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News

Vacant Property Protection for the Historic Hammersmith Palais

SitexOrbis : 12 February, 2010  (Application Story)
London Location with a Glamorous Past receives protection from SitexOrbis to prevent intrusion and vandalism and reduce the risk of further damage or of hazards being created
Vacant Property Protection for the Historic Hammersmith Palais
It started life as a 19th century tram shed, became a glamorous dance hall in 1919 and was the first venue in London to host Dixieland jazz. But, during the last few years, Hammersmith Palais first went downhill with school discos, then closed and became home to squatters and drunks. Neighbours complained - something had to be done.

In the spring of 2009, owners London and Regional Properties contacted SitexOrbis on the recommendation of its insurers, Aviva. SitexOrbis' South-Eastern team, one of whom had lived in Hammersmith, understood what the problems were.

"The local team knows the area well," said Mark Cosh, European Director. "This massive space, which had been partially demolished, had become a focus for squatters, street drinkers and even illegal raves. As well as the impact on local residents, there was a huge health and safety risk. People could literally walk right in off the street, and one half of the building was just rubble, creating major hazards."

After sharing some initial ideas on the phone, the SitexOrbis team surveyed the site and recommended securing the perimeter and using the SitexOrbis on-line reporting service to keep the insurers up to date on progress.

All the windows and doors were secured to prevent intrusions and anti-climb paint and danger signs were installed to deter illegal entry. Despite the scale of the job, it was completed within the agreed timeframe, with the client receiving photographs halfway through and at the end of the job for discussion with the insurers.

"Even while SitexOrbis was doing the job we were getting lots of positive feedback from the local council and the police, which we were able to share with the client and their insurer" explained Mark Cosh. "Having the site secured has made a big impact on the local area and improved the lives for local residents".

SitexOrbis provides a full range of security and maintenance services for vacant property, keeping property in a fit condition for viewing and attracting new occupants. Wireless alarms and other electronic security measures keep buildings free of problems like squatters, criminal damage, arson and graffiti. Regular property inspections and 24/7 monitoring are used to ensure that standards are maintained. Reactive maintenance ensures that issues arising from lack of use are dealt with promptly.

Speaking of success in reducing risk and public nuisance at the Hammersmith Palais site, Steve Moreton, Aviva Risk Services Manager, was enthusiastic. "This is an example of one of our larger property owning clients taking advantage of our Preferred Supplier Scheme using the services of SitexOrbis to help secure one of the properties on their portfolio, very much to the appreciation of several interested third parties. Working jointly with SitexOrbis we are able to provide a comprehensive range of agreed proactive solutions that are viewed positively by our Underwriters. The photographs go a long way to help us evaluate the effectiveness of what SitexOrbis have done in managing these unoccupied properties."
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