Contingency plan. The current four-year contract between New York City co-op and condo boards and their unionized building staffers — doormen, porters, handymen and others — expires on April 20, 2022. That means that early in the new year property management companies will begin making preparations for the possibility of a walkout by unionized workers. Among the many challenges will be finding a way to identify building residents so that they can be screened by fill-in doormen and security guards.
Tall order. “It’s one of the most challenging aspects of the interface between residents and management,” says Jacob Sirotkin, a vice president at Century Management Services. “To deal with the challenge in years past, Century bought a machine that printed out ID cards that were distributed to residents and employees at their buildings. But coordinating the effort was never easy. “It’s tough to get people to read notices and fill out forms,” Sirotkin says. “We wanted to try to figure out an easier way to prepare for a possible strike.”
Admit one. Enter Josh Gross, a tech entrepreneur whose company, BuildingBoard, has developed a software called BuildingQR, which can produce ID cards in the black-and-white pixels of a QR (quick response) code on a smartphone. Century, which manages about 100 unionized co-ops and condos in New York, is developing a tab on its website that will assign residents, as well as outside workers who need to enter the building, an ID number when they enter their name and address on the company’s website. The information is embedded in a QR code on their phones, which a doorman can scan with his phone. For low-tech residents, the management company can print out a QR code, and that piece of paper can be scanned by the doorman.
Volume discount. The cost? “It’ll vary depending on volume,” Gross says, “but it’ll be a dollar or two per apartment on average. We’ll send the invoices to the property managers.”
Gross is confident that QR codes have become so ubiquitous that even tech-averse co-op and condo residents will be able to adapt to them.