Strata managers v Building managers







Who does what?

SCA (NSW) is a fantastic independent organisation committed to serving the strata community through excellence.  We supporter SCA's commitment to the strata industry as we identify their harmonious approach to strata communities.

Strata Community Australia (SCA) provide a range of services to the strata communities through its strong ethical standards.

Check out this great article to learn about "who does what" in the world of strata, click here


Not Just Your Average Building Management Company
















The Conscious Building Manager

LUNA was founded on the commitment to do right by people, communities, and the future of buildings. As Managing Director, my optimism for a bright future is what inspired me to cultivate a team of Building and Facilities Managers keen to add value to these three elements.

At LUNA, we believe that a well run, valued-centred business not only improves the experience for its customers, it can potentially influence the thoughts and behaviours of those within its reach to benefit the wider community, and ultimately, society as a whole. The aim with LUNA was to create a business that was going to make a positive difference to people, their homes, and their investments - not just for the present - for the entirety of their existence.

While visiting the States recently, I came across the popular Whole Foods franchise, (I recommend reading ‘Conscious Capitalism’ by Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey). Here was a business where the objectives were both relevant and of value to all that chose to engage with it, and their philosophy also resonated strongly within me:

“A force that enhances the health and wellbeing of all. A company that will outgrow me.” 

Let Down By Her Community








Let down by her Community

It's heartbreaking when the elderly cannot rely on their community for help.

When we enter life on this planet, we don't have a choice but to trust our parents or guardians to protect us, keep us alive. Likewise, when we reach an advanced stage of life. We become just as fragile and need to be able to trust the community we have invested in for support and to keep us safe.

My family and I are deeply saddened about the circumstances of a partially blind elderly woman found dead in Auckland, N.Z after allegedly barricading herself in her bedroom in fear of eviction. It struck our hearts as we felt it was an unnecessary death as a result of a Strata Resident battling with Body Corporate over rising repair costs and building work delays.

"I'm still in siege mode here," she wrote in an email to a Home Owners Association.

"Still no word from anyone as to what's going on. But I guess something's going to happen, just when and how I don't know."

A legal order was given to the Body Corporate to seize the elderly lady's home. At the time of reporting police hadn’t confirmed the cause of death as the case has been referred to the Coroner.

Backflow Devices Saves Lives

When it comes to safety, knowledge is everything, and fortunately there is a wealth of information about RPZD's (Reduced Pressure Zone Device), AKA backflow prevention devices, available at our fingertips.

Similar to a component of a Fire Protection System in a commercial or multi-story building, an RPZD has the potential to save lives or, at least, minimise serious harm to people. It is understandable that regional and local water authorities have made it mandatory to have them installed into new build buildings with water meters larger than 25mm (medium to high hazard). Some authorities have taken the step to serve owners with a 'notice to comply' to install backflow devices retrospectively at their cost. 

A backflow prevention device eliminates the potential of a cross-connection within a property between potable water and any source of contamination that can cause harm or even fatal injuries. This can occur when the water mains is at a lower pressure than the internal plumbing system causing back siphonage. Examples of where this may occur are during a burst water main, excessive water demand, and sometimes during firefighting operations.

Owners are responsible for organising a Licenced Plumber (RPZD accredited) to assess, install, and maintain their backflow prevention devices. Plumbers are also responsible for advising property owners of their backflow requirements and for installing correctly rated backflow prevention device in-line with their needs, and in accordance with the current 3500 AS/NZS Standards. All RPZD's are required to be registered, tested yearly and test results submitted to their local water authority using an online lodgement system.

Water Corporations/Authorities may inspect properties to ensure ongoing compliance with Backflow Prevention obligations are met. Failure to maintain a backflow device will result in the serving of a non-compliance notice to the property owner or occupier.

For lower hazardous situations,  Vacuum Breakers or  Dual Check Valves are suitable backflow prevention devices that attach to hose taps to prevent back siphonage in contaminated areas. These devices may be used on hose connections in pool areas, garbage/waste rooms, grease trap enclosures, laboratory sinks, etc.

If you are unsure of your obligations, it is always better to be safe and ask you plumber to assess your properties backflow prevention requirements. I have seen many developments with existing RPZD's that have been forgotten about, so it is also worth asking your plumber to investigate if there are existing devices that need to be put back onto your maintenance program.

Building A Positive Strata Community

Tips on how to build a positive Strata Community

Building a positive community is looking beyond yourself and your close circle of family and friends.  We need to be little more tribal in the sense that we can have better success in numbers for health, security, and overall well-being.  It's the building blocks of how we survived and thrived historically as humans. 

I will start by sharing something special witnessed by many over the weekend.  The multi-talented, yet humble, sportsman Sonny Bill Williams' star shone when he demonstrated a random act of kindness.  Moments after the gold medal presentation for his Rugby World Cup win with the All Blacks, he is seen passing on his medal to a young All Blacks fan.  Williams gave the boy his medal after security had tackled him for running on to the pitch seeking an autograph.

