Monthly Archives: May 2014

Lot Entitlements and Mind Sets on How to Set

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Great philosophical debates take place between development consultants about how entitlements in a plan should be set. The socialists will say we are all created equal and each apartment should have one entitlement so the common expenses are shared equally. The democrats will say we are all created equally but some more than others, so the rich should pay more than the poor and they should be determined on the initial asking price for the various apartments. The greens will argue for a determination based on size reflecting the carbon footprint of the apartment and the dictator, the nasty developer we all despise will say, I don’t give a toss how you split the bills but the penthouse I am keeping will pay the least.

Make Sure Someone is Watching

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It is true of all forms of organisational behaviour, that if you can’t measure something, then you can’t manage it. Monitoring, measuring and reporting are fundamental to a good compliance culture.
It’s easy when you have a compliance policy, checklists for critical compliance tasks and consultants reports to tell you what to do, to think that everything is alright in paradise, when the truth is you don’t know what’s actually being done. It is only when someone circles back around to do some spot checks that we find out the reality of our commitment to compliance. The best checklist in the world is of no use if not completed or if completed in a perfunctory way.

Strata Language and State Boundaries

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In a country of so few, concentrated as we are in a handful of cities facing the prospect of growing up not out, lost opportunities for better management of our strata communities is bureaucratically reprehensible. The development community crossed state boundaries many years ago to deliver ever more complex but interesting forms of building that have us live as we want but our strata laws hold us back. When it comes to the long-term health and happiness of these buildings and the relationships that must exist within, how can they meet their potential without sharing ideas? How can we expect strata management companies to become better and achieve scale if we make them build eight working platforms and systems when just one would do? Software development, knowledge and ultimately client service will suffer at the hands of language barriers until we develop a common language for the administration of our common property.

The Changing Face of Strata Living

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Amendments to strata title laws over the years have made it possible to accommodate a mix of uses in the one structure.

For example, an underground car park may be strata titled with the car parks owned separately and including a commercial car park operation whilst a three level club sits on top sandwiched by the car park below and residential tower above, itself strata titled. In this way the owners of different types of property some strata titled and perhaps some parts of the property that is not, can be segregated into different owners corporations and share the costs of their particular type of property without burdening others within the same structure with these costs. Each of the owners corporations or separate owners within these complex developments then share some basic overriding costs such as the insurance of the whole of the structure.

Laws that make this type of development possible have contributed significantly to the regeneration of our underutilised inner city precincts and commercially abandoned wharves. It is not uncommon now to see these converted into thriving café and retail sectors with hotels and boutique offices commercially underpinned by the residential community within.

On Being Careful of What We Wish For

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Why do our lawmakers on the one hand stipulate for self-governance of our strata communities and on the other deny the willing the powers necessary to do the job? Is it because they are volunteers? Is it because they are untrained? Is it because we can’t trust the people and must save them from themselves? It’s all of this and it is our fault.

We hold our politicians accountable for everything that goes wrong in our lives and as a consequence they pass laws that try to protect us from ourselves. We should be more careful what we wish for. Laws made in the name of the responsible management of common property are so designed for the lowest common denominator that they actually promote irresponsibility.

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