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    Monday, April 24, 2017

    IREM MPSA Four Day Course: Millennium Tower 10375 Richmond Ave., 1st Floor Training Room…

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    • How To Win The War for Talent (Presentation)

      Big thanks to Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing for sponsoring our April Leadership Luncheon and hooking us up with expert speaker Mr. Pat Kiley. Kiley shared new (but proven) concepts in hiring and retaining talent. Click here for the presentation.

    • Lessons Learned from Dubai Hotel Fire

      Mark Wright Article

       

      By Mark Wright, Regional Security Director, Brookfield Property Partners

      President, Houston High Rise Triad

       

      At 1:00 p.m. on December 31, 2015, many of us in Houston were watching University of Houston dominate Florida State in the Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl.

       

      In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it was 9:00 p.m. and the 63 floor Address Downtown Hotel had erupted in flames.

       

      America was likely focused on other things such as the football season finales, or presidential election news so this spectacular high rise fire might have escaped the full attention it deserves.

       

      The Houston High Rise Triad Committee is a private/public partnership established in 1993 after a high rise office building fire resulted in multiple firefighter casualties and the death of a private security officer. Fire Chief E.A. Corral initiated discussions with senior fire department command staff, building code officials, and private sector representatives directly engaged with life safety training for high rise building staff members. Over its history the High Rise Triad has been instrumental in developing life safety standards that were ultimately incorporated into fire marshal directives and local codes.

       

      In January 2016, the Houston High Rise Triad assembled a sub-committee study group to analyze the Address Downtown Hotel incident. Chaired by Houston Fire Department District Chief Jeff Crow, the sub-committee sought to identify the sequence of events, the responses of building occupants and first responders, and how things were handled in the fire’s aftermath. From this process the sub-committee developed the following findings and lessons learned.

       

      The Fire

      It is believed that the fire started when an exterior light fixture shorted out on the 20th floor igniting the building’s exterior cladding. This cladding was not prohibited by UAE fire or building codes until they were updated in 2013 after a series of other high rise buildings burned due to the combustible nature of the exterior cladding materials.

       

      On New Year’s Eve, flames rapidly spread up the side of the hotel reaching its apex within only 10-15 minutes. The fire was contained to one side of the building due to the fire doors and other safety features of the building working as designed.

       

      Down below, huge crowds had gathered in the streets and plazas of the downtown district to watch the fireworks show planned for midnight at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper.

       

      Fortunately, the fire ignited on the upwind side of the structure opposite from the direction of the Burj Khalifa. This meant that the fire and smoke was blown away from the crowds below and the major collections of people gathered inside the structure to view the fireworks at midnight were generally on the opposite side of the structure from the flames.

       

      Building Features

      The 63 floor Address Downtown Hotel was completed in 2008 at an estimated cost of AED 845 million. . The building houses 626 residential units and 196 hotel rooms comprising 1,920,000 sq. ft.  The building was built under the applicable building and fire codes. According to all accounts, the building systems such as sprinklers, automatic fire doors and fire alarms, functioned as designed.

       

      The exterior cladding was identified as fire-rated, but the company supplying the product is now under review for potentially falsifying test results.

       

      Experts say most of Dubai’s approximately 250 high-rise buildings use cladding panels with thermoplastic cores, the newspaper said. Panels can consist of plastic or polyurethane fillings sandwiched between aluminum sheets.

       

      Such cladding is not necessarily deemed hazardous, but it can be flammable under certain circumstances and, depending on a skyscraper's design, may actually channel a fire through windows and into the interiors of buildings.

       

      Responses

      Based upon information gained through media and other accounts, the following dynamics occurred during the initial response:

       

      As almost is always the case during a major fire incident, communications and coordination were problematic.  When multiple agencies are responding to any incident the ability to coordinate response personnel and equipment is very difficult should inter-agency communications breakdown.

       

      Based on personal accounts from building occupants through social media, some staff members were panicked and screaming “fire” and “evacuate” to occupants.  This caused several occupants to panic and create additional stress on the responders. It is quite possible that these building personnel were already on-site as additional security for the upcoming fireworks show, hence their seeming lack of familiarity with emergency response protocols.

