There is a missing link between the top two topics presently being discussed in strata circles. Between sustainability and termination lies maintenance.
Termination of strata schemes is being discussed in terms of buildings being past their use-by date but this is being accelerated by the neglect.
Sustainability of strata schemes is focused on the use of energy and water but the purest form of sustainability is perhaps to make do with what we have used already and make it last longer.
Maintenance is the missing link between these two important discussions but it seems to be off the agenda. It is as if having passed laws for ten-year repair and replacement fund studies last time strata laws were seriously reformed, we thought that box was ticked and we moved on.
But the plans are not being taken seriously and certainly where independent experts are doing plans regularly; they are not being funded progressively by owners of the day. And buildings are aging before their years and resources are being wasted on replacements when repairs would have done.
Victoria and Queensland laws about maintenance plans are superior to those of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The former call for 10 year rolling plans and the latter require static ten year plans. Rolling plans are better because they require strata communities to focus each year for budgeting purposes on the next ten years. Static plans are for ten years and are reviewed at the five-year mark but there is never a constant ten-year outlook.
Victoria pips Queensland for the best laws in this field because it sensibly requires the executive committee to report each year to the annual general meeting about spending in according to the plan.
Of course owners corporations don’t need laws to require them to adopt ten year outlooks – they could and should adopt these forms of studies and report about them annually as best practice and in so doing show the reformers the way.