Effective risk management can be a challenging. It can be difficult to keep up to date with legislative changes and the many regulations which need to be adhered to in order to achieve compliance and minimise the risks presented by your buildings.
The complexities of the retail industry can make managing risk even more problematic. Many more factors need to be considered, requiring expertise and skilled management to ensure you and your buildings remain compliant.
Challenges faced by retailers
Over the last twenty years we have built up extensive experience of working with major retailers. This allows us to understand the most common challenges faced in achieving and maintaining compliance within a busy retail environment.
Diverse property portfolios
Many retailers have numerous properties supporting their business. This may include stand-alone buildings, units within large shopping complexes, offices or multi-use premises shared with residential property. The complexity and risk level associated with each of these sites may vary, depending on their floor plan and layout as well as occupancy and usage. Often an individual management strategy may be required for each site.
Geographic spread of sites
Nationwide geographic spread and the dispersal of properties often make the logistics of managing retail portfolios difficult. Substantial amounts of travel are often involved to manage a variety of partners throughout the country. This can make it difficult to keep track of individual properties as well as promoting a consistent centralised safety culture throughout the whole organisation.
Frequent refit programmes
The nature of the retail industry means very little is static in terms of the layout and appearance of retail outlets. Common refit/refurbishment works can result in changes which present new risks and challenges for those using the building. A reactive approach to risk management is required to minimise the risks resulting from regular change.
Being confined to set trading hours means any assessments or works can create costly disruptions and inconvenience customers which can have an impact on sales. Planning works around opening hours can be difficult and can cause delays in progress.
Pressures on budgets
Retailers are often worried that risk assessments will identify remedial actions requiring works to be carried out over a large number of sites, causing costs to spiral and putting increasing pressure on tight budgets. Experience often enables us to recommend a considered and practical approach to risk management which saves money over the longer term whilst ensuring compliance.
High levels of footfall
Risk elements don’t only come in the form of a building’s fixtures and fittings. The individuals occupying the building must also be considered in the event of an emergency. High levels of footfall means occupants are constantly changing and emergency plans must consider factors such as levels of mobility, language barriers and disabilities to ensure every eventuality is planned for.
Training of staff
As consistent occupiers, it's important staff are aware of the safety requirements within the organisation. They must be trained to identify potential risks and make sure they know what action to take in the event of an emergency. This can be hard to maintain as high levels of staff churn make it difficult to retain the knowledge base.
Need to manage information
With many sites spread throughout the country it can be difficult to keep track of documents and information relating to each building. A well-structured, centralised risk management system is required which will track the status of risk actions and provide up to date reports across your entire portfolio.
Frequently changing legislation
With so many regulations to adhere to it can be challenging to keep up to date with current legislation and the resulting changes required to your properties and your risk management strategies.
Attention from local enforcing authorities
Properties often become the focus of enforcing authorities who can carry out random inspections to monitor compliance. Issues identified may lead to large fines and damaged reputation. It’s important to have strong relationships and good communications with enforcing authorities locally however with widespread portfolios, these relationships can become very difficult to maintain.
How we can help
Metro SRM have developed a comprehensive range of services to provide support to retailers across a range of compliance disciplines.
We can provide compliance management in the following disciplines: