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What does a facilities manager do for your off plan property?

July 20, 2021

First time owning a strata title property? Or the latest in a string of investment properties? Either way, you already know that strata is quite different from other forms of ownership.

The good news is that strata properties come with a team of professionals. Facilities manager are one of the MVPs. They work hand in hand with your strata manager to help protect and maintain your strata title property.

Why is maintenance so important? It helps to:

  • Maintain and increase the value of your property
  • Avoid costly repairs down the track
  • Attract great tenants
  • Offer a pleasant and safe living environment

We spoke to Joanne Jackson, General Manager of Independent Property Group Facilities Management, to find out what a facilities manager does and how they can help you.

Case study: Sandy

Sandy is a first home owner and lives alone in her new strata title apartment. Her job as a fashion consultant means that she often gets home from work after dark. The facilities manager in her building checks that pathways and corridors are well lit, fixes trip hazards and keeps the building in good condition. Knowing that someone keeps an eye on the building and checks for forced entry helps her feel secure. He's even helped her bring in her shopping!

Taking a holistic approach to maintenance

A facilities manager works on-site so they get to know your building better than anyone else. That allows them to take a wholistic view of the maintenance required.

“It’s a role that requires attention to detail,” says Joanne. “Our building managers are on site all the time, so they treat the complex like it’s their own home. It’s all about picking up those little issues and finding solutions before they have a big impact.”

Case study: Miriam and John

With three teenage children and two full-time jobs, life is very busy for investors Miriam and John. They don't have time to deal with trades and other issues, so at the last executive committee meeting they proposed hiring a facilities manager. The facilities manager created a schedule of works and presented it to the owners corporation and strata manager. This has allowed Miriam and John to plan their budget and enjoy peace of mind that the development is being well cared for.

Making repairs and liaising with trades

Minor repairs can be dealt with on the spot. “If it doesn't need a specialist, we’ll take care of it as part of our normal duties.”

Things like cracked or lifted pavers, minor patching jobs on walls, or a leaking tap in the common area can be fixed promptly. No more wasting extra time and money on calling out trades—or, worse, the fault being left to sit there and deteriorate.

Where repairs do need a trade, facilities managers can take the load. They’ll:

  • Organise quotes or deal directly with preferred suppliers
  • Be there to give the tradesperson access so that owners don't have to take time off work
  • Explain the job and assess whether the proposed repair is appropriate
Ensuring compliance

Facilities managers ensure that trades are complying with safe work practices. These might include:

  • Compliant safety equipment
  • Proper licensing
  • Correctly accessing high-risk areas.

If the trade isn’t compliant and an accident occurs, liability insurance might not payout, so it's a high-stakes situation.

Trades aren't the only ones who need to comply with legislation. There are several codes and standards that apply to developments, which can be hard for an owner's corporation to keep up with. Non-compliance might mean your building insurance is null and void.

“Our building managers deal with all the service contractors to make sure that buildings meet compliance and safety standards,” explains Joanne. “There is a huge range of assets to monitor, from making sure that fire equipment works to ensuring that evacuation access paths are clear. We keep abreast of all of that and provide monthly reports to the owners so that they know their building is in the best possible condition.”

Her team checks:

  • The doors to the fire isolated stairwell are kept closed
  • Fire extinguishers are tagged and operational
  • Pathways are clear of debris
  • Emergency phones work
Acting as a consultant

One way to think of a facility manager is as an interpreter. Does a ‘second fix’ sound like something to be scored down a dark alley? Not sure what’s flush and what’s flashing? Having a specialist on board can help.

A facilities manager can explain complex regulations and standards. When repairs are needed, they can also help you understand what’s required and why it's important.

“We try and add value as much as we can,” Joanne says. “That way we’re offering the best service possible. For example, we’ll educate owners and tenants on how to dispose of waste, so we don’t have debris and rubbish building up. Or we might audit the security features of the complex and suggest ways to address any weak points. So much of what we do is behind the scenes, but you’d notice if it didn’t get done.”

Facilities and strata management: working hand in hand

Every owner in a strata title property belongs to the owner's corporation. Both the strata manager and the facilities manager work for the owner's corporation, but they also work together.

The bottom line: what's in it for you

Your property is an asset, whether it pays you a rental income or you live in it while building equity for the future. By making sure that it is well maintained, you will:

  • Help it increase in value so you can leverage the equity when you come to relocating or buying an investment property
  • Attract tenants who care about a well-maintained property and be motivated to care for it themselves
  • Enjoy living somewhere safe and attractive that you can be proud of
  • Save on upkeep by attending to issues before they worsen and become expensive to fix

Joanne and her team are here to help. “Our Building Managers assist in maintaining the exterior and common areas of the complex you have purchased in. That allows the owner to focus on maintaining their own investment in the complex, whether that’s a unit, apartment, or townhouse. We understand that a purchase like this is significant.”   

To learn more about what to look for in a facilities manager and what questions to ask read on. If you’re considering engaging a facilities manager to help you protect your investment, get in touch with your strata manager who can recommend a trusted professional like Laing+Simmons Facilities Management.

Get in touch

Got an inquiry, question or feedback? Drop us a line and our Strata Management team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Current owners please contact your Strata Manager. Our after hours phone line is contactable from 7am-10pm on weekdays and 8am-10pm on weekends.

02 6209 1515 (Reception)
0419 626 355 (After Hours)