Building owners face legal threat in event of Y2K failures

POOR planning for the millennium bug may result in building owners suffering legal action or non-payment of rentals, according to Jones Lang LeSalle’s Jeffrey Binks.

He said, while many building managers had assessed internal building systems for Y2K problems, few had devised contingency plans for problems that might arise despite preventative measures.

“Failure of public utilities such as power and telephone systems are beyond the control of property managers,” Mr Binks said.

“If these coincide with year 2000 celebrations in buildings it could have dramatic consequences.”

Mr Binks said building access, security systems, air-conditioning, fire alarms and lifts could all be affected.

“Many buildings house critical systems for tenants requiring continuous operation,” he said.

“These systems depend on a network of suppliers, contractors and utilities – any of which may be affected by the millennium bug.

“If there was a power failure, for example, we could find tenants can’t get into their offices, people could be stuck in lifts, fire alarms could fail or security systems could be jammed and make the building vulnerable to looters,” he said.

Mr Binks said basic measures such as equipping the building’s control room with a battery powered radio and loud hailer system to communicate with building occupants in case of power failure needed to be planned for because evacuating tenants from upper levels of high rise buildings without power was a major task.

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