What do owners expect from their strata manager?

It takes a lot of resources to run a strata scheme. In between liaising with the executive committee and managing the scheme finances, there’s coordinating maintenance repairs and dealing with complaints about noisy neighbours. A strata manager is required to wear many different “hats” for many different purposes, and keeping everyone happy is no easy feat.

As Sydney’s Northern Beaches most experienced painters, we’ve worked with many strata managers and owners corporations over the past 20 years, and have come to understand what the important qualities of a good strata manager are. Take a look at our list of what it takes to keep owners and residents happy; and how to maintain your sanity as a strata manager:

Manage expectations

Every owner and every resident within a strata scheme will have a slightly different expectation of what defines “good strata management”. In fact, some will have a very strong view of the roles and responsibilities of their strata manager, whilst others won’t even be sure of what a strata manager does! As body corporate painters, we understand the key to keeping such a broad range of perceptions happy is to actively set up their expectations from the start.

To ensure all owners and residents understand your role as a strata manager, it’s a good idea to provide a written explanation of what you actually do. If this is not already clear in your strata scheme, perhaps a one off bulk email to all owners and residents would be a good start. In your email, clearly list what your responsibilities are under the fee arrangement. Is it managing body corporate painters? Or is that the building manager’s job? Whilst this may have been buried in the initial strata management contract, many owners/residents will not take the time to read through all this information. This is why it’s important to call this information out on its own. Each time there is a new owner/resident, be sure to provide them with this information also.

Have a contact list

Depending on how the strata agreement is structured, you might be receiving inquiries for jobs which aren’t actually your responsibility. Of course you will be more than happy to pass on the right contact, however you could actually remove this time by ensuring owners and residents knew who to contact from the start.

Again, a short email with a list of contacts will ensure your time in the office is better spent. Provide owners with the phone number and email addresses of contacts they can go to directly. These could be internal or external providers, but it means you don’t spend your day redirecting inquiries. For example, as body corporate painters we are often happy for members of the executive committee to contact our foreman directly.

Upfront Information

There are many guides available online from reputable sources which can assist owners and residents with questions they might have about their strata scheme. As body corporate painters in the Northern Beaches, we recommend finding a few of these guides and making them available to all owners and residents from the start.

These guides will provide information to people who might be interrupting your day, saving you hours of time fielding questions. Some good resources include a free online executive committee training session run by the Strata Community Australia, a guide to Strata Living, by the NSW Government department of Fair Trading and a guide to Selecting and Working with your Strata Manager, by the Owners Corporation Network.

Manage your workload

Whilst you want to be seen as carrying your load around the office, taking on more and more strata schemes can leave you spread too thin which means nothing actually gets resolved. If you need help to get through a particularly busy time, tell someone who can do something about it. Perhaps a new junior could relieve some of your more arbitrary tasks; or is someone available to assist on a large scheme? Your owners will appreciate the extra attention you can give them and you might actually be able to get things done! Being experienced body corporate painters, we have seen the difference a focused strata manager can make to ensuring a scheme is properly managed and maintaining happy residents.

If you are a strata manager who is looking for experienced and licensed body corporate painters to make your job easier, contact Summit Coatings today.

This entry was posted in Strata.

How to manage residents during a major body corporate paint project

When dipping into your sinking fund to complete major works on a strata title, it’s important to consider how residents will be impacted. By ignoring the needs and wants for minimal disruption, privacy and cleanliness by building residents, you could be creating more work for yourself as a strata manager. Whilst managing complaints and diffusing tense situations come with the territory of strata management, there are strategies you can implement to make your next body corporate painting works a smooth one.

Ensure your contractors are presentable and courteous

Before you select a body corporate painter to put forward to the Executive Committee, make sure you’ve done your background research. It’s important not simply to look at the bottom line on the quote, or even the proposed plan of works. Whilst these are of course the top two considerations, ensuring your body corporate painters are presentable, courteous and reliable will make your job easier.

Be sure to meet face-to-face with the body corporate painter, if you don’t already have a relationship with them. Additionally, a good master painter will provide references when they submit their quote and it pays to do your research. Look for similar jobs in a similar area (like the Northern Beaches). Be sure to call at least two references, as this will give you a deeper understanding of how that painting contractor manages strata works.

Prepare residents for impending works

Most Northern Beaches residents welcome a new slick of paint around their homes, however many also dread the inconvenience which can be caused. Plus, since many residents may also be owners, it’s their sinking fund which is being used to foot the bill. It’s important that not only owners, but tenants understand the work which is about to go ahead. Ensure all residents are notified well in advance of the impending body corporate painting.