       

      Imagery from YouTube videos reveals that many of the building occupants were taking full suitcases down the stairs when they evacuated, resulting in significant safety issues due to congestion and a back-up within the emergency stairwells.

       

      Sources reported that critical building access keys were not immediately available to arriving fire response teams. It is possible that building personnel had not been trained on the location of the keys, but the keys may not have been provided for emergency responders.

       

      While there were 16 people injured in this incident, the lack of fatalities was due to the following factors:

       

      The event happened at a time when the entire occupancy of the hotel was awake due to the New Year’s Eve event taking place nearby at the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa.

       

      The Fire was on the exterior of the building allowing occupants to self-evacuate the building safely.

       

      The building owner’s Fire Response Team was on-site immediately and coordinating the efforts until the arrival of the fire department. According to eyewitness accounts, without this response team’s coordination, there would likely have been other injuries and/or fatalities.

       

      The building systems performed as designed and the structure maintained its fire ratings, containing the fire to the one elevation of the hotel exterior.  Had the fire spread throughout the floors, the hotel might have come down with a complete structural failure.

       

      Lessons Learned

      Review and inspection based upon accepted building codes and fire codes are a very critical aspect of city and state government. The active advance of knowledge on the part of building officials is a critical need when new building materials and processes are being introduced at an ever increasing pace.

       

      Building strong relationships with local response agencies are a critical part of emergency planning. Building owners need to understand the needs of first responders and actively engage with those agencies during the emergency planning process.

       

      Building occupants need access to basic emergency training. 

       

      When possible, staged evacuations in high rise buildings are needed to limit over-crowding of exit stairs. Instances of over-crowding stairwells have been known to result in a stampede mentality causing serious injuries.

       

      Building personnel should know what is expected from first responders. First responders should know what to expect from building personnel. This can be accomplished through site orientation visits with first responders. During these site visits, first responders can learn critical building information such as fire hose connection points, fire pump locations, and elevator operations.

       

      Policies and response plans should always be living documents. Conducting exercises and drills will only be of benefit if the lessons learned are captured and updated with the response plans.

       

      The Address Downtown Hotel fire surely provided its ownership and public officials with lessons learned and proved to all that effective policies, procedures, training and communications can aid in effective crisis management planning. Even for those of us half-way around the world, there are very important lessons learned that we need to share.

       

      For more information on City of Houston fire and building codes as well as other important high rise safety resources, please visit the Houston High Rise Triad website at http://houstonhighrisetriad.org/.

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      Lights Out Houston

    • Ted Jones Presentation from IREM Houston Luncheon

      Thank you to Ted Jones, Ph D. from Stewart Title for this expert 2016 Economic Forecast  Presentation at IREM's January Luncheon. Please feel free to download and share his information about market predicitions for the coming year.

    • Interested in A Career In Property Management?

      Because of the growing interest in real estate and property management, IREM developed an Introduction to Property Management course which will be held for the first time in Houston on February 18, 2016. It is a 4-hour, interactive course taught by a successful practitioner in the Houston real estate industry. The course provides an in-depth overview of the profession and is appropriate for career changers, real estate REALTORS, brokers, investors, students, and anyone interested in a career in real estate management. Attendees will learn: knowledge and skill sets necessary to succeed in the profession; the employment and salary outlook for property managers and how they advance in their careers; who employees property managers and how they fit into the overall real estate industry, and who hires them; the make-up of the property manager’s team and if real estate management is right for them.

      To learn more or register for the class, click here.

    • Prepping for the new Open-Carry

      With the new Texas Open Carry law going into effect on January 1, 2016, the Houston Police Department held two informational meeting to answer citizen questions on what to do if they see individuals displaying weapons in public places. For these meetings which were live-streamed and recorded, HPD Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. was joined by Tracy Calabrese with the City Attorney's Office and Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson in a panel discussion about the new law and the challenges police officers will have in responding to citizen calls involving an individual publicly displaying a weapon.

