Security & tenant safety Engineering student safety

At a time when the volume of university students continues to rise across Europe, there is great commercial opportunity in the provision of housing to the growing demographic. But with great opportunity comes even greater responsibility. Heriberto Cuanalo of Collegiate AC speaks to HMM’s Sébastien Reed about some top considerations for ensuring the safety and security of student tenants


e’re quasi-parents,” says Cuanalo, who set up Collegiate AC, a leading developer and operator of student accommodation, about 15 years ago during the Blair Government’s campaign for bigger

and fuller universities as a solution to the UK’s long-existing gap in productivity. This orientation of public policy towards ‘Education, education, education’ aimed ultimately to put 50 per cent of individuals under the age of 30 in advanced education before the year 2025 – an aim whose pursuit has gradually materialised a colossal population of students, each in need of a first home- away-from-home. The corporatisation of the infrastructure around UK higher education came as

a response to the upscaling of education and increased number of students as a funding solution. This is more or less where Collegiate AC fits in, combining experience in academia and hospitality with the aim to provide a “high-end student experience,” offering perks like gyms, pools, and other luxury amenities to its tenants. Keeping students safe, however, remains a leading concern.

VULNERABILITY & DENSITY The safety particularities setting student accommodation apart from other types of housing are twofold: vulnerability and density. Well seasoned in the sector, Cuanalo has developed an empathy for his tenants and the specific circumstances they face: “Our residents are often away from home for the first time – long passed are the days when significant numbers of university students have already been to boarding school.” It’s crucial for management to recognise the novel experience of life without parents and families, and acknowledge how this can make them more vulnerable than most as tenants.

48 | HMM March 2018 |

“Our residents are often away from home for the first time - long passed are the days when significant numbers of university students

have already been to boarding school.” Heriberto Cuanalo, Collegiate AC

From a building perspective, student accommodation is unique in that not

only is it perhaps the most densely inhabited type of property that exists, the buildings tend also to be very large in scale. Cuanalo remarks that some complexes have up to 1,000 beds - “no other sector of property is quite like it. Not hotels, not even blocks of flats – so safety is of utmost importance.”

FIRE & ACCESS The biggest risk for such buildings is fire. Given the density of rooms, appliances, and human bodies, it’s essential to establish a “meticulous feedback loop of checks” to ensure both the safety of the building’s users and compliance with regulations. With both new builds and refurbishments (anything that delivers a revised or

new interior floorplan), building control consultants should be commissioned to oversee the design and development of the project. Fire strategy consultants should be employed to advise on internal checks, and external fire risk

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52