Monthly Archives: February 2012

A New Word For Strata

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As a few weeks of heavy speaking commitments on work health and safety come to an end, I have invented a new word to describe how people in strataland are feeling. The word is ‘stratatired’. It means fatigued or overwhelmed by the mere thought of more compliance work for strata titled property owners and managers.

Things really have reached an absurd point. Not only are there strata laws to be complied with but there is also work, health and safety, discrimination and privacy, just to mention a few. Properly understood no one would assume the responsibilities of serving their committee. I doubt this burden was intended when strata laws were first passed 50 years ago.

In other fields where the burden of compliance has grown proportionately, new professions have emerged to deal with the work. Compliance officers and risk management professionals abound in banks, insurance companies and the financial services sector. Money has been found to pay for these services because the price for various financial products has risen.

In the strata world, the price has stayed the same (modest management fees and no fees at all for committees) but the compliance load has risen immeasurably. Something has to give. The only thing we should be contemplating in this latest round of strata law reform is this; ‘How do we make it easier for owners and managers to do the right thing?’

Any other considerations should be put aside until some common sense prevails.

Management Rights In Queensland Its Back To The Future

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As a few weeks of heavy speaking commitments on work health and safety come to an end, I have invented a new word to describe how people in strataland are feeling. The word is ‘stratatired’. It means fatigued or overwhelmed by the mere thought of more compliance work for strata titled property owners and managers.

Things really have reached an absurd point. Not only are there strata laws to be complied with but there is also work, health and safety, discrimination and privacy, just to mention a few. Properly understood no one would assume the responsibilities of serving their committee. I doubt this burden was intended when strata laws were first passed 50 years ago.

In other fields where the burden of compliance has grown proportionately, new professions have emerged to deal with the work. Compliance officers and risk management professionals abound in banks, insurance companies and the financial services sector. Money has been found to pay for these services because the price for various financial products has risen.

In the strata world, the price has stayed the same (modest management fees and no fees at all for committees) but the compliance load has risen immeasurably. Something has to give. The only thing we should be contemplating in this latest round of strata law reform is this; ‘How do we make it easier for owners and managers to do the right thing?’

Any other considerations should be put aside until some common sense prevails.

Rumours About New Strata Management Broking Service Divide Opinion

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The strata management market is buzzing with rumours of a new service about to be launched – one that brokers deals between owners corporations / bodies corporate looking for a new service provider and a new strata manager willing to offer that service. Could this be our industry’s answer to ‘Aussie Home Loans’? Are strata managers to this new service as banks are to Aussie?

Apparently the concept works this way – strata managers join a stable offering services (numbers are capped), owners go to the broker looking for a new strata manager, broker tenders the work to the panel and submits a shortlist to the owners from which a new provider is selected.

The service is apparently free to the owners and the winning strata manager pays a fee of so much per lot to the broker.

The Peoples Front for Brokers in Strata (you do the acronym) will say the owners win, the strata mangers win and the broker wins (because the fee is no more or less that the strata manager would pay if buying an established business or portfolio).

Strata Managers Against Interference With Contractual Relations will say the name of their association says it all.

The truth is this rumored development might be the lightning rod for an important discussion about the future of strata management.

Brokers thrive when a service becomes a mere commodity. Strata managers offer much more than a commodity. The question will be: ‘Are they able to sell that message to their clients?’

Expert Poker

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Like most forms of gambling, in expert poker, the punter seldom wins.

This is how the game is played. A bad thing happens; building defects start to appear, neglected repair and maintenance issues result in a unit leaking, a tree grows too big and is for the chop. Party A gets an experts report. Party B gets one too.  Sooner or later A shows B his, if B shows A hers. And the experts issue supplementary reports commenting on the opponents, and on it goes.

In this game, it’s easy to get caught in the rhythm of the exchange and to lose sight of the underlying problem and the need for it to be fixed. It is also the case in Expert Poker, that the parties will be constrained by the first card dealt. If the first expert’s report is a little off the point, or particularly weak, the game can be played on a totally false premise to the detriment of all.

Some disputes can only be resolved by an expert’s report, but how that expert is chosen, and what they are briefed to report on is not a game of chance. It is an art accompanied by a fair bit of science.

People who are good at resolving disputes know that playing poker is for amateurs. To get the right answer, you have to know the right question.

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