Sentinel for
Commercial Property Managers

As a Commercial Property Manager or building owner in New Zealand, you are responsible for the structural integrity of your building portfolio during and after an earthquake. This includes all structural and non-structural building elements that have the potential to harm your building’s occupants – tenants or otherwise. 

As an owner, or owner’s representative, your responsibilities under the 2015 Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) mean that by law, you must proactively manage risks arising from earthquakes in and around workplace buildings on a regular and ongoing basis. Failure to do so is illegal and has the potential for hugely negative consequences.

Managing a commercial property during an earthquake

New Zealand is prone to seismic activity everywhere, with no warning. In the event of an earthquake, building owners and property managers are responsible for the safety of their building. They are responsible by law for any structural and non-structural elements that pose risks to:

  • The building, its tenants, and other occupants
  • Surrounding buildings and their occupants
  • Person(s) passing by
Failure to appropriately manage a building’s structural condition risks prosecution, with significant financial and other penalties. 

As a property manager, it is your responsibility to communicate to the tenant the structural liabilities of your building; this will help your tenant to plan the right health and safety procedures needed in the event of an earthquake. But with a variety of factors impacting how a building reacts in an earthquake – how can you effectively communicate this information to your tenants? As a portfolio manager, you might have dozens of buildings affected over a wide area. You can’t deal with them all at the same time? How do you decide which ones are the most important?

The impact an earthquake has on your buildings can vary significantly depending on where the building is, what land it’s on, the type of earthquake (such as its duration, accelerations and velocity), and the building’s structural and non-structural composition. Regardless of your building’s new building code rating, earthquakes are unpredictable. If you do not have the right tools to immediately understand the impact the earthquake has had on all your buildings, you will need to evacuate occupants as a safety precaution. In doing so, you will force all your tenants to stop business operations until you arrange engineering inspections and clear the building as safe to enter. This process is slow, expensive and will cause tension between you and your tenants. Given earthquakes are so frequent in New Zealand, this method of conservative earthquake response management has become a regular point of contention between building owners, property managers and tenants. Eliminating unnecessary evacuations is good business for both parties.

Earthquake management made simple

Sentinel eliminates the lengthy, expensive and conservative earthquake management processes of the past. With Sentinel, communicating and managing the impact of an earthquake is quick and efficient for everyone. Sentinel is the standard which meets the requirement of all practicable steps. For one building or many, Sentinel provides an immediate triage, and delivers clear a priority for action.

In the event of an earthquake, Sentinel gives all parties affected – building owners, managers and tenants – the valuable information they need to act quickly and with certainty. Sentinel eliminates guesswork, estimation and gut-feel, replacing it with unprecedented rapid insight into building performance and the response actions required.

How does Sentinel work?​

Sentinel directly compares measured ground shaking at, or near your building against the NZ Building Code design demand of any individual structure, on any ground condition and of any importance level. Developed into a convenient mobile phone app, Sentinel reports are instant.

Sentinel Condition

Action: Business as Usual

Sentinel Condition

Action: Inspect for hazards

Sentinel Condition

Action: Evacuate immediately

With building information and management advice available on demand, Sentinel offers business owners and their staff certainty on their building’s structural status after an earthquake. Through its colour-coded traffic light system, Sentinel enables unprecedented effective action as to how a business or individual should react to an earthquake. With the precautions and immediate actions clearly outlined, Sentinel maximises reaction efficiency, reduces unwanted anxiety and minimises needless business disruption and lost profitability.

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