Building Managers are sometimes referred to as caretakers, facilities managers or resident unit managers (RUMs). They are vital for managing the day-to-day operational management of the building and facilities. Building Managers work on site and can sometimes have a dedicated office.
A Building Managers role is quite different to that of a Body Corporate Manager.
Building Manager Responsibilities
Whilst each contract is different as specific to each Strata Scheme, generally they will include:
- Coordinate and oversee regular building and grounds maintenance and repairs
- Manage and directing cleaning/security staff
- Preparing and carrying out emergency protocols and procedures
- Maintaining a safe environment for building occupants and visitors
- Prepare and monitor maintenance budgets
- Negotiating and liaising with third-party service providers
- Conducting regular building inspections and preparing reports
- Ensuring facilities are in compliance with applicable policies, regulations and building codes
The Building Manager runs a business that is commonly known as “management rights”. Terms that are defined under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, which apply to a Building Manager are:
“Management Rights” –
- The letting agent business for the Scheme (including the letting authorization), and
- The business conducted by the letting agent under a service contract for the scheme, and
- The letting agent’s interest in a Scheme Lot used in conducting the business, and
- Any right of the letting agent to use and occupy part of the common property for the business.
- “letting agent” – is a person authorized by the Body Corporate to conduct a letting agent business for the lots in the community titles scheme.
- “service contractor” – is a person (other than an employee) who provides services for the lots or common property under a contract with the Body Corporate of one year or longer
The management rights business has two aspects to it, both of which come from contractual privileges, rights and responsibilities with the Body Corporate. The contract form must comply with strict requirements. The Body Corporate enters into a contract with the Building Manager to either preform or to supervise the caretaking of the common property. Caretaking usually involves maintenance style services. For these services the Body Corporate will pay the Building Manager in accordance with the contract.
Secondly, the Body Corporate authorises the Building Manager the right to run an on-site letting business for the owners that wish to take advantage of this service.
These duties are entirely different to the function performed by SSKB. SSKB provides administration services for the Body Corporate. SSKB is a “Body Corporate Manager”.
Duration of Building Manager’s Contract
The maximum duration of the Building Manager’s contract will depend upon the Regulation Module that applies to the Scheme. For those under the Standard Module 10 years, Accommodation Module 25.
Building Manager’s Role
The services provided by the Building Manager are specified in the contract between the Building Manager and the Body Corporate. Usually, they include duties such as maintaining the garden, mowing lawns, cleaning, lifts, lobbies, changing light bulbs, and overseeing refuse collection.
The Building Manger also plays an important role in confirming work has been done (to the standard required) by the other Body Corporate contractors and service providers and authorizing accounts as suitable for payment. Although the Building Manager’s letting business arises from an agreement with the Body Corporate, it is not within the power of the Body Corporate to monitor the performance of this service, as letting of lots is a contractual agreement directly between the Building Manager and owner of the rental lot.
Building Manager’s Report to the Committee
The Building Manager’s report to the Committee is an important part of the Committee meeting. As the Building Manager is both the eyes are the ears of the Body Corporate on-site, it is essential for the Committee to be kept up to speed with cleaning, maintenance and by-law issues. To achieve maximum effectiveness, circulate a written report along with the meeting notice.
Assignment of the Management Rights
From time to time there will be a request from the incumbent Building Manager for the Body Corporate to consent to the assignment of the management rights from that Building Manager to another. The assignment of the management rights is an event that is contemplated by both the Body Corporate and Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 and the management rights agreement between the Body Corporate and the Building Manager. The Committee are involved in this process and SSKB can provide assistance on this as the need arises.
Committees Working with their Resident Manager
Successful Body Corporates have a solid foundation of a Building Manager who maintains the common property to a high standard in conjunction with a good working relationship with a pro-active Committee supported, by an experienced Body Corporate Manager. Clear communication and understanding who does what is paramount.
Top Tips for Building Managers Working with Committees:
- Have a thorough understanding of what duties your contract contains.
- Raise issues and suggestions for change with your Committees.
- Having a designated contact on the Committee streamlines Communication.
- Take the time to effort to develop rapport and respect with Owners.
- Have an understanding of the Body Corporate legislation that relates to you, and all relevant workplace health and safety obligations.
- Complete duties as required in your contract.
- Hold open and collaborative discussion when disputes arise.