Often times people move to the Gold Coast looking to retire but end up being busier than ever – and that’s certainly the case for Bernd Liczywek, body corporate treasurer at Chevron Renaissance on the Gold Coast.
There’s not one, but three buildings totalling 713 lots to administer and a lot more work than originally anticipated, but Bernd’s methodical approach to business and management is making all the difference.
His career as Australasia managing director for a major multinational specialty steel manufacturer, and senior management postings in New York and Paris, has given him plenty of experience to help steer a body corporate committee, but he didn’t jump into a committee role straight away.
“Although I’ve been treasurer for three years, my wife Helga and I have been living here for nine and a half years since we moved up from Melbourne. Before that Surfers Paradise was a holiday home for us,” he said.
“I wanted to get a better understanding of the buildings, and how the committee worked, so I simply attended the meetings for many years before I stood for the executive committee.”
That time meant that Bernd was fully aware of Chevron Renaissance’s needs – and just as importantly, what work had to be done to ensure the buildings are in the best possible order.
“There have been some challenges,” he said. “Unfortunately the developer left a few things undone or were not done as well as they should have been at the time. This has been a process of discovery over time and of course, these issues need to be attended to.
“That means explaining to the owners why levies have gone up more than CPI and managing their disappointment in that regard. In order to control costs, two and three year firm price contracts are being negotiated.”
It also means extra work for Bernd and the rest of the committee. Instead of meeting every three months, this proactive group meets every two weeks, for sometimes four hours at a stretch to systematically identify and address the repairs and maintenance required.
Attending these meetings is SSKB Community Manager Katie Todd, general manager of the Gold Coast team.
“The committee is a close knit group who are now working with an excellent building manager and I’m there to advise on the legislative requirements and make sure the right motions are made for the emergency work to be carried out,” said Katie.
“Since the developer went broke, it has become the responsibility of the body corporate to carry out these repairs and the committee have done an outstanding job in making sure the rectification work is done including addressing any associated public liability issues.”
Despite those challenges, Bernd and Helga love the central Surfers location and the convenience – shops, restaurants, a chemist and more are close by.
They knew living in the heart of Surfers Paradise was going to be a little noisier, but the energy and charm of the city more than makes up for it. So do the views from their north-east facing apartment on the 20th floor, although Bernd is not that fond of heights.
“Another reason I like Chevron Renaissance is the beach pool is on the fifth floor, so it feel like I’m not so high up!” he jokes.
“Besides, going up to one of the top floors might give you spectacular panoramic views but it’s so high up that you’re isolated from the people on the ground.”