Fundamentals of getting site access management right for the smooth running of a large network estate

These days, regardless of where you are, the expectation is that you can speak to anyone at any time whether it is on your phone or over the internet. To provide constant network coverage, operators need to ensure they have a clear and defined site access management strategy.

Why is site access critical?

The reality of site access means that it is often reactive. If a fault has been reported, engineers need to gain access to site quickly to prevent loss of network coverage for their customers and clients and, in worse case scenarios, to prevent possible reputational damage. All parties need to be aware of their obligations as set out within the legal agreement so that there are no last-minute barriers that can cause delays. This has to be a two-way street, landlords need to understand the importance of not blocking access to site and operators, or their representatives, need to understand the processes and arrangements that have been made at each site to prevent damaging their working relationship with the landlord.

How do you ensure full access?

  • Follow the processes that have been agreed to ensure neither party is in breach of agreement, which could lead to further issues and tarnish the relationship. Breaches could include not following access procedures, installing equipment outside of demises, rent arrears etc
  • Periodically verify access details to ensure we have the most accurate and up-to-date information to allow access (especially for emergencies) in accordance with the access clause within the legal agreement
  • Have an available point of contact so that if there is a problem, there is a clear escalation process and there are resources available to swiftly resolve the problem as amicably as possible, to ensure all parties are satisfied with the resolution. Be prepared when you visit a site. Ensure all relevant documentation is available for site providers - this may include site specific RAMS depending on the site being accessed.

Common pitfalls to enabling access:

There are many reasons why access may be denied. Some will be evident, but others will need some patient investigation. Some of the common reasons have been mentioned above such as outdated contact details but other reasons causing resistance could include:

  • A lack of understanding or awareness of the status of the relationship. Is there an ongoing dispute? If so, knowing about this ahead of requesting access will allow you to tailor your approach
  • Damage to property on a previous visit may cause reticence in allowing access. Knowing this in advance will allow you to reassure landlords that precautions will be put in place to ensure it doesn’t occur again
  • If the site is out of bounds for health and safety reasons, such as structural integrity issues with the subject building or site.

How Cluttons can help

Cluttons are experts at providing access management for large portfolios, for example we provide access management for a portfolio of over 30,000 sites, which can result in a large number of blockers each month. Using our knowledge and experience we have developed our own portal to assist in the management of each site to prevent sites falling through the gap and ensure records are constantly maintained and kept up to date, with contact details routinely verified, and readily available to both us and the operator. This all plays an important part in our ability to proactively contribute to good relationships between landlords and operators whilst providing a seamless, proactive service.