How to choose a strata manager for your complex

Summit Coatings have worked with countless strata managers and self managed body corporates over the last few decades, and have learnt a thing of two about what makes a good strata manager (especially when it comes to managing maintenance projects). If your body corporate is in the market for a strata manager, be sure to check out our top tips on how to choose a strata manager for your complex.

1. Speak to their current clients

When considering how to choose a strata manager for your complex, ask for contact details of current clients and call them. It pays to do research and see how happy other executive committees are with your candidates.

2. Find their specialties

Whilst good strata management requires wearing many hats, you might notice that certain management teams specialise in different types of strata plans. Some boutique strata management agencies focus on smaller schemes, whilst some managers with multiple offices across Sydney have more resources to control larger schemes.

3. Make a clear list of your expectations (remember, they’re managers not mediators)

Together with your executive committee, it’s best to make a clear list of what you expect from your strata manager. What will their responsibilities be? How and how often do you expect to communicate with them? How do you expect them to handle disputes between owners/residents/contractors? What is the extent of their responsibilities? An honest strata manager will let you know if your expectations are realistic based on your budget – whilst others will promise you the world (so make sure you get everything in writing!)

4. Be prepared to pay for good management

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Just like you’re more likely to get a dodgy paint job if a quote is half the price of other contractors, choosing a strata manager purely on cost will more likely cost you more money down the line. A good strata manager will charge more for their services but on the plus side, they will most likely save you money by properly balancing the books, hiring quality trade contractors and making sure the day-to-day runs smoothly.

If you’re a member of a body corporate and are looking for experienced strata painters, speak with Summit Coatings today.

How to solve the biggest problems with strata maintenance

Summit have worked with enough of strata managers over the years to know that their job is no easy feat. Wearer’s of many hats, strata managers have a broad range of roles and responsibilities to ensure a strata plan is working to its full potential. With our experience, we’ve put together a short summary of how strata managers can make their lives easier by solving the biggest problems with strata maintenance on a large project.

Working with multiple trades on a project

With any large maintenance project, there is rarely just one type of trade contractor on the job. As Master Painters, Summit Coatings often identifies need for remedial building work to ensure the new paint job is worth the investment, and lasts the distance. What this means is that strata managers then need to source and engage a remedial builder externally to the painting project, taking up more time and resources to get the job done. Summit have identified this is an area of concern for strata managers, which is why we now include carpentry services in our service offering. This means, if any remedial building works is recommended in our quotes, we can also manage the rectification as part of our painting scope. This not only saves time in managing an additional contractor, it’s also a cost saving to the strata plan.

Managing residents during large maintenance projects

While it’s inevitable that any large maintenance project will cause a certain level of disruption to residents, Summit have had years of experience to ensure this is minimised during large scale works. Many residents of a strata building will go straight to their strata manager if they feel a contractor is not doing the right thing by them, creating additional work for the strata manager. Complaints can vary from untidy work sites, rude contractors and even concern of safety for personal belongings. Depending on the contractor used, some of these concerns are well warranted, however at Summit Coatings, we make it our priority to ensure disruption to residents are minimised, and that residents have no reason to raise concerns with their strata manager! All of our professional painters share our passion for delivering not just excellent paint work, but only the best in customer satisfaction in all aspects of the job.

Making the budget work

When undertaking any major maintenance project, budgeting is always a challenge for the strata manager. Before even engaging a particular contractor, it’s important to find the right team for the job. Going with the cheapest quote can pose problems in the long run (has the job been quoted correctly? Is the painter properly licensed and insured? What quality materials will be used? etc.), however this also doesn’t mean that the most expensive quote will deliver the best job either. It’s important to choose a contractor based partially on their quote price, and partially on their merit and references. Often it’s also worth asking your preferred contractor to revisit their quote price if it’s come in slightly above others. Summit Coatings is always happy to match like-for-like quotes!

If you’re a strata manager looking to undertake a major paint project, speak to Summit Coatings today and see how we can make your life easier with our experience working with large strata plans.

5 tips to expertly compare trade quotes

When you’re looking at having works done to your residential home, strata complex or even commercial space, the first step is to receive quotes from your shortlist of contractors. Once you’ve received these, it’s time to compare and you’ll soon learn, not all quotes are created equally. Here are our top 5 tips to help you expertly compare trade quotes and find the right contractor for the job.

1. Ensure the same areas have been quoted

This might seem obvious, but even with careful explaining and diagrams contractors can still be unclear on the exact areas which need to be worked on. Make sure you have a written reference of which areas are included in the quote, that way there are no discrepancies when comparing trade quotes from different contractors.