The best way to cover this is to do a letterbox drop of all homes in the block outlining the following aspects of the job:

  • The scope of works (“painting of entire exterior, including balconies”)
  • How these works will affect them (“access to your courtyards/balconies will be required for approximately 3 days at a time”)
  • Timing of works (“work will commence on June 1st, 2015 and is expected to run for six weeks”)
  • Body Corporate Painter details. This includes company name and contact details, and site foreman name and contact details)
  • If you are unsure about any of the information, your selected body corporate painter should be able to advise.

Keep residents updated

Most major works will be carried out over an extended period of time. During these works, it’s important to notify residents of the progress. The best way of achieving a positive reaction is to use the following method:

  • Detail what has successfully been completed (“all areas have been prepared and undercoated, and the first coat of colour has been applied”)
  • Explain any delays which may affect timings (“unfortunately, due to unforeseen remedial building which has been required, the expected finish date is now 31st of July”). Be sure to clarify the benefits that any of this delay might have caused…
  • Inform of any actions which might be required by tenants (“please leave windows unlocked in the next week to ensure the body corporate painters can properly paint window frames”)

Any good body corporate painter will ensure they also do their bit to keep residents informed.

Schedule different areas to minimise disruption

Experienced strata painters will work with you as a strata manager to put together an action plan for minimal disruption to residents. This plan will include scheduling different areas at different times to manage car and foot traffic, work at times suitable for residents and incorporate other considerations for a seamless job.

By working to a plan, body corporate painters can limit their work to certain spaces (minimising the amount of materials stored at different places) and leave happy residents, which is your ultimate goal.

If you would like more information about how Summit Coatings can assist you with your next major works, please contact us via email, or call 02 9973 3131.

Protect your property – use a licensed body corporate painter

One of the biggest challenges facing most Strata Managers and Executive Committees is finding the right tradesperson to complete their next project. It can be difficult for all members to finally decide on the winning quote, however, ensuring your body corporate painter is licensed should be the first step to narrowing the pool.

We’ve come up with the following checks and measures to ensure the trades you hire are the right fit for the job:

It’s the law to be licensed

In New South Wales, body corporate painters must be licensed to carry out works in the following category:

  • The cost of a job is greater than $1,000, including labour and materials
  • They advertise their services as a painter
  • A painter enters into contracts with clients
  • They hire subcontractors to carry out work

Licensed body corporate painters are insured

By using an unlicensed body corporate painter, you are seriously jeopardising the safety of not just the workers, but residents and the general public. If a painter is unlicensed and unlawfully carrying out works and someone sustains an injury as a result, all insurances are void. This means, the executive committee and/or strata manager could be seen as negligent and be liable. Ensure you protect yourself, and those around you by using a licensed and insured body corporate painter.

Home Building Compensation Fund

By law, all painting works above the value of $20,000 must be covered by the Home Building Compensation Fund (previously known as Home Warranty Insurance).

This compensation provides protection for body corporate homeowners for losses arising from defective or incomplete work, where the tradesperson becomes insolvent, dies, disappears or has their license suspended.

The majority of body corporate painting projects are usually large scale projects which can cost upwards of $100,000 and can span a number of months. Ensuring your body corporate painter has applied and attained Home Building Compensation on your behalf for your property is crucial to protecting your works.

Only licensed painters who have completed a specification outline can be approved for this compensation.

Know you are hiring a qualified strata painters

Painters’ licences are issued by the NSW Department of Fair Trading. Before a licence is issued, the applicant must provide they have received Certificate III training in Painting and Decorating from a recognised training institute such as TAFE. These painters understand what makes good workmanship and know the best products for the job.

Certainly not all unlicensed painters are poor quality. But more often than not, complaints about inferior work result from unlicensed contractors. Unlicensed and untrained painters are not subject to meeting specific quality or service standards. Sloppy work can have serious ramifications.

It’s makes life harder for you

As a strata manager, or member of the executive committee, you have enough to worry about without having to chase unreliable tradespeople and defuse angry owners and tenants. Unlicensed painters are unlicensed for a reason. Either they haven’t been professionally trained, they have had their license revoked, or they haven’t been bothered to apply for or update their license because of the fees or process involved. This is not someone you want to be working on your strata scheme.

Painting a strata premises is often a delicate balance of working to complete the job on time, and managing the privacy needs of residents. Only experienced body corporate painters can ensure your job is finished on time, with minimal disruption; which makes your job easier.

