URS works with leading apartment development firms and merchant builders to streamline all aspects of utility services throughout the development process. From the moment ground is broken until an asset is turned over to property management, URS manages “all things utilities” and provides project management expertise. URS supports the development team and takes over the setup of utility services, selection and setup of resident billing provider, and optimization of resident billing to maximize NOI with the billing of the first resident.
Specific project management services and a high-level overview of the process include:
- Identify jurisdictions where water submetering is required in new construction apartment projects. Assist in determining whether a RUB program would be preferable where no requirement is in place.
- Select meter installation company to ensure coordination and RF pairing with the resident utility billing company. If a plumbing contractor is used, URS also assists in identification of meter numbers with installed units to avoid confusion in downstream transition to property management.
- Solicit and evaluate proposals from utility billing companies and select company to provide the monthly billing service to residents.
- Negotiate utility billing company contract to ensure optimal terms for client.
- Setup and/or transfer of utilities to the proper legal entity name and billing address (including but not limited to: water/sewer, stormwater, trash, pest, cable, and phone). Coordinate transfer of information to the billing vendor and community. If the community is using a billing vendor to pay/process utility bills, manage the setup of the funding source by the billing vendor.
- Setup online access for company and vendor, where applicable, for access to billing information.
- Gather all rate information and determine most effective methodology for highest utility income recovery.
- Provide entire setup of community’s account with the billing vendor: specifying fees, methodologies and any additional billing items.
- Conduct a compliance review to ensure fees, methodologies and any additional billing items meet any jurisdictional regulatory requirements.
- Review billing setup with regional, community manager and/or any specified corporate employee (e.g., project manager) for approval.
- Provide billing setup to the billing vendor in timely fashion to allow earliest commencement of billing to residents.
- Provide resident utility information to the community manager and communication tools to explain charges clearly to residents.
- Review pre-billing reports prior to the first set of bills being sent to residents to ensure billing is as specified. Continue pre-bill review service over specified period of time contracted.
- Provide support to manager in regard to utility billing. (Questions, issues with residents, etc.)
- Perform seamless handoff to community manager to manage all utilities.