A Security Guard’s Role In Assisting Contractors
By: Kim Brown
Date Published: November 1, 2021
Now that the United States is returning to old routines, condo residents are no longer home all of the time. If they are unable to be in their units when a contractor is available, concierge or security may be asked to let the professional in.
Escorting contractors to condo units
Maintenance that is carried out on behalf of owners/residents, or the condo association, requires that contractors enter the units. However, residents must give consent to the management team or front desk unless there is evidence that the safety of owners and/or security of the building is at risk.
If the building uses a software system, residents can either grant authorization for a contractor to enter when submitting a service request, or through a separate guest authorization feature.
The authorization feature is very useful if owners have their own contractor coming in. They can include detailed information like the name of the contractor, reason for the visit, comments, and even a photo, if applicable. Security would have access to all of this information, making it easier for them to ensure they’re letting the right person in.
If authorization has been granted, someone who works for the building will need to let the contractor in, and lock up after they are finished. Under no circumstance should any visitor be given a key to the unit. The owner or resident may request that a staff member remains in the unit with the contractor. This request may or may not be granted, depending on the building’s rules and obligations.
Staff who enter a suite generally leave a note behind. The document lets the resident know that the contractor arrived, and whether the work was completed or more work needs to be done.
Security and concierge should also keep a record of any guest who enters and exits a condo suite.
Ensuring a contractor is who they say they are
Each state has its own set of regulations governing what contractors need to work. There are also trade-specific licenses and laws that regulate contractors working in specific areas. While most states do require contractors to have some sort of formal training, not all states do.
There are several avenues that clients can take to ensure they are hiring a trained professional. Start with the Better Business Bureau. Clients are encouraged to ask for a contractor’s trade license number and proof of bonding or other insurance. With this information, they can visit their state’s licensing board website to verify the license. If you cannot confirm the validity of the license by conducting an online search, you may need to call or go to the licensing board office in person.
It is not up to the security guard or concierge to ensure that the contractor who shows up has the proper licensing to perform the job they have come to do.
But, security teams are strongly encouraged to get copies of licenses, along with photo ID, and attach this information to the contractor’s visitor file. This way, if there is an issue with the person, the building has their information on file and can use it if necessary. If the building uses software to track and manage visitors, it can also find hardware that scans IDs. The photos will be uploaded to the software automatically, and this expedites and simplifies the process for everyone.
Visitor management systems
Visitor management systems help to reinforce security and create a standardized process for welcoming guests. Any building, residential or commercial, can benefit from a user-friendly, cloud-based system. Many of these products belong to a larger security or property management platform.
With recent developments in the digital security management industry, companies and buildings can now implement smarter security processes that not only manage visitor interactions, but also reduce security’s workload. Developing visitor workflows to suit each visitor type means check-in processes can be streamlined. Guards don’t have to write down every detail by hand, and no one has to worry about storing (and relocating) data.
- It is important for security companies or condo buildings to choose a system that is both flexible and suitable for the visitors it receives
- Some systems may give guests and visitors the option to pre-register their information after receiving a digital invitation. While this is very convenient for guests, it may not be the preferred process for all residential communities. Conversely, some communities love the idea of self-check-in
- Some condos even have a kiosk or tablet where guests can sign themselves in. The kiosk will usually take a photo of the contractor before they are permitted entry
- The system should be easy to use
- It should also allow for data processing and analysis. While it is possible to create reports using Excel, it’s not always easy
Guests who refuse to provide the necessary information can be refused entry, and security can take note of any guests who create issues for the building during a previous visit.
Visitors who regularly come to the building (contractors, dog walkers, realtors) won’t necessarily have to go through the check-in process each time. Security or concierge could pull up their profile, ensure that the face matches the picture on file, and bring them up to the correct unit.
As noted earlier, contractors should never be handed a key to a resident’s unit. Security or concierge must escort contractors to units. For this reason, it is helpful if they also have a key management system. If there is no master key, management can upload all keys directly to a software platform. They can include detailed information such as the name of the key, identifying descriptions, and if applicable, the name of the key owner. When a key is needed, security can make a note about when and why it was taken out.
If security is caring for a large building, management may consider adding a physical key protection component such as KeyTrak. This hardware uses a computerized locking steel drawer and iButton key tag technology, eliminating the need for security to scan a tag or make a log entry when taking a key out. During checkout, the key that is required will light up, allowing security to find it in seconds.
Condo security and concierge are tasked with the hugely important responsibility of keeping owners, and their homes, safe. On occasion, they may be asked to let contractors, or other professionals, into a resident’s unit. While it is not up to the guard to verify whether the contractor is qualified to do the job they were hired to do, they do have an obligation to check and document IDs or other identifying information.
As a best practice, guards should create visitor profiles for contractors and include a photo of the individual, if possible, as well as license numbers and employer information.
Residents must give consent before a contractor enters their unit unless there is an emergency situation. Having a software system that offers features specifically for visitors can be very useful; guards can easily check to see whether a resident has granted the contractor permission to enter their unit. Furthermore, an online system eliminates the need to document visitor details manually. It streamlines the process for staff and visitors, saving everyone a bit of time without compromising safety.