NEWSLETTER    ISSUE 9   December 2012

We wish everyone seasons greetings  and best wishes for 2013.

In this issue we look at:

  • Strata Plan 80117 - recognition for it’s sustainable and harmonious living by SCA
  • How does the Bankstown fire affect you?

INDUSTRY AWARD WINNER - WHAT CO-OPERATION CAN ACHIEVE!

We are  proud  to  manage SP80117 in Regent Street,  Redfern.   This scheme of  103 mixed use lots,  have been recognized  by our industry  for  all it  has achieved for  its  owners and residents. It  has won the Strata  Community Award for Excellence as an Owners Corporation.

The committee has done a range of things to improve  the community mindedness  of the residents of this large complex.  Part of this, has been  by making  themselves available  via social  media  (eg a facebook  page)  thereby seeking  input by owners  and tenants alike,  regarding  issues  or suggestions,  which  are then reviewed  and  when implemented are undertaken within budget.

The committee has worked with City of Sydney Council  to achieve  sustainable  living  options which incorporates a community garden with planter beds throughout the complex where both flowers and vegetables are grown.

The sustainable  living options implemented  have been achieved  whilst not needing  to increase the scheme’s budget for 2 years. Government grants and rebates have been used to install systems that have saved the scheme money, allowing even more projects to be taken on to assist and benefit the residents.

Huge  savings  have  been  achieved  as most owners  in this large  scheme  have signed  up to receive  their notices of meetings via email.   We expect that, as we now  also  provide  levies  via email,  that they will  avail  themselves of this  option  also.   With the current  legal  requirement of all  owners  having  to receive  notice  of all  Executive agenda’s and minutes of Meetings  (in scheme’s of 100 lots or more) on top of the  AGM agenda  and minutes, the photocopying bill has been drastically reduced by their taking up this email option.

There  are many  other ideas  that owners  can  consider  to improve  their  scheme. Ideas that can make  it a caring community, achieve  cost savings  and utilise  sustainable  living  options.  If you wish to review  the full submission which made SP80117 the winner of this industry  Award, visit our blog and then follow the link.

THE BANKSTOWN FIRE – WHAT SHOULD EVERY  SCHEME REVIEW?

With one girl  sadly  deceased and  another  spending  considerable  time in hospital  recovering  from serious  injuries, there are many in the industry who not only wonder  where the fault(s) will  be found by the courts but it is also expected there will be a review of processes, such as occurred after Childers, which could affect  all multistory dwellings.

The following  are worth considering  by all schemes, in a bid to  avoid such potential pitfalls that may have caused  this dreadful  incident.   Whilst no doubt the insurers  will  pay for the loss of what was destroyed, it is quite possible  that charges will be brought against individuals, the committee, builder  or strata manager,  depending on what  is found to have gone wrong at Bankstown that day.  With a death, sometimes comes legal liability  and consequences.

Please consider if  any of  the following  may be an issue for  your scheme and rectify  it  without delay,  in order to remove any responsibility for loss of life or property as a result of your actions or inactions.

The media focused on the builder  and the query as to who installed  the atrium roof.  But it is also raises questions about why,  what seems to  be an illegal structure  installed post  the  strata  plan being registered, was it  not  noted by  anyone  as  illegal?  Many  parties  should  have  been  aware  this  was  not  part  of  the  original  design  approved  by council, starting with whomever authorised  it to be put there (builder,  manager,  committee members), and how did it come to be built without council being aware of it?

Were  the  fire  services  company  suitably  qualified  or  had  the  scheme  taken  the  cheapest  option  without  checking their  ability  to  do  the  job  properly?    Had  they  or  anyone  else  involved  issued  warnings  that  had  not  been  heeded?

Was  the  unit  door  propped  open,  or  was  the  door  closer  in  working  condition?  If  the  door  was  not  closed  -  either before  the  fire,  or  after  some  of  the  occupant(s)  left  when  the  fire  began  -  this  would  change  how  the  air  flow may have fanned the  fire.    Further  this could change how quickly it  got out  of  hand, thus  making it  more difficult to  escape  the  flames,  but  also  result  in  the  atrium  filling  with  smoke,  as  was  reported  in  the  media.    Fire  doors and  how  they  work  are  designed  by  the  fire  consultants  pre-construction.    If  not  maintained  or  are  propped  open, they do not work as intended.

Questions have been asked by  various people and  organisations  in the industry as  to  whether there were defects  with  the  fire  equipment.    The  building  seemed  to  be  relatively  new,  so  were  there  unaddressed  fire services  defects?  Furthermore  was  the  equipment  being  maintained?    When  was  the  equipment  last  certified  to be in working order?

It  is  extremely  important  that  when  repairs  to  fire  equipment  are  identified  by  the  scheme’s  fire  services  company, instructions  to  rectify  should  be  given  to  fix  these  without  delay.    Should  you  fail  to  do  so  –  and  there  is  a  fire  – then you as a committee member may be found liable. 

Care must be taken during renovations to 

  • ensure the unit door  and it’s frame is not damaged, and
  • any cover over the fire detectors is removed post building works
  • finally, that no damage is sustained to any of the fire services, including in the common areas.  This ensures all can  work as designed, when the property is occupied.

It  generally  takes  more  than  one  thing  to  go  wrong  for  the  outcome  of  a  fire  to  be  so  severe.    Everyone  plays  a part in making a building fire safe.

During  the  festive season please be  aware we  do  provide  emergency repair services to  look  after  you whilst  we  are  closed.    This  information  is  detailed  on  our  website  and  is  on  our  office  phone  number whenever we are closed throughout  the year.  It is included  as part of our services  to you and included in your management fee.