       

      HPD has placed recordings of this meeting on their YouTube channel here

       

      Other helpful articles are below:

      Texas Association of Realtors Article

      Basics to Concealed and Open Carry in Texas

      How Landlords Should Prepare

      Bisnow Article On Open-Carry

    • Thinking About a Career In Property Management?

      By Erin Horn

       

      Lower oil prices may have Houston’s energy market in a downturn, but residential real estate is in high demand with retail hot on its heels. While commercial real estate is not currently performing at its historic levels, real estate management professionals are more in demand than ever.

       

      By 2022, job growth for property, real estate and community association managers is projected to increase by 11.8%, or by 35,000 employment positions, based on findings supported by the U.S. Department of Labor. The right skillset and networking abilities combined with thousands of career opportunities make for a bright future in real estate management.

       

      Real estate management is often an unexpected profession, but quickly becoming a career path for the millennial generation and a career shift for Generation X. For the newcomer, whether making a transition or just beginning their journey, what skills are necessary and where do they start? A handful of industry professionals offer their backgrounds and insider knowledge on what they consider prerequisites for real estate management.

       

      Multitask Much?

       

      There is an increasingly broad role to play in day to day operations, so possessing a wide range of skills is important in real estate management. A lawyer, salesperson, accountant, psychologist, teacher, financial advisor, IT troubleshooter, event planner, web designer, contractor, public relations representative – these are all professions with relatable real estate management skills that are implemented every day.

       

      Pius K. Leung, CCIM, CPM, CIPS, FInstLM, is Principal of SPAK Interests, Inc., and began his career as a property accountant prior to making many accomplishments in the real estate industry. Leung says the ability to work with people is essential in any real estate position. “I have worked in the property management, investment brokerage, real estate software industries and knowing how to work with people is probably one of the prime commonalities.” He also credits adaptation and flexibility as necessary skills for a career transition. 

       

      James Sinclair, CCIM, CPM, is a Property Manager for Brookfield Property Partners and went from producing and directing live television newscasts to managing office buildings. “You have to be flexible and willing to take a chance. I think it was my self-confidence in my ability to handle changing situations that helped me transition. The skills you have for the most part – customer focus, ability to analyze and interpret, and judgment - are all translatable to another field. Being able to present yourself to a potential employer as someone who has an interest in the field, who cares enough about it to learn, and who can bring something valuable to the table can mean the difference between success and failure in an interview.”

       

      “Discipline, training and a great attitude are significant to changing industries. I have been in the real estate business for a long time, just learning it from a different aspect,” said Kathryn Currier, who transitioned from residential real estate with Heritage Texas Properties to Senior Accountant for Transwestern, a global commercial real estate company.

       

      “Make sure you really know what you are getting into. I spent 13 years in the banking industry and wanted to make a change, so I took a position in the railroad industry as a train dispatcher. I didn’t do enough research to realize how much my life would change and after six months I returned to banking. Two years later my father-in-law, who had been in the property management industry, heard a position at Brookfield was available and thought it would be a good fit for me. This time I spent a lot more time understanding what I would be doing. I am happy to say after nearly eight years, I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Sean Alley, CPM, a Property Manager for Brookfield Property Partners.

       

      It’s All About Who You Know (It Really Is).

       

      Networking is the number one way of discovering those hard to find, never advertised job opportunities. The phrase “it’s all about who you know” could never be truer when it comes to this industry. According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. This percentage of networkers represents smart jobseekers who understand that looking for and finding work takes...work. Being involved in professional real estate organizations is fundamental in a job search and for receiving the many benefits the commercial real estate industry has to offer.

       

      “Join one or more of the trade associations and be actively involved in the association you decide to join. Organizations such as IREM, CCIM, SIOR, CREW, NAR, etc.,” said Leung.

       

      Networking Tips:

       

      -  Make a list of everyone you know in real estate. This is the beginning of your career database. Meet with them and get their insight.

