Thriving in the Next Normal: Effective Post COVID-19 Maintenance

Interview with Programmed

What can strata managers expect with regards to maintenance in a post-COVID-19 environment and how can they effectively address these?

Any implementation of maintenance going forward must provide strata managers with a framework for support, flexibility and long-term sustainability.

Even when restrictions ease, the way maintenance is carried out while on-site will change to incorporate on-going physical distancing, health and safety procedures, protocols and requirements. Maintenance providers must clearly outline the COVID-safe manner which works will be performed to give strata managers and their customers peace of mind.

Programmed provides strata managers a clearly outlined Pandemic and Safety Management Plan to address COVID-19. This is in conjunction with our robust health and safety framework that underpins our business.

Understandably, there will be some uncertainty and nervousness post COVID-19. We are respectful of concerns, particularly for residents and work collaboratively with each strata manager, giving them the flexibility to tailor maintenance to their preferred approach and ensure maintenance continues to be relevant to current circumstances.

Programmed will continue to work with strata managers to continually review maintenance plans, reassessing any long term programmes to ensure they stay competitive, affordable and aligned with changes in the market or customer needs. We will always support our customers, and can help them implement appropriate payment programs should they experience difficulties as a result of the environment.

Do you foresee cost-cutting as inevitable? How can maintenance continue in such situations?

Rather than cut costs and cancel maintenance – as this has a long-term impact and expense if maintenance or any planned work is not carried out – strata managers can help strata schemes find flexible and affordable means of implementing maintenance.

We’ve seen many strata managers realise success by adopting a planned approach towards longterm maintenance. They combine a building audit to identify and prioritise work, outline on-going maintenance initiatives in the form of an instituted 3, 5, or even 7- year maintenance programme to keep buildings in good condition, and conduct regular inspections to proactively address issues before they become expensive problems needing extensive repair and replacement. This proper coordination of works means all required maintenance addressed in due course.

The longer maintenance work is postponed, often, the more costly it becomes. Putting off maintenance presents greater risk potentially; especially with people likely to spend more time in their facilities with increased flexible work arrangements. In instances of unaddressed safety requirements, this could result in injury, leading to far greater losses in terms of reputation, goodwill and property values.

Consistent maintenance, when done well, generally ensures buildings remain safe and in good condition which in turn supports an extension of the asset’s lifespan and the resale value. Without maintenance and less investment, strata owners may face ongoing reduced rental yields and owner occupiers significantly impacted returns on investment over time.

How else can strata managers ensure successful strata maintenance?

Astute strata managers understand the importance of partnering with reliable maintenance providers. They carefully select providers who can assure them of the capability to see the job through, whether that be a one-off job or a long-term maintenance contract. Quality of work is important, and a proven track record of delivery equally critical.

If there is an economic downturn post COVID-19, strata managers must be especially vigilant. It is common – and unfortunate – to encounter some providers who will cut corners in difficult times. So, Strata’s should make certain their specifications for works and clearly outline in detail what is included and excluded from scope of works.

Strata Managers also want to ensure their effective return to business post-COVID-19.

In addition to their responsibilities to their strata schemes, they have an overarching focus on business growth, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. To be free to do this with confidence, strata managers can partner with reliable and trusted providers able to deliver essential services – such as maintenance – on their behalf.

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