This article about gaining control over your maintenance budget in Western Australia has been written by Greg McCulloch, Westside Fire Services.
To gain greater control of your maintenance budget the council of owners should nominate and train a responsible person to oversee all matters relating to each of major building services.
Is Your Building Maintenance and Repair Budget Never Enough?
Here are our top 9 tips for gaining control over your maintenance budget:
- Before appointing a maintenance company, the responsible person should familiarise themselves with the various types of systems in the building and the relevant Australian Standards. If you actively engage in the management of the building services, you are more likely to gain control over your budget.
- Contact at least three reputable companies for each building service, arrange a site inspection, review the prices, interview them and select who you are most comfortable working with.
- Remember that the lowest upfront price will not always result in less money been spent over the year. Ensure the price for routine maintenance includes all the usual consumables and confirm that if zero defects are found that no additional fees will be charged. Also, confirm if the service provider’s salespeople work on commission. If they do then be aware that their advice may be biased towards the oversupply of products and services!
- Confirm the call out charges for normal and after-hours visits. What do the callout charges include e.g. travel and one hour labour? What are the labour rates once the included labour has been used? What are the normal and after-hours time periods?
- Check the maintenance contract to confirm if repairs are included. You may not be locked into using the maintenance company. If you are concerned about the cost of repairs then obtain a price check from another reputable company.
- Closely liaise with the maintenance company to ensure that appropriate maintenance and servicing is being carried out. Australian Standards set a minimum criterion for the frequency of inspections – your systems may require more than the Standard to mitigate false alarms.
- Owners/occupiers have a duty of care to ensure building services are always operating effectively. Only reputable companies should be employed to maintain your systems. Modern building systems are complex in design; therefore, you need companies that have particular knowledge about the components, configuration and performance specifications of your systems.
- Implement an education program for all occupants of the premises to make them aware of the building’s systems, how they operate and what the common faults are. Ensure faults are investigated and quickly fixed. Ensure procedures are in place for managing contractors, maintenance workers and other visitors. They should be aware of the building’s systems and who is responsible for managing the systems during works.
- Most reputable companies have a customer portal that provides all the maintenance reports, repair quotations and a building health check report. They should also provide an asset register for each type of system. A maintenance logbook must be kept on-site and be available 24 hours a day. All of this documentation will assist the responsible person/s to assure the council of owners that their legal requirements are being met and allow an analysis of the budget to be undertaken.
This post appears in Strata News #302.
Have a question about gaining control over your maintenance budget or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
Please note this advice was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments and will be updated in due course.
- WA: False Fire Alarms – Top Tips to Avoid a Financial Penalty
- WA: Making Improvements to Common Areas in Strata
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, try here.