events partners, ensuring an excellent level of security service was delivered.  

As a result, we knew we couldn’t keep Jaco in our headquarters and realised that the best way to serve our most active regions and give our clients what they wanted, was for Jaco to be closer to the clients and growing Gallowglass Security’s regional practice.  

Glasgow’s Cadbury’s spots and stripes tour

Since taking over the practice, our regional offer has gone from strength to strength; offering more services to a broader range of clients. Jaco is successfully navigating the trials and tribulations of an ever-changing market and our client’s demands, providing excellent service, and ensuring that the team are quick to deploy at a moment’s notice.   

When Jaco is not setting up your security detail, evicting trespassers, managing our team of 80 security experts and answering client queries and questions, he can be found in the kitchen or at the barbecue with his family. Like a true South African, he loves to barbecue large pieces of meat over a low heat for a long time. Alongside this, he can often be found curing different meats and making traditional South African Biltong and boerewors. It will come as no surprise to anyone then that when asked what his favourite Gallowglass Security event was, Jaco was quick to reply, “Foodies Festival!” 

Like all of us, Jaco is looking forward to the return of events and festivals up and down the country. In order to bring this about, he is working closely with Petar Petrov, Head of Health and Safety, to advise clients on how to prepare for the new normal. If you are interested in hearing how Jaco is preparing for event security in the age of COVID and what we can do to help, be sure to contact him and he will only be too happy to answer your questions.  

Gallowglass Security – Regions – Security outside the Capital

Gallowglass Security, although headquartered in London, has operated a successful regional security program across the country for over a decade, from North East, North West, Yorkshire and Birmingham to the South of England through to Bristol and down to Cornwall.

Gallowglass Security’s regional practice is over ten years old and led by Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions, Jaco Nieuwoudt, from his offices in West Yorkshire.

Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths
Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths

Running a team of up to 80 guards, Jaco has been helping to deliver all Gallowglass Security’s core practices outside of the capital for over a decade, even before he became a Partner and Head of Regions.

COVID-19 has changed the type of business Gallowglass Security is working on, but despite the restrictions the phone continues to ring with new requests and a burgeoning client list, across the company’s business units of Property Security, Events Security and Enforcement.

Jaco said: “Prior to COVID-19, we were undertaking a lot of promotional roadshows with major brands and securing festivals and public events for our clients across the country.  More recently we have been working with clients to secure their properties, evict trespassing travellers and undertake VPIs to ensure vacant properties are not being damaged or falling into disrepair.”

Gallowglass Security has been proud to work with Tough Mudder since 2012 across 12 of their events a year; however, during COVID-19, these security guards have re-skilled and utilised their experience to support clients across a range of eviction and property related security services.

Tough Mudder

Despite the challenges, the regional security team have adapted. Jaco continued: “We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt, our professional, above and beyond approach and our ability to deploy quickly. Client’s are having to adapt quickly under stressful circumstance, which is why we adapt quickly with them. Providing a reassuring, proactive, professional security presence is critical to curing client’s security concerns.”

Utilising Gallowglass Security’s significant Property Security experience, they are now working with a large number of commercial building owners. The types of buildings Gallowglass Security are protecting, include warehouses, commercial property, such as shops and trading estates for estate agents, business owners and administrators, offering VPIs, manned guarding, key holding and alarm response.

Jaco said: “I have always loved the events side of the security business and a personal favourite, as a keen cook, was Foodies Festival. We love seeing the competition and camaraderie at events like Tough Mudder, the joy at The Big Feastival and the energy at all the music festivals we support. We cannot wait to have them back and support them again. However, in the meantime, our skills and training programs have allowed us to adapt and attack the challenges our clients face today, across the country.”

Tudors on Tour

For those that are looking for security solutions, whether it be related to estates and properties, enforcement or events, contact Jaco and his team.

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.