Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Link Between Size and Intelligence

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When it comes to building repair and replacement insurance, no fixed amount can be set to cover all building types.

Interestingly, here corners are cut by penny-pinching committees in their all-consuming quest to lower premiums and therefore their levies. Owners will use out-dated valuations as the basis of their decision making on the level of cover, the cost of demolition and redesign will be deleted and GST will be discounted or ignored. Governments are attempting to cover this responsibility gap as well by forcing valuations to occur each few years. Even then, in places, this is being applied only to larger buildings as if the smaller ones are less important to their owners or smaller owners corporations are more likely to be more responsible than bigger ones. There is no known link between size and intelligence.

On a Mission to Paint

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A mission to look after common property might mean that money has to be spent, and now. Take, for example, painting.

People forget painting serves two purposes, an aesthetic one and a preventive one – paint seals wood and other surfaces and protects it from water damage. The aesthetic value of paint outlives the preventive value, so people will argue to defer the paint job when the coffers are low when the current coat, while still in fashion, just, has passed its use by date as a protector of the common property. The consequence of this short sightedness will inevitably be more costs down the track to replace wood or an accident when a balcony railing or floor boards fail.

You Do Not Know What You Do Not Know

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It matters not that the owners corporation does not employ the workers on a permanent or casual basis, it is enough that contractors must, or at some stage may, come on to the grounds to do work.

This triggers the application of the workplace health and safety laws. In other walks of life and human endeavour people are personally fined and jailed for breaching these very laws, but in strata land we act is if we could care less. Goes to show, in strata land there is a lot of “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

Target Levies

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A fiscal conservative running for election would do well to say, ‘I’ll levy appropriately, make sure we live within our means, and that we do the right thing and save for the future.

After sorting out your building, this person should be encouraged to run the country.

Striking an appropriate levy will be made easier by setting a benchmark for this impost.Knowing that others outside the block are paying similar sums will take some of the pain away. Similarly knowing all their fellow owners are paying their levies, when due will help them as well. A target for payment of 95% or more of levies within 90 days is a worthwhile, and realistic target.

And Round 1 Goes to the Strata Manager

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Strata mangers have a unique ability to engage themselves in fights or causes they are not paid to take up.

What’s more bizarre is that they usually don’t charge additional fees when they do fall into the role of protector or advocate. All buildings have defects and all owners at some point come to hate their developer whom they feel should maintain the building in a fine state for at least 20 years after they settle. Strata managing agents commonly take up this cause, lest they be labelled as soft on developers out of some conflict of interest. Strata managers get new business from developers in return for free consulting work on their proposed development. If this type of work, additional / out of scope is routinely being done, should there be a new name for strata mangers and a new level of remuneration and responsibility to go with it?

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