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.

Maxine Ottowa

Written by
Maxine Ottowa