Do you need a Building Manager?

Building Managers are essential.

"Having both a good strata manager and a building manager will ultimately secure a better return on your investment," managing director of Luna Management, Dino Biordi said. 

"Your home - usually your biggest investment - is far too valuable not to be managed by professionals who have your best interests at heart and can save you heartache and money.  

"A building cannot operate optimally without a strong, cohesive strata and building management team. While the owners corporation give the overall direction, the strata and building manager's functions are both critical and fundamental to the operational success of any building development."

Take a look at the full article @ Stratalive 

Pre approving contractors is essential


Using reliable, trustworthy, and cost-effective service providers does not guarantee a thorough vetting process if that doesn't also include a Work Health & Safety (WHS) audit.

Having a current Approved Contractor's List (also known as a Service Provider's List), is an important resource for building and facilities managers. A properly managed list ensures service providers can be enlisted effectively in the event of urgent work. 

As building managers handle health, safety and welfare of all occupants, visitors and workers in common spaces within a building, it is imperative they undergo a pre-approval process. A good WHS management system will include a pre-approval process that aims to make all service providers acutely aware of their responsibilities regarding maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. It is a requirement for building managers, on behalf of the owners corporation, to ensure all service providers meet the current health, safety and environmental regulations and standards.

Parking within a strata scheme

Building Managers need to clearly communicate to Owners; by-laws are there to protect everyone's best interests.

Owners or occupants wishing to park their car on common property (i.e. visitor parking, etc.) must seek prior approval from the Executive Committee. The written request will then be voted on at an Executive Committee meeting.

Understandably, with an undersupply of car spaces within strata schemes, requests are declined in most cases.  This is exacerbated by greater numbers of vehicles on our roads today.

What to expect from the upcoming Strata law reforms in New South Wales

As an apartment owner, it is of utmost importance for you to keep updated with any changes made to the existing Strata law. The legislature in New South Wales has been considering Strata law reforms for quite a while, which are about to materialise in Strata Schemes Development Bill 2015 and Strata Schemes Management Bill 2015. The Strata Title laws in the state that go back 50 years needed reform due to various factors. These include the growing housing trends, apart from consumer protection and affordability concerns, which are largely true for other parts of Australia as well. The legislature in Western Australia is also incorporating some amendments to its Strata Title Act of 1985.

Recently, the enforcement of the legislation has been reported to be delayed until July 2016. Nevertheless, this should not stop apartment owners from preparing for what these amendments could have in store for them, and to voice their feedback in time.

There are quite a few changes that are most likely to occur when the reform law is put into effect.

Greater Tenant Representation 
One of the foremost things to look forward to is far better tenant participation in the decision making around the property by being able to send an elected member to the corporation’s meetings. However, the tenants would not have the voting right unless authorised. Furthermore, modern communication methods, such as email, electronic records, and virtual conferencing, are being introduced to ensure improved participation in strata schemes.

By-Law Changes 
Some of the by-law changes expected in the bills would improve the living experience of the occupying owners, such as loosening the restrictions on keeping pets and to require corporations to address issues such as noise. While there are several concessions in the reform bills for the owner corporations, there are also provisions for greater penalties for non-compliance, as well as action against overcrowding and abusing visitor parking space.

Loosening Renovation Approval Regulations 
Residence owners would be able to make minor renovation and cosmetic changes facilitated by easy approvals provided for by the legislation. However, more substantial changes would require more deliberation, as external renovation would need a general resolution, and structural changes would require a special resolution to pass.

Occupier Protection in Sale and Renewal Contracts 
The new proposed reforms are more likely to protect elderly and other vulnerable owners in terms of occupation, as strata sale and renewal agreements would require owners to wind jointly up the strata scheme. In addition to the requirement of no less than 75% of owner support within 12 months, the renewal plans would be referred to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Improved Building Condition and Maintenance
The new provisions in the legislation about Strata Title and Management would make it much easier to point out early defects in the building. These measures include the requirement of submission of building inspection reports from independent experts and lodging bonds for high-rise apartments for two years.

Dispute Resolution 
A critical area of reform in the Strata Act is going to be dispute resolution. The reform legislation is expected to vest more power in Civil and Administration Tribunal for the purpose. The tribunal would be able to enforce several restrictions over corporation committees. Restrictions include the removal of members, forcing elections and votes on certain issues, reducing committee powers on certain matters, and heavier fines for non-compliance.

Overall, the proposed reforms are going to mean much greater accountability for developers and corporations. The reforms are also likely to offer better protection of ownership and occupation, as well as far greater control over the living conditions by the tenants. Make sure that you follow every little detail to know how the new legislation will affect your strata management.  Contact your Strata Manager to learn more.

More information about the Bill found here.