This article about how to choose the right strata maintenance provider has been supplied by Lara Blanco, Clean Focus.
Choosing the right maintenance services for your strata can become a big headache and a delicate minefield to navigate. Residents tend to have their ideas on how the maintenance of a building should be carried out and are resistant to hire providers perceived as expensive or overkill. It would be fair to say most strata managers have come across a resident who doesn’t want to pay for a gardener and will ‘maintain’ lawns and gardens themselves!
Depending on the size of the building you manage and the facilities provided, there are a couple of options when it comes to choosing a maintenance provider, and here are our tips for selecting a good one.
The right Maintenance Provider starts with you. Wonderful, ethical you
Taking on a new maintenance provider will always lead to a couple of disgruntled voices from those that are resistant to change.
By starting with a transparent process and divulging any conflict of interest or past relationship at the outset, you achieve two things:
- The owners feel part of the process and therefore, are more open to appointing a maintenance provider.
- You build trust, which is a valuable commodity when managing many stakeholders.
Sharing the process and operating an ethical tender and hire process will not only make the appointment of a maintenance provider smoother, but it also sets up your new strata maintenance provider for success when it comes to interacting with residents and being able to succeed in their work.
Forward planning helps you now
Paying close attention to your capital works budget can assist you when choosing a new strata maintenance provider. Larger buildings tend to select a strata maintenance company to follow a monthly, quarterly and yearly plan to maintain and update common areas. This option immediately takes the headache of multiple invoices and budget balancing away, freeing up more of your time to focus on other areas. However, it’s wise to have the governance in place to check that work has been completed as promised and to the standard you require.
WHS Is Best
Health and safety talk usually has people’s eyes glazing over in a few minutes, but it is vital that you engage a strata maintenance provider who adopts a robust safety culture. You can use this topic to push back on the resident who wants to cut their own lawn, or paint the lobby themselves and ask a few questions.
Who will maintain the lawn mowers and test and tag them? Who will provide the insurances and liability? What happens if you fall off the ladder and cannot work? Once these questions are asked, it soon becomes clear that it is better for everyone to engage an expert for the job at hand.
Nasty accidents and tragedies can happen, and the chances increase sharply when poor WHS processes are in place.
What can your strata maintenance provider bring to the table?
If you are looking to engage a strata maintenance agency, ask them how they will add value to the building and your working day. Why should you choose them over someone else? For example; can your strata cleaning company report on any repairs or light failures they come across on their rounds? Or, can your gardener also take away organic waste and broken items to dispose of at the local waste management centre? Make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
New isn’t always best
Don’t be sucked in by new companies offering amazing deals, discounts, and introductory offers. New strata maintenance providers are unestablished and don’t tend to have the infrastructure and process management to implement large strata maintenance contracts.
Search for a provider which has been in the industry for a few years and come with solid references. Ask them how they are innovating and servicing strata buildings today and for the future when it comes to sustainability, their green goals and waste disposal.
Ideally, you want an established strata maintenance team which will bring both experience and a drive to do things better.
- NSW: Q&A Are windows strata responsibility – cleaning and repairs
- NSW: Taming Keyboard Warriors – How to Deal With Unreasonable Strata Communications
This information is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
This post appears in Strata News #274.
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