Creating a Business Continuity Plan

September 21, 2020 | By: Molly Looman

In case of an emergency, it is always helpful to have a plan. Business continuity plans are the backbone of a building’s resiliency when faced with a natural disaster or disruptive event. Whether a hurricane or a power outage, business continuity plans can help a property bounce back quicker. There are many steps to making a business continuity plan and a few considerations that must be made to make it as strong as possible. 

Starting From Scratch

Many teams already have a business continuity plan for their properties, but in case they don’t, here are a few tips on how to create one. It is important to tailor it to the specific property. Think about where the property may be vulnerable, what grid it sits on, and the functions that are considered critical for your property. 

It is very important to think of every step of a certain event occurring. Considering appropriate amounts of downtime for a system, specifying a communications strategy for tenants, and developing a plan for the continuing of operations after the event will make sure that the process runs smoothly. 

Also, consider what kinds of plans the property may need. Until recently, many properties may not have had a pandemic plan. Think about the climate and tendencies of the region and develop relevant plans. 

Crossing the T’s 

Committing a plan to writing is a great first step, but it is certainly not the last one. Make sure that all relevant parties are privy to the plan and have been given time to contribute. Building engineers and property managers working together will allow for different inputs and ideas about the overall operations of the building.

Testing the plan is a necessary step. Create a controlled testing strategy to make sure that the plan will work if needed. Typically, a building will test its business continuity plan about two to four times a year. Consider creating scenarios that purposely exploit the possible flaws or weak points in the plan

Moving Along

After creating and testing a plan, it is important to keep it updated. Bring in fresh eyes each time this is done so that nothing glaring is missed. It is also a great way to introduce new or younger team members to this practice and help them get to know the property. 

Make sure your objectives stay reasonable and that the plan is updated accordingly with technological advancements. It is also extremely important to make all involved aware of the plan. Distribute the plan and make sure to train people so that they have a full understanding of their role. This includes tenants, day and night staff, and anyone that may fall in the chain of command in the event of an emergency. 

Before COVID-19, not every organization had a pandemic plan. Now, many are developing business continuity plans for if this event ever occurs again. The process of creating and implementing a business continuity plan is not a one-time exercise. It is a continuous effort focused on the long-term success of a property. With careful consideration and earnest testing, a property can be ready to bounce back at a moment’s notice.