Helix Property Advisors
Helix Property Advisors (Helix) manages a commercial real estate portfolio, valued at circa £2.85 billion, comprising all asset classes (office, retail, industrial, leisure and residential), throughout the UK. This includes 167 buildings, 555 tenants, £160 million rent collection per annum and a £21 million service charge expenditure per annum.
The company’s key services include property and asset management, property accounting and finance, and facilities management. The portfolio is multi-sector, based throughout the UK from Glasgow to Plymouth.
Helix has seen steady growth over the past six years, particularly in London – where they have seen a big increase of overseas investors wanting to tap into the market.
Clients include: Citibank, HSBC Alternative Investments, Allied Irish Bank, Barclays Wealth and Lloyds TSB Private Banking.
Taking health and safety to the next level – Broadgate Quarter
Given the breadth and depth of the company’s portfolio, Helix places heavy emphasis on all aspects of health and safety – across the business.
In July 2012, Helix took on the two adjoining properties in the City of London – 9 Appold Street and 1 Snowden Street. The two have since come together and re-branded as Broadgate Quarter (in 2014). Broadgate Quarter is owned by Hines, and is a landmark building, providing 425,279 sq. ft of premium office space.
Dawn Thompson (senior property manager for Broadgate Quarter), and her team have responsibility for areas including: maintenance engineers, cleaners and security – ensuring the building is maintained to the highest standards.
In October 2012, Helix brought in health and safety specialist, Hosking Associates, to support the health and safety requirements for the building.
Dawn Thompson comments: “The work that Hosking Associates have undertaken has been invaluable for me and the team managing the two properties, which have now become Broadgate Quarter. The team cuts through the jargon and offers real solutions – they break down the health and safety minefield into bite size chunks.”
Following on from the health and safety achievements at Broadgate Quarter, Helix has taken on Hosking Associates to manage the company’s entire property portfolio.
Working with Hosking Associates
Rick Slater, director of property management at Helix, adds: “We are a growing business and need to be confident that we have the strongest support network in place. We appreciate how important health and safety is for a business such as ours, and knew that we needed to bring in an independent – a company that could provide a bespoke offering to Helix.
“Louise Hosking and her team act as the competent health and safety representatives for our business – working in conjunction with the property and facilities managers. Hosking Associates is hugely committed, and provides a very transparent service.”
Yvonne Smith, director of property and asset management at Helix, comments: “At every stage, the team at Hosking Associates tries to educate and empower the Helix staff, to help them progress projects on their own. In fact, we have reached a stage where the majority of our property managers feel confident when it comes to aspects of health and safety. They only involve Hosking Associates in matters they may be unsure of, or where something needs to be progressed quickly.
“As a business, we have so much more structure when it comes to health and safety – everyone – across the company – is familiarised and comfortable, and we put that firmly down to the support we have been provided.”
Many of the regional facilities managers for Helix have embraced health and safety, and actively work to progress their buildings in this area. Lee Price, regional FM for the Midlands is one of them, he adds:
“Hosking Associates has really helped me in my job and the systems that have been set up really do make my life much easier. I feel confident to carry out many of the tasks with my team, but where I have a query, I can refer to Louise Hosking or one of her associates. It gives me real comfort to know there is a back-up in place. And, as we take on more on and more buildings, we are able to refer to Hosking Associates for answers to new types of question which may arise. So far, they haven’t let me down.
“Health and safety is at the forefront of everything we do – particularly when it comes to acquiring new properties. And, I am certain that our strength in this area has supported some of the wins we have had. We also have a lot of positive feedback from tenants on our approach to health and safety.”
Running the health and safety programme
The health and safety programme operates with real structure; every six months Hosking Associates runs a training day – selecting a topical and educational subject matter.
Yvonne Smith adds: “The team at Hosking Associates have prepared policies for the business, including site specific ones (where needed). Everything is available in a Dropbox, so that the managers can access what they need, when they need it. And everything has been driven from the top downwards, to ensure that we operate in a proactive, as opposed to reactive, manner.”
Rick Slater comments: “There is an expectation – at customer level – that we should have these systems in place already. However, I believe we have gone one stage further and our health and safety procedures are some of the best within our sector.”
Louise Hosking, managing director at Hosking Associates, comments: “The team at Helix has been hugely receptive when it comes to updating and implementing their health and safety practices – they have been a real pleasure to work with. Everyone – across the business – has embraced health and safety; not because they knew they had to, but because they wanted to. This is reflected in how they operate from a health and safety perspective today – the systems and processes are finely tuned in every way.”
Helix is also working with Hosking Associates on its sustainability programme, and was recently awarded the Hosking Associates Green Ribbon Award at Broadgate Quarter. The award is an environmental benchmark for businesses to aspire to.
The Green Ribbon Award is a 50-point audit, which provides a report for the property and a subsequent action plan. It covers areas including: fuel tanks, energy systems, waste notes etc. And, today it is helping Broadgate Quarter to work towards achieving ISO14001.
Rick Slater adds: “Sustainability is today’s buzz word, and – moving forward – our intention is to support all our other buildings towards achieving the Green Ribbon award and functioning in a more environmentally-friendly way.
“We are proud of what we have achieved from a health and safety perspective, and now plan to work with Hosking Associates more closely to see what can be achieved on the environmental side.”