Property Guardians Living in Development Sites

Much more than an alternative to conventional security

Urban property developments benefit from our services. If empty buildings are due to be repurposed – whether by current or future owners – it is essential that they are looked after. Dot Dot Dot’s service is as reliable as conventional security: we understand that timeframes are fixed and important for developers. Our ISO 9001 approved systems ensure that we can be responsive to property owners’ needs. Moreover, our service can be a way for developers to demonstrate that they are responsible stewards of assets. Dot Dot Dot provides building management and housing in a way which contributes to social sustainability and placemaking.

Key benefits to working with Dot Dot Dot on development sites

For formerly commercial properties, temporarily remove business rates for all areas of the property occupied by guardians. Dot Dot Dot will make all arrangements and pay for council tax when converted
Remove the need for more expensive alternative security measures such as manned guarding, steel doors, or CCTV and alarms
Continue development plans as usual by retaining flexibility. Access can be arranged any time and the property is reliably handed back with one month’s notice
Our guardians can be a test-bed for ideas and services envisaged in the long-term development. They are also committed, enthusiastic and positive people, who generate positive stories through their work and volunteering

Case study: Toynbee Hall in Central London

The Context

Toynbee Hall is a charity which has given deprived communities a voice and provided access to free advice and support from its base in the heart of London’s East End since it was founded in 1884.
Over time, the charity became a housing provider, particularly for its own volunteers. In 2014, Toynbee Hall committed to a regeneration project, which includes both the refurbishment and extension of existing structures, and the insertion of new buildings. In 2015, longstanding tenants therefore needed to be re-housed, as redevelopment work neared its start-date.

Our Approach

Dot Dot Dot placed and managed 65 property guardians to secure 30 different properties; starting on 14th May 2015 and returning the keys on 29th March 2016. We used a holistic approach, going beyond providing security by guardian occupation: for large periods we were based on site and we also provided estates management service (fire alarm testing, waste management, litter picking).

Headline Achievements

  • Combined savings on council tax and alternative security options of c.£80,000 over the course of the project.
  • An overall total of 6,277 hours of volunteering were undertaken by our guardians, predominantly in and around the local area. This is the equivalent of three and a half years of full-time work.
  • We ensured that the property deal proceeded on time. Toynbee Hall began decanting its long-term residents early in 2015. Property guardians moved in alongside tenants and in the final six months, Dot Dot Dot guardians were the sole occupants protecting the site. We received notice from Toynbee Hall on 29th February 2016 and the property was returned to them on time and without incident on 29th March 2016.
  • We secured a diverse range of spaces, including commercial units. Due to the piecemeal development of buildings and spaces within the charity, guardians moved into one bed flats, bedsits and unadapted commercial units. We secured all of these spaces without incurring further costs for the property owner.

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