       

      -  Stay in close touch with college professors and coworkers from previous employment – it’s all about who you know!

       

      - Be a good listener. Ask questions, listen to the answers and follow up with another question. Get business cards. Take notes.

       

      -  Always carry business cards. Everywhere you go is a network opportunity, so never forget them and keep your contact information current.

       

      - Join a professional organization and attend conferences.

       

      - DO: have a plan before you arrive, give more than just your name, dress appropriately and allow others to join the conversation.

       

      - DON’T: interrupt, avoid eye contact, forget their name, get stuck with an egomaniac or forget those you want to remember.

       

      Who Ya Gonna Call? Your Best Resource, of Course!

       

      Commercial real estate is a fluctuating business yet companies are continuously searching for

      new and experienced industry talent. Whether office, multifamily or industrial, those who specialize in this field are invaluable to their investor or owner, particularly during an economic decline.

       

      “The best resource for someone thinking about getting into the commercial real estate business is someone in the industry. Talk to them and really find out what they do on a daily basis. Find out their likes and dislikes and what challenges you will have,” said Alley. 

       

      “I truly believe in training, get to know the market, soak up as much as you can from people that have been in the business a long time and be more knowledgeable than your client. I feel if you are starting out you need to work with someone who has been in the business for a while as an assistant and/or have another job because you need to spend time learn as much as possible,” Currier stated.

       

      “The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) has helped me create my support network! Whenever an issue comes about that I am unfamiliar with I am able to connect with my peers and mentors to develop an action plan based on a variety of experiences, not just mine,” said Blaire Moreland, an Associate with Evergreen Commercial Realty.

       

      “I would spend time with someone you know who is currently in the field.  Ask them what they like about what they do, and what they don’t like, or what they would change if they could. Ask who their mentor was and if you could talk with him or her. See if there is a professional organization that has information about a career in real estate. Conduct online research, research companies who provide services in the field and look at employee benefits – do they encourage ongoing learning and development? The more you talk with others who are actively doing what  you want to do, the clearer picture you get of what it’s really like,” said Sinclair.

       

      Professional Organizations:

       

      Chamber of Commerce (www.uschamber.com): Join your local chamber to get involved in your community. Visit the National Chamber of Commerce site to locate your local office.

       

      IREM – Institute of Real Estate Management (www.iremhouston.org): An international community of real estate managers. IREM is the home for all industry professionals connected to real estate management – the only organization serving the multifamily and office sectors.

       

      BOMA – Building Owners and Managers Association (www.houstonboma.org): A network of professionals involved in building ownership, management, development and leasing.  

       

      NAIOP – National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (www.naiop.org): A national association with over 10,000 members that represent the interest of developers and owners of industrial, office and related commercial real estate.

       

      SIOR – Society of Industrial and Office Real Estate Specialists (www.sior.com): The Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS is a leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association. The SIOR network includes more than 2,800 members in 480 cities in 20 countries on six continents.

       

      CCIM – Certified Commercial Investment Member (www.ccim.com): A CCIM is a recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate.

       

      An Introduction to Property Management:

       

      Because of the growing interest in real estate and property management, IREM developed an Introduction to Property Management course which will be held for the first time in Houston on February 18, 2016. It is a 3-hour, interactive course taught by a successful practitioner in the Houston real estate industry. The course provides an in-depth overview of the profession and is appropriate for career changers, real estate REALTORS, brokers, investors, students, and anyone interested in a career in real estate management. Attendees will learn: knowledge and skill sets necessary to succeed in the profession; the employment and salary outlook for property managers and how they advance in their careers; who employees property managers and how they fit into the overall real estate industry, and who hires them; the make-up of the property manager’s team and if real estate management is right for them. To learn more about this class or any IREM Property Management courses, go to www.iremhouston.org

       

      About the Author: Erin Horn is an Assistant Property Manager for Brookfield Property Partners in Houston and a Certified Property Manager® candidate. Erin previously worked as a Property Manager for Parkway Properties and Hertz Investment Group in Jackson, Mississippi before returning to her hometown of Houston in 2014. 