2. Check the specs

Once you’re sure your quotes all include works to the same areas, the next element to check is the specifications when comparing trade quotes (how the job will be completed). Using a paint quote as an example, you might notice that one Contractor A is substantially cheaper than Contractor B. However, if you look closer at the quote, you will notice that Contractor A has only allowed for one coat of an inferior paint brand, whereas Contractor B will complete two coats of a premium paint product, such as Taubmans Endure. So whilst Contractor B might cost a little extra, you know you will be getting a better quality finish which will go the distance.

As a side note, if your priorities are just for a simple repaint (for example, if you’re just preparing a home for sale) ensure you make the purpose of the paint job clear to your contractors. Any reputable painter should be able to give you options based on your budget and purpose.

3. What about remedial work?

Have you noticed that bubbling paint around the side of the house? What about the peeling window frames? Whilst it’s only natural to assume a new paint job will fix these issues, don’t take it for granted. An experienced painter will alert you to any building issues which will affect the quality of the new paint job, and either advise how to fix these or include remedial building work in their quote. However, some contractors may not. If you’re concerned about any remedial building aspects, make sure you check that these are covered in your quotes.

4. Consider timeframes

When looking how to compare trade quotes, make sure you check timings. If you’re not fussed when the work is completed, you may be able to negotiate a better rate (like straight after Christmas when it’s traditionally quieter). However if you’re looking to have something completed before a deadline, make sure you check the availability with your contractors. It might just scratch a few off your list regardless of their submitted quote. What’s more, it’s important to not only check when they can start, but how long they expect the job to take. One contractor might be assigning 3 employees to complete the job in record time, whilst another might be a one-man-band and take his time.

5. Research their references

Any reputable contractor will have a list of references for you. These might be supplied as written recommendations accompanying your quote, testimonials on their website, or simply contact details for you to speak with directly. Be sure to check the references of your contractors to make sure they do what they promise. Remember to take online reviews with a grain of salt and go with the majority. If the contractor has an overall good rating, it’s generally safe to ignore the one customer who left a scathing review back in 2009. If, however, the overall consensus for more than one review is looking less than favourable it might be time to move to the better option.

If you would like Summit Coatings to quote on your next painting project, contact us today via the website, or call 02 9973 3131 today!

Strata Managers: how to make everyone agree on a colour scheme

As a strata manager, one of the most difficult aspects of managing a repaint of the common areas is helping the Owners’ Corporation decide on a paint colour. Body corporates are often made up of many different types of people, and colour selection is a very subjective (and touchy!) choice. Summit has worked with numerous strata managers and body corporates over the years, and we’ve put together our top 4 tips to making everyone agree on a colour scheme.

1. Consider the purpose of the building

Many strata schemes are a combination of residential units and commercial spaces. It’s important to consider how the building is actually used when making everyone agree on a colour scheme. Is the street facade only shop fronts? Are the residential units all in the back of the block? Are there office suites integrated? Choosing colours for a retail space differs vastly to purely residential, so it’s important to get the mix right. For example, commercial spaces usually feature bright, attention grabbing colours, but to live with a candy red external wall might be too much for many residents. Make sure you choose colours which either lend themselves to all building uses, or be sure to segment colour schemes.

Commercial Painting

Commercial building paint in progress by Summit

2. Decide on when you’ll be repainting next

You may be thinking “we’ve only just decided to repaint!” But considering when you’re next going to repaint is crucial to helping everyone agree on a colour scheme. If your strata scheme enjoys a freshen up every few years, it’s safe to go with more “on trend’ colours. These are colours which look fantastic right now, but because of their flavour-of-the-month status, tend to date quicker. If, however, you’re hoping to get longer wear from your paint job, choosing neutrals and more subdues tones will stand the test of time, and ensure your building looks great for years to come.

Strata Painters

Residential strata scheme in progress by Summit Coatings

3. Options, options, options (but not too many)

No we’re not contradicting ourselves… The key to making everyone agree on a colour scheme is to narrow down the thousands of colour options out there, but to leave a few choices for consideration. If you’ve visited a paint shop before, you’ll understand that overwhelming feeling of standing in front of the colour samples. There are an infinite amount of colours available and it makes it difficult to narrow it down to one. One trick is to pay attention to what your neighbours are doing, and choosing something similar (but not the same). Presenting the body corporate with 3 or 4 options narrows down the search, but still allows wiggle room for decision making.

4. Hire a colour consultant

Choosing colours in a body corporate can seem nearly impossible! And if all else fails, it’s time to bring in the experts. Summit understands that using a pro is the way to go, which is why we offer colour consulting as part of our service. For a small fee, our professional colour consultant will visit your strata scheme and gain an understanding of what the priorities of the body corporate are and view the areas to be painted. In due time, a few colour options will be presented to the body corporate with on-the-job reasons to consider these colours. This will equip the body corporate to all agree on a single colour scheme, with minimal fuss (and effort from the strata manager!).

If your strata scheme is in need of a facelift, contact Summit Coatings today through our website, or call us on 02 9973 3131.