Finally, be vigilant in checking license details

Whilst most body corporate painters would never advertise they are licensed when they are not, it’s up to you as they buyer to ensure their license is current (or actually exists at all). It’s not enough to simply assume your body corporate painters are licensed. Be vigilant and conduct your own license check using the OneGov website. This is a free service provided by the NSW Government where you can check the validity of your body corporate painters licence credentials.

To check the Summit Coatings license, simply select “home builder” in part one, and enter our business name in part two.

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If you would like to learn more about the importance of using a licensed painter, or to receive a quote on your strata managed property, get in touch with Summit Coatings!

This entry was posted in General.

My building has been vandalised! Help from a North Shore painter.

Graffiti is an ongoing issue faced by many of our clients. Especially commercial properties which are located in high-traffic areas. It’s also unfortunate that a freshly painted wall seems to signal “graffiti me” to the population of offenders. The reality is that graffiti can affect your business’ image in the eyes of potential clients. Luckily, our North Shore painters have years of experience in removing graffiti from commercial buildings. And whilst we don’t want to see a fresh paint job ruined any more than the building owners, we can provide a quick and efficient service to get your premises looking great again. The following steps detail our tried and true method of removing graffiti from your commercial building.

 

Identify your surface and what type of material was used for the graffiti

Spray paint is an amazing material, it can be applied to almost anything and have a lasting finish. Unfortunately when this material is used for bad rather than good, it can cause a major annoyance for commercial building owners. First, you need to work out what’s underneath the spray paint; brick, concrete, weatherboards, timber, not to mention aluminium signs and glass. Each material will have a different method for removing graffiti. Our North Shore painting team can assist with this.

Choose your weapon

Now you’ve identified what you’re working with, it’s time to choose your method. There are many different strategies, however we have the best results with the following methods:

1. Paint Over

If you’re lucky enough that the graffiti has been applied to a previously painted wall, this is the easiest solution to removing it. It’s not as simple as just throwing a coat of paint over the wall as there is substantial preparation to ensure the surface is ready.

2. Chemical removers

The paint industry has spent considerable resources on finding the magic solution – unfortunately it’s still a work in progress. There are, however, a good number of chemical removers which can assist with the graffiti removal process. These solvents are usually very harsh and toxic, so always ensure you use a professional North Shore painter, who understands the risks of such products and can adequately protect themselves, those exposed to the area and the environment. These solvents are strong stuff and need proper ventilation. Moreover, with the range of solvents available, a poorly matched graffiti remover to surface type can make your graffiti problem worse, not better.

3. Pressure washing

Whilst effective, this is another method which requires discretion, based on surface type. Simply attacking a brick wall with a waterblaster could have disastrous effects, with loose particles having the potential to not only injure yourself and those around you, but could leave your wall worse for wear. A professional North Shore painter will ensure your surface is properly looked after.

Pressure washing alone is not a complete solution and should be used in combination with other methods.

Often our North Shore Painting Team use a combination of the above methods for the best results. For example, painted masonry walls are a common canvas for vandals. These walls include brick, concrete, stone etc. For these walls we recommend power washing with a low pressure washer. Then, we hit it with paint remover, or chemical graffiti remover. This won’t eliminate every trace of the graffiti, but it will provide an even surface to allow for some additional coats of paint to finish the job. Before you know it, your wall will be looking better than it did before.

 

Protect your commercial building with a North Shore painter

Now that the offending graffiti has been successfully removed and your premises are ready to get back to business it might be worth considering a protective coating. There are two types of protective coatings against graffiti; sacrificial and non-sacrificial (or permanent).

Sacrificial coatings are protective, however come off when the graffiti is removed and must be reapplied (imagine a layer of Clingwrap over your walls). Permanent solutions remain on the wall and allow easy removal of graffiti, however are more expensive to apply in the first place.

These protective coatings aren’t widely available in hardware or paint stores to the general public. Which is why it’s important that you use a professional North Shore painter to recommend the right coating for your building and to apply it properly.

 

Apart from painting there are other non-paint methods for graffiti prevention. For example, Summit recommends ensuring all areas of your building are well lit at night, to deter offenders. Often, the risk of being caught can be enough for them to leave your premises alone. If you have come to work to find your walls tarnished, or are looking in to protecting your building from potential offenders, be sure to contact Summit Coatings to discuss how we can manage graffiti for your commercial residence.

This entry was posted in General.
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