    • 2016 Course Schedule is Set

      We're pleased to hold all of the IREM credentialling courses that members need to obtain their Certified Property Management (CPM) designation. Click here for the complete list of 2016 Courses planned for Houston. Interested in earning the CPM? This helpful checklist will hopefully simplify the process. Feel free to contact Lindsay or Jo D. at the IREM office (713-783-9225) with any questions. We're here to help with your career advancement and professional development.

    • Sponsor A Future CPM

      If you are a Certified Property Manager®, you know how valuable the journey to obtain your CPM® designation was. Now, you can be a CPM® Sponsor and help a colleague achieve career success by earning the designation themselves. Sign up today and both you and the person you are sponsoring recieve freebies and discounts. To pledge your support, click here. There is no cost to be a CPM® sponsor but this program will insure the two of you are connected on occasion as they work through the program of requirements. Possible professionals to inspire are:  A young professional who is just starting in the business; A young professional who has only a few years of experience in the business;  A professional with more than 5 but less than 20 years experience;  A seasoned professional who may qualify for the 20-year experience CPM Fast Track; Someone who  holds a real estate degree and may qualify for the degree CPM Fast Track; Someone who h olds the CCIM, CSM, PCAM, or CSM designation and may qualify for the designation CPM Fast Track

       

    • Support Project IREM Hope

      IREM Hope 2015

      IREM Houston is pleased to offer members and the real estate community an opportunity to support Veterans with a new program called Project IREM Hope. This community service initiative will directly benefit Camp Hope, a local PTSD Foundation facility in Northwest Houston. 
       

      Camp Hope provides interim housing for our Wounded Warriors, veterans and their families suffering from combat related PTSD in a caring and positive environment.  It also offers an intensive peer support and mentoring program for Post Traumatic Stress. In addition to temporary housing, Camp Hope offers a 90+ day PTSD recovery program in which residents: attend group lessons and support sessions with other combat veterans; conduct individual mentoring sessions with certified combat trauma mentors; participate in off-site small group interaction activities (fishing, hiking, local activities and events); and get involved with local churches, businesses and volunteer organizations to assist in their personal healing and educating the community on the invisible wounds of war. To learn more about PTSD or Camp Hope, click here.

       

      There are several ways to help:

       

      Donate Items: Camp Hope has indicated they need full-sized Toiletry items (deodorant, lotion, soap, etc.), Paper Products (Paper Towels, Toilet Paper), Bottled Water, Laundry Detergents and softeners, Groceries  (dry goods), Gift Cards in $25 increments for the Veterans to go grocery shopping while in interim housing.  Items may be dropped off prior to November 3rd at 3100 S. Gessner, Suite 500, 77042 in the Westchase area. Please call  Kim Peck at 713-621-3222 with drop off questions. Surface parking at the drop off location is free.

       

      Donate Funds: IREM will collect funds to purchase housing items and gift cards for Camp Hope's new facility. Financial contributions can be made securely via credit card by clicking here. In the "invoice" field, enter in "Hope."  Please make monetary contributions by November 3rd.

       

      Donate Time: We need volunteers to sort our donations and strong helpers to deliver items to Camp Hope. If you can help, please email Lindsay at lbangle@iremhouston.orgVolunteers are needed for:


      Sorting, Thur., Nov 5th  from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.  at 3100 S. Gessner, Suite 500, 77042
      Sorting, Fri., Nov 6th  from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  at 3100 S. Gessner, Suite 500, 77042
      Delivery, Wed., Nov 11th  from 10 a.m. to Noon

    • Nominations for our 2016 Executive Council Announced

      The Institute of Real Estate Management, Houston Chapter is announcing our nominated members for the 2016 Officer and Executive Council Member positions:

      President - Laura Krupowicz, CPM, Brookfield
      President Elect- Kris Clark, CPM, Schilling Retail Services 
      Treasurer- Chase Crawford, CPM, Stream Realty Partners, AMO
      Vice President of Education - Matthew Townley, CPM, ARM, Townley Realty Co., AMO
      Vice President of Legislative - Stephanie Swanson, CPM, Transwestern, AMO
      Vice President of Membership - Kaci Hancock, ACoM, Wulfe Management 
      Vice President of Services - Blaire Moreland, CPM, Evergreen Commercial Realty
      Vice President of Communications - Maria Flores, CPMLincoln Property Co., AMO
      At Large Member - Laura Le Harvey, CPMStream Realty Partners, AMO
      At Large Member - Robert Tyler, CPM, Brookfield
      Immediate Past President - Kristine Fox, CPMStream Realty Partners, AMO

       

      All nominated leaders have served in numerous volunteer capacities over the years, including chapter committee chair positions. They are dedicated to the advancement of the Property Management industry and bring a wealth of professional experience and expertise to those nominated governance positions. Each nominated leader must now be confirmed by a majority vote of IREM Houston Members at the September Luncheon on September 30. Once elected, their new positions will take effect immediately following the November IREM Awards and Installation Luncheon.  

       

    • School Supply Drive Success!!

      We're so happy to report that our supply and snack drive for Yellowstone Academy was a huge success! We had several management companies as well as Friends participate in gathering much needed items for the children and teachers of this Houston school. Below is just a snippet of the outstanding number of things donated:

       

      Pencils – 1,612
      Colored Pencils – 2,888
      Pens – 1,204
      Notebook Paper122 packs
      Composition Books121
      Glue Sticks137
      Crayons 24 pack235
      Scissors73
      3 Ring Spiral Notebook199

       

      All of our donated items were delivered to the school in early August and in an effort to help the kids have a successful year of learning.

       

    • Calling All Cooks...It's Time To Get Your Grill On!

      We are less than 3 months away from the 2nd annual IREM Food Fest and half of our cooking team spots are already filled! It seems safe to say this event was a hit last year and is on it's way to another "touch-down" with this year's theme of "Great-Tailgate". With 12 spots left, we're looking for teams that are ready to suit up and bring our attendees a winning Food Fest dish. 

       

      If your company would like to register a team for this year's Food Fest, please click here to download our Team & Sponsorship Pack and here to download the Contest Rules and Regulations. 

       

      Down, Set, Sign-up!

    • IREM Supply and Snack Drive Through July 31

      The IREM Community Involvement Committee has selected Yellowstone Academy as their school of choice for our summer supply and snack drive. Here are some factors about the school that pulled at the heartstrings of our team:

       

      -  100% of admissions are from low-income families

      -  More than 80% of their students live in poverty or extreme poverty

      -  Median household income of Yellowstone students averages less than $10,000

      -  More than 90% live in single parent households

       

      The school, which serves 300 students from pre-K to 8th grade, sets high academic expectations for its students. They place a premium on the development of their character, responsibility, and faith. Yellowstone Academy’s vision is a Houston community where every child, regardless of their economic means, receives an education that cultivates their intellect, nourishes their spirit, and empowers them to create a fulfilling future for themselves. We know that our community flourishes when we are able to realize the potential of all of our children. By providing an academically rigorous, faith-based education, Yellowstone Academy is answering the challenge of the education crisis that many economically disadvantaged students face. For more info or to watch a video about the school, click here.

       

      Click here for a list of supplies and snacks needed by the students. We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and tenats to help make this drive a success. All collected items can be delivered to 3100 S Gessner Suite 500 Houston, TX 77042 through July 31. Please contribute as little or as much as you are able.

    • C.O.H. Electronic Plan Review (EPR) Webinars

      Commercial construction building permit applications and plans now have the option of being uploaded for review via the internet. The new EPR system allows the customer to submit applications from anywhere without having to visit the Permit Office.  To help customers become familiar with this new service, the Houston Permitting Center is offering free workshops and webinars to the public. For questions regarding the workshops and webinars, please contact the Houston Permitting Center at 832-394-9000 or Houston.permittingcenter@houstontx.gov. Register att www.houstonpermittingcenter.org.