Did you know neglected maintenance can pose as a threat for the financial future of your body corporate and jeopardises the health and safety of residents and visitors?

Across three continents Solutions in Engineering strongly push managers of Unit Titles and Incorporated Schemes to make maintenance planning a priority. The future of your buildings lies in how well it is funded and completing maintenance on time and every time. Not only will you be preserving the largest assets of your clients, you will actually be making these buildings much easier for you to manage. Less phone calls about leaks, less calls and emails about gardens, less emails about the fence falling over.  And we all know that happy committees are far more likely to sign a new agreement with you come time to review.

How do you convince a committee to complete a Long-Term Maintenance Plan when they currently have so many remedial projects on the go?

You can tell a committee that the lack of planning they did five and ten years ago is the reason they currently have so much remedial work on the go and so many special levies for owners to cough up. What’s important now is ensuring, five, ten years from now they do not have history repeat itself. Allowing a committee to prepare and complete their own LTMP is a recipe for disaster. A money tight committee looking to save money with no real idea on building material lifecycles, is certainly not a building I would be comfortable living in. We saw the unfortunate collapse of a residential building in Miami last year with investigations underway into the failed duty of care that left 98 dead.

It is now very well appreciated that a lack of proactive maintenance leads to numerous building defects and consequently requires more trades to rectify. A fantastic example, relevant to nearly every body corporate is painting. If not done when recommended, painting (the essential waterproofing coating of your buildings) will deteriorate and allow water to penetrate the superstructure of the building. When water gets into the concrete and to the reinforced steel bars within, concrete spawling/ cancer begins. And just like that, laziness and a lack of proactive maintenance has now jeopardised the structural integrity of your building.   

Unfortunately, through our line of work, we see this each and every day. What originally would have just taken a painter with a brush, is now a remedial project that will involve engineers, builders, concreters and certifiers. Some of the best managers I have seen in Australasia are those that ensure their committees are following the legislative requirement to forecast maintenance, preventing the Body Corporate falling into disrepair. Once a building fails its maintenance obligations, it is often then that a myriad of safety hazards arise. The driveway cracking leads to tripping hazards. The rotten fence is unstable. The overgrown gardens make reversing out of the driveway difficult. At night, 90 % of the lights are out. All these scenarios pose a huge safety hazard to residents and visitors within a body corporate and if an injury or death were to occur, these would feature as key factors in a court inquiry.   Always remember, a body corporate is a PCBU and consequently has obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act as well as the Unit Titles Act. These obligations are only made that much harder to fulfill when a body corporate is lax with its maintenance obligations as well.

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