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Makeover for Buildings

Wednesday, 21st May 2014

Buildings, like all of us, age and show signs of wear and tear.

When we need a ‘makeover’ we go to the hairdresser, the beautician or the plastic surgeon. When a strata complex needs ‘work’, professional help should also be sought.

Such projects may include:

  •          Remedying building defects, either under a Home Owner Warranty claim or through the original builder
  •          Major renovations such as common area refurbishments
  •          Upgrading or introducing electronic access control systems and CCTV
  •          Facade repairs, including remedial work, painting and window replacements.

In a strata complex many stakeholders must be considered because major works will impact all of them in varying degrees. They include:

  •        Owners and tenants
  •        Property managers
  •        Service providers who regularly attend the complex
  •        Council and other statutory authorities, and
  •        Strata managers

Tony Irvine from Irvine Strata specialises in managing major projects, and says experience counts in such critical work. In the last four years he has managed:

  •          4 Home Owners Warranty claims and defect projects totalling $6m
  •          3 façade repair and repaint projects
  •          9 access control system implementations
  •          5 CCTV implementations
  •          4 garden refurbishments, and
  •          4 interior foyer refurbishments

“There is a strong advantage having a strata manager with project management experience to manage all aspects of the work,” said Tony, “and the earlier an Owners Corporation brings them ‘on board’ the better.” 

A strata manager with project experience will understand:

The dynamics of the various stakeholders

  •          The legal framework of the Act and how approvals from owners must be gained
  •          The statutory approval process where Council is involved
  •          The budgeting and financial management of the project
  •          The contractual obligations and commercial negotiation
  •          The impact on residents’ day-to-day lives
  •          The common property nuances of the building
  •          The communication framework needed to keep stakeholders informed on the project milestones and access requirements

Tony says at a practical level, the types of questions a strata project manager will seek answers for are:

  •         Do I have Owners Corporation approval to carry out the work?
  •         How will I fund the work?
  •         How will it impact the common property (eg loss of visitors’ car spaces)?
  •         How will it impact residents?
  •         Will I need access, and for how long?
  •         How is it best to communicate what will be happening to all the people impacted?
  •         Is there other work that logically make sense to do on the building before or after this project?

“A Project Plan is a crucial document that we prepare to control all aspects of the tasks to be undertaken,” said Tony, who at any one time can have one-quarter of his buildings undergoing major works.

“We capture all information, approvals, communication, financial, contracts and stakeholder details. It is highly detailed, and extends to things as simple as the colour of the paint to be used on the doors, walls, ceilings and architraves.”

Tony says the Five Key Points to successfully managing building works are:s

1.      Use a detailed Project Plan

2.      Use experienced contractors who understand the dynamics of strata

3.      Regular communication with all stakeholders

4.      Visit the project site regularly – at least once a week, and

5.      Accept that all the elements in play won’t go according to plan – be flexible and pragmatic.

“Astute owners know the importance of maintaining their strata building, and ensuring it is done correctly by using strata managers with proven project management experience.”

For more information visit or contact Tony on 9264 9401.



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