In this interview, Meera Prema – Head Of Residential Operations, Embassy Services Pvt Ltd takes us around the exclusive world of a gated community in terms of its FM requirements, products and processes, and the myriad other ways in which this segment differs from all others.
What makes FM in a luxury residential facility different from ordinary residential facilities?
These properties are home to high net-worth individuals and expat communities who demand best-in-class services. A luxury residential facility demands a higher level of personalisation, as these properties are equipped with more extravagant amenities, demanding more effort to maintain them. They also require a skilled and specialised workforce for their maintenance.
An ordinary residential property demands basic facility management like soft services and housekeeping, whereas when it comes to ultra-luxury properties, FM services are specially curated to impart a hospitality-style customer experience with an eye for detail, round-the-clock services and dedicated CRM Managers who act as a SPOC for all communications between the residents and the service provider.
What are the FM expectations of residents in such facilities?
Residents of such luxury estates look for FM solutions equipped with cutting-edge technology, smart home solutions, plush gardens and landscape maintenance, fine dining experiences, maintenance of wellness centres and spas, as well as upkeep of housekeeping and recreation centres, ensuring that every aspect of living and leisure is taken care of.
How does the choice of equipment and chemicals used differ?
As such, cleaning chemicals, their usage and their application can be complicated. We make sure that appropriate cleaning agents are used for every job. It’s not just about using the right chemicals but also using them in their intended manner. At ESPL, we have Subject Matter Experts in Housekeeping who advise at every step of the process.
All the cleaning agents used are Green Seal chemicals, meaning they are certified cleaning products that meet comprehensive criteria for safer chemicals, environmentally preferable packaging and uncompromised performance. Among other attributes, cleaning products are verified to be non-toxic; this helps us ensure minimal VOCs and carcinogens and reduced carbon footprint through chemical concentration.
The equipment used also needs to be cleaned after every use, especially the equipment used for outdoor maintenance. It helps increase the lifespan of the equipment as well as looks aesthetically pleasing when kept stationary.
How are the FM processes for this segment different?
Today, the top FM companies are constantly working towards improving their services to heighten customer experience by offering services using customised technology, coupled with a highly skilled on-ground workforce. Here’s how we are curating an experience and making our mark through WAYS (World At Your Service), an example of such a service which provides specialised in-unit services with highly groomed professionals at the comfort of the resident’s homes. This includes solutions like marble cleaning, sofa and carpet shampooing, bed making, car cleaning etc, all integrated through an app and just a click away.
Using community apps is another provision that connects the entire system of residents, management committees and facility managers on one platform. From hosting discussions to sharing important information and advisories, property documents for real-time access, raising complaints and tracking them, providing info on SPOCs, and even displaying information on events at their premises, these apps help define communal living and create a seamless experience that enhances the residential experience.
The floors of these facilities are made of premium materials. How are they maintained?
At ESPL, we ensure that the necessary Defect Liability Period (DLP) is secured from the installer and passed on to the residents, which acts as a guarantee/warranty for the products used. During the floor cleaning process, the appropriate cover is laid on these floors to prevent any damage due to interior/renovation works. Strict interior/renovation guidelines are implemented, and we ensure that there is no chance of foul play with the equipment during these works. Our WAYS staff who are veterans in all housekeeping aspects ensure appropriate upkeep of the floors regularly. We also advise the residents on timely repairs, if any, and support with contacts of reputed installers to ensure the longevity of these materials. Another unique offering of ours specially for Embassy Residentials is our ‘Upkeep Services’ where we maintain unsold homes to the same standard as post-move in.
How are the HVAC systems of such facilities cleaned and maintained?
HVAC systems need end-to-end care. At ESPL, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) vendors are onboarded under an AMC regime for the maintenance of such systems. A periodic air quality check is regularly done by our in-house staff. A quarterly refrigeration check is made, abiding by the seasonal needs to ensure the desired cooling element is maintained for the occupants as well as the lifespan of the system. We also ensure that the noise and vibration parameters of the outdoor units are periodically checked, recorded and repaired if required.
How is ESPL minimising/processing waste at these facilities?
At ESPL, we follow the best practices which are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Here are a few consciously followed practices at all sites maintained by ESPL:
- Segregation & Collection: One of the first steps in waste management is the segregation of waste into different categories, such as recyclable materials, dry waste, organic waste/wet waste, hazardous waste, and non-recyclable waste.
- Treatment: After collection, a major share of wet waste is treated and converted into garden manure using Organic Waste Converter, and the surplus waste is processed outside the premises with the help of certified waste composting agencies.
- Some of our residential properties are IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) certified, needing us to ensure zero waste is let out of the premises, and helping us reduce our carbon footprint by lessening the wastes dumped into landfills.