Communication Program Delivering Peace of Mind for Apartment Residents

It is every apartment owners’ worst nightmare – the urgent need for remedial building work on their strata complex.

The recent devastating cases of the Opal Tower at Homebush and the Mascot Towers in Sydney’s south have sent a chill down the spine of everyone who has invested in an apartment.

When presented with building issues, it is easy for owners to look the other way.

However, as sure as the sun rises from the east in the morning, building defects left for another day will only get worse over time. And in some cases, a lot worse, leading to even more costly repairs.

Finding the right builder with the skills to do the job is paramount.

That means a builder with a strong track record of managing remedial work.

One that can not only fix the defects but ensure there are no other issues lurking below the surface.

Wayne Cheshire is one person who has lived and breathed a remedial project, acting as a strata representative.

He said it was critical to have representatives that can carefully select a builder with the right skills.

Wayne says the Strata Committee formed a project sub-committee including people with deep knowledge of the industry and project management.

“We knew Paynter Dixon has been around for a very long time in the building industry,” he said.

“Believe me when we interviewed them, they got a real grilling, but they came back with all the right answers.”

He said the project, which included remediation work on fire services and bathrooms, was a complex one.

“The key for us was to get the work done with a minimum of disruption to residents,” he said.

Poor communication skills often rank highly when owners and occupiers rate their strata manager.

When it comes to building work in a strata complex, sometimes communication runs a poor second to the work program.

But a key objective of keeping everyone informed ensures the remedial work can proceed on time and on budget.

Afterall delays mean money. And for owners, the thought of workers trudging through their home is only slightly less daunting than the work itself.

“Communication (with residents) was one of the biggest issues,” Wayne said.

“How were we going to manage work to ensure minimal disruption?”

Paynter Dixon Remedial employs a residents’ liaison person to support the project manager implement a comprehensive communication plan.

Marija Petrovska, Paynter Dixon Remedial’s client liaison representative on the job, said the client liaison manager role on the project was critical to its success.

It is a simple but highly effective process.

“The client liaison representative acts a middle-man, liaising with all the stakeholders including the residents,” Marija said.

“What happens is with that extra resource you have someone who can reach out to residents and answers all their questions, including scheduling, apartment access and noisy works.

“It also ensures the building program can continue without interruptions.

“To achieve this, it is so important that all residents understand what is happening every step of the way.”

Marija said assisting residents when work is being undertaken is a vital component of the liaison process.

“Simple things like helping them protect their belongings is really important,” she said.

“For example, remediation works in a bathroom is very labour intensive, particularly when work starts on ripping out tiles, removing waterproofing and grinding the floors back.

“Communicating the process to the directly affected resident, but also those living nearby makes the process a lot easier.’’

For Wayne, he is a convert when it comes to a highly developed, communication program.

Wayne said residents’ concerns were quickly addressed.

“It was seamless, and we got a complex job done with minimal disruption.”

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