Legal Responsibility and Implementation of Safety Inspections
Housing industry companies are not only tasked with providing real estate, but they also bear the responsibility for the safety of tenants and visitors to their properties. The duty to ensure traffic safety is a significant aspect that is often underestimated.
In this article, we take a closer look at the duty of care for housing companies, its legal basis and its practical implementation. Finally, we show the extent to which innovative solutions offer far-reaching benefits that go beyond compliance with the duty to maintain public safety.
What Is the Duty to Ensure Public Safety and Where Does It Come From?
The duty to ensure public safety is not specifically regulated by law in a particular standard. Rather, it is a duty of conduct to avert sources of danger and arises from the tort law provisions of the German Civil Code, specifically from sections 823 et seq. These stipulate that anyone who intentionally or negligently injures the life, body, health, freedom, property or any other right of another person is obliged to compensate the other person for the resulting damage. It is also concluded from this that anyone who creates or maintains a potential source of danger is obliged to take appropriate and reasonable measures to prevent harm to others.
Housing companies maintain such a potential source of danger with their property and are therefore subject to the duty to ensure public safety. Failure to do so – i.e., failure to comply with the duty to ensure public safety – may entitle injured parties to claim damages if they are harmed by a source of danger emanating from the property.
The Public Safety Obligation for the Housing Industry in Practice
The duty to ensure public safety covers all possible sources of danger emanating from a property or real estate. This includes not only the buildings themselves but also outdoor areas such as courtyards, paths, driveways and trees. It is necessary to do everything possible to protect tenants, visitors, delivery staff and other persons from damage to health.
The following areas, among others, must be inspected regularly to fulfill the duty to ensure public safety:
Inspection of the building envelope: Regular inspection and removal of sources of danger, such as loose plaster, bricks or rotten balconies.
Roof inspection: checking for damage to roof tiles, keeping gutters and drainpipes clear, etc.
Path safety: removing tripping hazards, filling holes and securing manholes. Attach clear warning signs in front of sources of danger.
Lighting: Ensure that the lighting at front doors, in the courtyard and in the stairwell is functional.
Stairwell: Intact steps and banisters, non-slip flooring.
Elevator: Regular inspection and a comprehensive operational check every two years.
Yard, cellar and attic: Check for possible sources of danger and eliminate them.
Trees on the property: Check for stability, shorten branches or cut down rotten trees if necessary.
Fire protection: Immediate elimination of fire protection deficiencies.
Winter service: clearing and gritting paths and driveways in winter, preventing roof avalanches and falling icicles.
Liability Risks and Their Consequences
Comprehensive traffic safety reduces the risk of accidents and potential liability claims. In the event of injuries or damage due to a lack of road safety, housing companies can be exposed to considerable legal consequences. High claims for damages could jeopardize the financial stability of the company and damage its reputation, which can have considerable negative financial consequences in addition to the loss of image.
Why Is This Aspect Often Given Little Attention in Practice?
Compliance with the duty to maintain road safety involves considerable costs and effort. Not only the maintenance measures themselves can be associated with high costs for materials and personnel. Regular inspections also require the use of personnel and scaffolding and are often very time-consuming. Furthermore, depending on the property type, the inspection of roofs, for example, involves additional risks for personnel, such as the danger of falling. Not to be underestimated is the often-mentioned shortage of skilled workers, which will obviously become even more acute.
Comprehensive Modern Solution Approaches
Digitalization offers innovative solutions for ensuring the safety of properties. The company FlyNex has developed a special solution that brings together automated drone flights, a powerful software platform and a team of experts to fulfill this obligation. This makes it easier, more cost-effective and future-proof to comply with the duty of care.
FlyNex thus enables housing companies to obtain georeferenced overviews of their building stock. Automated drone flights capture high-resolution images to assess the condition of building components safely and much more easily than with traditional methods from the office. Using artificial intelligence trained on the company’s own properties, damage and sources of danger can also be identified much more quickly and reliably than the human eye can. Today, innovative housing companies receive comprehensive documentation of the building’s condition and can create detailed inspection reports, including cost estimates and suitable repair measures, with just one click.
Regular data collection enables changes to be recorded over a longer period of time and measures to be documented in order to demonstrate compliance with road safety in the event of an emergency.
Further Advantages of Digital Data
Creation of Digital Twins
The image data collected by the drones can be used to quickly and easily create detailed digital twins as 3D models, which in turn can be used for BIM, for example. The precise digital images also contribute to future-oriented building management.
Energetic Building Image
Thermographic data can also be collected as part of the aerial surveys. This enables thermal bridges, leaks and other energy weaknesses to be identified quickly and accurately. The energy image of the building can be used to plan and implement measures for energy-efficient refurbishment in a more targeted manner.
Survey Data of Roofs for the Construction of PV Systems
Drones can provide valuable data, particularly for the construction of photovoltaic systems on roofs. The precise images can be used to determine the exact dimensions and inclination of roof surfaces, which simplifies the planning and installation of PV systems.
Data Protection With Artificial Intelligence
Despite everything, the recording of building data is also associated with risks for companies due to high data protection requirements, as tenants or third parties are often present during the recording. But there are already solutions for this, too.
Thanks to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, FlyNex anonymizes all personal data, such as faces or license plates on the images and thus complies with even the strictest data protection regulations.
The duty of care is essential for housing companies to ensure the safety of their tenants and visitors. Regular inspections and modern technologies, such as those from FlyNex, enable companies to fulfill this obligation more efficiently and at significantly lower costs while protecting data privacy. The data collected during the traffic safety inspection also offers far-reaching benefits for other areas and obligations.
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