The Perfect Building?

  • Published on August 30, 2016

Andrew Terrell

Business Development Manager / Senior Strata Manager

at Wellman Strata Management Pty Ltd

After a long discussion with an old school mate who was quizzing me on the myriad shortcomings of strata management and living, I was forced to have a think about what does the perfectly run building look like?

     Some buildings have all the money in the world to spend on man hours and keeping the place looking great, however those are generally the buildings with the biggest egos, unattractive/nonviable levies and may well lack a sense of community. I call these buildings glass towers.

     Other buildings are in poor areas and are so run down after years of neglect, that the highest and best use for them is to be knocked down, as bringing them up to a liveable standard is more costly than building new. I call these ripe for termination.

     In-between the two of these is a harmonious, well managed, efficient and attractive building.

These are the traits of the perfect building:

  • Contractors and service providers are responsive, value for money (contracts are tendered when up) and know the property and its key stakeholders well. Occupants know who to contact in an emergency.
  • Plant and equipment is in a register and serviced/checked regularly (it's phenomenal how much wastage there is from plant items not operating correctly). Ideally the equipment is monitored where possible (this is fairly new technology and will be commonplace within years). Whatever can be on a preventative maintenance schedule is on one.
  • The Committee is full of people that aren't self interested, they make decisions efficiently and in the best interests of the building as a whole. The owners trust the committee to represent their interests. The committee does not play favourites, everything is above board and in accordance with relevant legislation.
  • The Building is fully insured and has a broker to give it independent advice. The building adopts the brokers recommendations and tests the market regularly.
  • Facilities and common areas are maintained and improved upon over time. Major assets (e.g. roof) are routinely inspected.
  • Capital work isn't prioritised according to spend - it's done on professional advice and when it has to be done, it's properly tendered and managed.
  • The strata manager and strata company involved are actively engaged with the scheme - giving sound advice and also suggesting ways to improve.
  • Disputes (if and when they occur) are handled outside of a legal process as much as possible, however legal advice is sought when required. 
  • A sense of community is sponsored. Neighbours make the effort with one-another and the building runs the odd event - e.g. a Christmas party. Residents/owners are engaged where possible and relevant.
  • Most schemes over 20 lots could do with a part time building manager, if the committee is not very active. The strata manager is not onsite and our eyes/ears are occupants and building managers.
  • The building adopts useful technology and software to aid in management and communication - e.g. Building Link.
  • By-laws for the scheme are comprehensive and regularly assessed.
  • By-law breaches are reasonably pursued.
  • Electricity, gas, waste and water efficiency projects are looked at and assessed (this area is rapidly improving and there's great opportunities for money saving and ecological gains).
  • Consultants are used where applicable (e.g. when negotiating lift contracts, the use of a lift consultant is well advised).
  • Properties sell and lease quickly, prices and rents achieved are better than the area average.
  • Legal obligations are met (whether that be filing returns, meetings, compliance matters, etc).