Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) are a commercial and residential property heavyweight with more than 40 offices and 1700 dedicated employees across the UK and Ireland.
Telecoms masts are everywhere, often on the tops of office blocks and other buildings. Access to them needs to be controlled, and this can be time intensive and inefficient. Frequently, contractors need to provide several different pieces of information to validate their access, and LSH identified that this process could be optimized digitally.
Following on from the successful delivery of several other digital transformation projects, LSH approached NLS to develop an online portal that would bring efficiency and cost-saving to the process of applying for and granting access to contractors for telecoms companies requiring access to plant and installations on top of commercial buildings.
Working alongside LSH, NLS researched and developed user journeys to map out the sometimes-complex user journeys required to manage access for contractors, considering a wide range of situations and possible outcomes. We designed both an admin backend for administrating applications for access, and an easy-to-use front end for contractors seeking access.
After defining requirements, we used a prototyping tool to develop walk-throughs of the key user journeys required on the site. Given that many contractors are mobile, we designed the site to be usable on a mobile-first basis, taking care to construct forms that would be easy to complete on a small viewport or a handheld device.
For security, we built in a password strength estimator tool to ensure simple passwords were not used and added emailed time-limited links for new access.
The result is an easy to use web app, which simplifies the process for both contractors and LSH administrators, and which guarantees that all necessary information is provided to LSH straightaway, almost eliminating the need for follow-up communications.
Applicants can send through requests by completing a simple form. A document uploader is included, so that necessary insurance details can be included easily.
The administrative backend has multiple levels of permissions, allowing access to building managers and council workers, as well as administrators inside the LSH team. Applications are fully searchable, meaning that all application data is now just a click away. Application details are also downloadable as a CSV for offline analysis.
All parties involved in an application (Building manager, key holder, administrator and applicant) are kept up-to-date with the application process through a series of triggered emails.
This app brings digital efficiency to a difficult and time-consuming process, enabling contractors and site managers to have clear visibility of who is on site, and to manage permissions effectively.
The new site launched in September 2019 in the Borough of Southwark, and now LSH is rolling out use of the app to other local authorities. Already the app has removed the need for significant amounts of communication between building administrators and contractors. Furthermore, the data that the app captures can now be analysed to gain business intelligence about contractor access, including types of access, levels of emergency access and new installations etc.
“Working with NLS has been easy and we are delighted with the end product. From the start, they demonstrated the expertise to guide us through the pitfalls of digital product design and ensured that the product we have launched is highly user friendly and really effective. The application is now the sole point of contact for all access queries for the council’s portfolio and has been integrated with our security partners who actually provide the physical site access – so far it’s working just as we had hoped.”
Mark Walters Director – Head of Telecoms, Lambert Smith Hampton