Maintenance is one of those concepts that usually attract polar opposites in terms of general philosophy. In the one camp are the preventative supporters, who understand that regular, on-going maintenance to a pre-arranged schedule is the best way to keep property in top condition and avoid future expense. In the other camp are the reactive types who believe that maintenance is a waste of money as the item will break down eventually, and money should be conserved and kept aside to replace it when this happens. In between is the voice of reason that says both sides are right to a certain degree.
In the world of strata management, both points of view have been accommodated by councils and bodies corporate establishing sinking funds for long-term, large scale repair and maintenance work like replacing a roof or painting an entire unit complex. At the same time, the importance of regular, on-going maintenance has also been recognised, and this is one of the tasks of a strata manager.
Regular building maintenance is designed to target specific areas, keep a check on how sections of the building are holding up under stresses such as abnormal weather events, and attend to problems while they are still small and localised. This is much more cost effective that letting a small problem, such as a loose roof tile, go unattended causing the entire roof to lift off during a severe wind.
Typical building maintenance tasks that would be arranged by a strata manager are regular inspections of the roof and any subsequent repairs, cleaning out guttering to prevent storm water overflow, arranging for the repair or replacement of cracked concrete or tiling in common areas, or repairing or painting fencing around the property. Any of these items, if left to deteriorate further, could not only cause further property damage, but cracked or damaged concrete or tiling in walkways constitutes a tripping hazard and could cause personal injury.
External electrics are another essential area that should be checked regularly by an electrician. Security lighting, light switches and fittings in places like a reception area for example, or flood lights in common areas, are all the types of maintenance targets that should be on a regular strata management schedule.
Attention should also be paid to structural things like brick screening walls which, if not checked for structural integrity have been known to collapse, sometimes with tragic consequences. The same would apply to timber pergolas and carports which may rot with age and become unsound. They may look solid, but only an inspection would identify if they would stand up to a strong wind.
In strata title situations, it is not just one householder who is responsible if anything happens as a result of poor building maintenance. It is all the unit owners, many of whom may be in absentia and relying on a manager to make decisions. Enacting a regular maintenance schedule is essential to looking after the interests of all owners.