Success Story

A secure inventory – mobile property management in Basel

The city of Basel has been using easysquare for its real estate management since spring 2013. Back then, IBS decided to join forces with PROMOS to implement its most complex property management process – mobile apartment inspections in the event of a change of tenant – using digital data recording.
IT&I Magazin Nr. 22 - "Sicher im Bestand – Mobile Objektbetreuung bei der Stadt Basel"

Following successful implementation of the mobile apartment inspections with easysquare, PROMOS was awarded the contract for a further project in 2015: mobile process support in the area of safety inspections. The mobile safety inspection networks all those involved in the process with one another and allows them to work entirely without paper.  

The city of Basel, part of the canton of Basel-Stadt, controls its real-estate management via the agency “Immobilien Basel-Stadt” (IBS). IBS’s extensive portfolio includes around 1,300 real estate properties, including all public administrative buildings as well as commercial spaces, schools, museums, car parks, leased farmsteads, forested areas, agricultural land, green areas and a castle. This amounts to more than two million square metres of floor space distributed across approx. 110,000 rooms. IBS employs around 70 people in asset, property and facility management.  

The authority (which is assigned to the department of finance) has been consistently developing its IT-based work processes since 2002. In this context, implementing mobile process support with a connection to the ERP system is the latest development. At the Basel authority, up to three property inspections were previously required to complete a pending task, such as repairing damage or apartment inspections due to a change of tenant. This was combined not only with a complicated method for passing on information to the involved parties, but also with the difficult-to-handle volume of documents. In spring 2013, the implementation of easysquare created a bi-directional link with the SAP®-based data system and mobile terminal devices. In a trial run, IBS equipped ten employees with an iPad and the easysquare mobile app. Now more than 50 employees use the app.

Mobile safety inspections of the inventory

In a second project in 2015, the mobile safety inspection with easysquare was implemented. The safety inspection involves regular checks at the properties in question. Various potential hazards are checked in order to take the necessary precautions to avoid damage. With easysquare mobile, the safety inspections that were previously performed and documented on paper have been fully digitised and integrated into the SAP® system.  

In a first step, the central SAP® system defines the relevant inspection criteria in the detailed list of all inventory properties. This includes assignment of the responsible caretaker and the intervals at which inspections are to be carried out. In other words, who has to check what and when is stored as basic information and sent to the app on the mobile terminal device of the employee performing the check via the easysquare portal, which serves as a data hub. In a target/actual comparison, the property manager can access the status of all inspection tasks at any time in the SAP® system. The separate web portal is also particularly practical, as IBS also commissions external service providers with carrying out inspection tasks (Figure 1). This means that the service provider, who cannot access the central ERP system, can also view all the key information regarding the assigned inspection duties, such as the processing status, inspection status and deadline status.

Das easysquare Webportal zur Einsicht in die durchzuführenden Prüfaufgaben der Verkehrssicherungspflicht insbesondere für externe Dienstleister
Figure 1: To allow external service providers to view the inspection tasks to be performed (including the status), IBS uses a separate web portal alongside the SAP® system.
In the second step, the inspection is performed using a mobile checklist that is filled in on site at the property. During the initial inspection, criteria that have been entered in the app can be changed to reflect the actual circumstances. For example, if a garage is recorded that does not exist, this can be removed and added again later if such a construction is subsequently added. A photo can be attached for deficiencies, damage or other irregularities. In addition, each field function has a separate comment line.
Das Erfassungsformular für Prüfergebnisse der Verkehrssicherung in den Formularen der easysquare mobile App auf dem iPad
Figure 2: Recording the inspection results on the mobile terminal device is intuitive and similar to like a check list.

Trust is good, control is better  

A key criterion for the responsible authorities when it came to digitising the work processes was exact and secure documentation of the procedures to enable them to meet the legal specifications precisely. The PDF document that is created once the inspection processes are complete is not only non-modifiable but, at the request of IBS, is saved centrally in the web portal (i.e. on the easysquare platform) via an encrypted connection. From there, the responsible manager is informed by e-mail only if a need to act has been identified. This is known as exceptional reporting. Using the interface between the SAP® ERP and the web portal, the stored inspection reports are collected from the portal on a cyclical basis. The inspection reports can then be accessed either directly from the target/actual comparison or via the inspection task itself. To allow the manager to easily gain an overview of the safety inspections that have already been performed or are still outstanding for the period, a simple report has been provided.  

With its diverse real-estate portfolio, the city of Basel thus provides convincing evidence that it is possible to use easysquare in a public institution with a wide range of different building use types. As the IBS inventory also includes forests and gardens, a modification of easysquare for green areas would even be possible. After all, even trees are a component of a carefully executed safety inspection.

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