Disaster Preparedness

At the Open Meeting on 2015-03-25 it was agreed that the Committee will be asked decide on a policy for the amount of funds that Hackspace should reserve for emergencies, at the next BOTLab AGM to be held in April 2015.

  1. What proportion or absolute amount of the Hackspace funds on hand should be retained and earmarked for disaster recovery? Should this level only be reduced by subsequent agreement via the Committee, or should temporary variations be allowed and if so on what basis?
    1. The current proposed level is 12 months' rent (or total outgoings, these are close but not identical?).
    2. Due to discussion of a large capital purchase, another suggestion was to hold 6 months' reserve temporarily instead, provided reserves can be quickly restored.
  1. What proportion or amount should be retained in addition to the reserve above, for smaller outgoings?
    1. The level proposed at the latest Open Meeting was £1000.
  1. What level of expenditure should trigger the proposed process for large capital purchases?
    1. The level proposed at the latest Open Meeting was £300.

Why does this page exist?

To canvass opinion from our members, this document is intended to explain why a reserve is important, and to give some pointers on what impact the scale of that reserve might have on the Hackspace, should the unthinkable happen.

Please put your thoughts and opinions to the Committee members so that they represent the membership at the BOTLab AGM.

Death, or serious injury to a Hackspace member, a guest or visitor to the Hackspace or a member of the public outside the Hackspace caused by our activities. This is the reason Hackspace carries Public Liability Insurance, and would provide some redress if a serious incident occurs. This is also why we insist on formal inductions on tools and equipment that present a risk to health and safety if misused. No financial reserve that we could reasonably accumulate would be sufficient to meet this need.

We do not have contents insurance for the tools, equipment, resources and hackable things that fill our space. This means that a serious fire could put the Hackspace in a difficult position. (Theft and flood are also considerations but unlikely to result in a total loss. Building collapse seems so unlikely as to be an event outside consideration - do you disagree?).

In these cases we hold a financial reserve to provide a continuation of the Hackspace. This page considers that eventuality

We would need to find a new location, and expect to be asked to provide up to three months' rent.

Into an (almost?) empty space we would need to bring enough items to retain existing and ideally attract new members to use the new Hackspace. It's hard to quantify how we'd choose to spend money (rather quickly!) to restore “essential” Hackspace services, versus more specialist stuff.

(See the current list of tools for a more exhaustive list)

Basics? “Small” items? “Big” items?
Chairs Soldering irons, and accessories Oscilloscopes / Signal generators / probes
Tables and workbenches Multimeters Electric hand / Pillar drill
Lighting Hand tools Sander / Grinder
Plumbing Hot air gun Bandsaw
Electrical outlets Power supplies Sewing machine
Storage Microscope

"Luxury" items?

In an event of total loss of the Hackspace, these may not be affordable in the early days (or months) of moving to and equipping a new space:

  • 3D Printer
  • CNC Mill
  • Laser Cutter (on the assumption that we do obtain one for the Hackspace itself)
  • Metal / Wood Lathes

The purpose of retaining a reserve in Hackspace funds is to ensure that the inevitable gap in availability of the Hackspace is as short as possible, and that the capabilities we have and assets we require are restored to a level that prevents the membership dwindling as a result of the Hackspace becoming unusable or no longer useful for many people.

If the membership income drops below our fixed outgoings, we would have to scale back operations and ambitions. That could become a terminal spiral.

As at 2015-03-25: (Treasurer to validate, this was from Mike T's fallible memory!)

£8,800  Balance on hand

£   950  Monthly income
£   600  Rent
£   100  Recurring spend (averaged)
£   250  Monthly surplus / operating cash flow

These are not well-researched numbers, but it's the scale of the total that needs to be thought about. Can we re-equip the space effectively to retain the membership for half this amount? One third?

£ 1800   3 months' rent (assuming constant with current costs)
£  500   Re-equipping "Basic" items
£ 1000   Re-equipping "Small" items
£ 5000   Re-equipping "Big" and "Luxury" items
  • botlab/disaster_preparedness
  • Last modified: 3 years ago
  • by felix.h