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Maintenance Solutions

Introduction

Maintenance should never be a major issue in the management of a residential complex. It certainly is not in the minds of residents when they first buy their units: Which is why so much dissension results when unexpected maintenance costs are forced on residents, particularly if special levies have to be introduced.

The Body Corporate

The Body Corporates of most residential complexes, as it should, consists of ordinary people who are residents within the complex. Unfortunately they usually have little or no expertise in the maintenance of their complexes. The consequence is that maintenance issues are often only dealt with when things go wrong. This in turn results in repair costs that are much higher than would have been the case had the problems been proactively detected and repaired earlier.

The Developer

In the current economic climate more and more developers skimp and cut corners in order to maximize profits, the resulting problems often only manifesting once their guarantees have expired. The benefits of an expert and independent analysis of all the construction aspects, or lack thereof, of the complex at an early stage is therefore obvious.

The Management Company

The third important player in the scenario, the Management Company, more often than not unwittingly inherits the supervision of the problems created by the above. The result is that an inordinate amount of time is spent managing consequences that could have been prevented.

Security

A major reason for people wishing to live within a Residential Complex is security. It is our opinion that the major threat to this perceived security lies with the workers of the contractors employed to work within the Complex.

It is a feature of the construction industry in South Africa that most of the staff employed are usually casual labour picked up in the near vicinity of the work being performed, and employed for the duration of the contract only. Few, if any, of the contractors employed to work in Residential Complexes ever bother to check whether these casual workers even have a valid identification or work permit, let alone investigate their references and determine where they actually live. It is simply too easy to fire an incompetent casual labourer and hire another than to bother with these essential details.

What makes these casual workers even more high-risk is the low wages contractors pay them in order to survive in this highly competitive market. Add to this that fact that they are essentially unemployed, and the temptation for such a worker to indulge in criminal acts within the Complex for his own account, must be enormous.

It is an anomaly that Complex Security will spend time assessing low-risk visitors, but will essentially ignore the high-risk labourers of contractors entering the Complex. Added to this, very few Complexes have any mechanism in place to verify the authenticity of a stranger found within the Complex who claims to be employed by a contractor currently working there.

The Consumer Protection Act

An individual selling his own property does not fall under the act. However, it appears that an Agent selling a property does. This places an obligation on an Agent to point out all weaknesses in a property being sold to the prospective buyer, failing which the Agent could be held liable for all defects, visible as well as invisible. While a “Voetstoots” clause may cover a private seller in cases of visible defects, an Agent can no longer rely thereupon. Invisible or hidden defects are never covered by a “Voetstoots” clause. Bottom line is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to market a badly maintained property.

Protection Of Investment Values

Investing in a home is the biggest investment most people will ever make. Nothing is guaranteed to lower the investment values of individual Units within a Residential Complex faster than poor maintenance. It is a fact that it only takes bad maintenance of one prominent feature, or one or two individual Units, to jeopardize the investment values of all Unit Owners within the Complex.

Advantages of a Long-Term Maintenance Agreement

 

  • Proactively plan and budget for most aspects of essential maintenance
  • Easier to structure and justify levies
  • Limit unexpected large capital expenditures
  • Spread large capital expenditures over a period of time
  • Better quality control with single contractor
  • Ease workload of Property Portfolio Manager
  • Free Body Corporate members to concentrate of Complex Management issues
  • Obtaining quotations,
  • Awarding small contracts and
  • Contractors having to schedule unforeseen work
  • More economical than awarding small individual maintenance jobs
  • Eliminations of costs associated with multiple small quotations
  • Contractor can plan better and therefore cut costs
  • Reduces security risks
  • Less chance of residents making unauthorised alterations
  • Improved security to other residents to use known contractors
  • Consistency of work & recourse when problems occur
  • Regular maintenance has less impact on levies
  • Protection of the investment value of the Units in the Complex
  • More direct control by Body Corporate and Portfolio Manager over maintenance
  • Prompt execution of emergency maintenance
  • Avoid time-delays associated with
  • Cut maintenance costs
  • Many obvious advantages in building a relationship with a single contractor
  • Reduce security risks with less contractors
  • Company with expert knowledge
  • Free expert advice on maintenance
  • Preferential reaction to emergency repairs
  • Able to balance work and unexpected costs over a period of time
  • Quality and guaranteed workmanship
  • Security-cleared and identifiable staff
  • Pre-approved and known sub-contractors
  • Better chance that owners will use Prior Maintenance for private work on their Units
  • Better control over uniformity and quality of work throughout the complex

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Contact Details:

Address: PostNet 436 Private Bag X121
Midrand, Gauteng
Phone: 076 191 8880
Skype: prior-maintenance
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Email: Daniel@PriorM.co.za
Email: info@PriorM.co.za