Tips to Improve Your Building
A majority of flat owners are unhappy as they struggle to improve or maintain their buildings. Not having enough knowledge means they end up frustrated.
So, where do you start? The answer is simple – by looking into the successful buildings’ processes. Seeing how well-maintained buildings are run by their managers and even those that are being managed by your own agent, will give you the head start with the process. However, this information is not easy to obtain.
JuxtaBlock, UK’s leading property management search platform, has compiled hundreds of cases from dozens of managing agents to help you understand the process, objectives, what has been accomplished, what worked and what didn’t. Here’s our findings:
The Completed Building Improvement Projects
The projects that improve buildings the most tend to be those that help the flat owners take more control and adapt the block to their specific needs. We have described the most popular and value improving projects below:
- Right to Manage and Share of Freehold Applications (RTM)
These often result in the most profound and immediate improvements to buildings as responsibility becomes devolved from freeholders (often non-residents) to a wider set of leaseholders.
- Regular Contractor Reviews
As part of the service charge review, going over each contractor and supplier in place can result in cost reduction over a wide set of categories. Long term contracts can become inappropriate over time as the building and scope of work changes. This is why it is important to check on a yearly basis that this money is being spent in the best way, even if they feel like small amounts.
- Refurbishing the Main Doors
Although a relatively low cost and short project, such regular maintenance is often overlooked. However, particularly for buildings which are looking for long-term renters, these can have a big effect on the desirability of the building, the yearly yield and the subsequent flat prices.
- Roof maintenance
Contrary to refurbishing the main doors, this project is one of the most expensive that any building could undergo. Major roof overhaul or replacement often stretches into millions of pounds. These can result in extreme increases in short-term service charge however, the risks of incurring these costs can be mitigated with yearly inspections and maintenance to prevent long-term decay of the underlying structure.
The Top Buildings’ Process
The best run buildings tend to have more expertise applied which allows better decision making. Some of the principles followed are:
1 Separation of diagnosis and implementation roles
Allowing for resources to be allocated in the most appropriate way, rather than long term maintenance which can become obsolete.
2 Experts trusted to make inspections
Work undergone is validated and new work can be suggested to ensure standards don’t slip.
3 Clear project management
Ensuring that the pipeline of work is well communicated and widely known to ensure it fits the priorities of the people that live in the building and may live in the building in the future.
4 Adherence to the lease
Erring on the side of being strict to ensure that the elements of the lease are obeyed and that building rules are widely followed so each leaseholder knows what to expect and standards are maintained.
5 Agreed objectives around what would make the place better
With an active board taking consultations across the building, decisions are made inline with the current and future leaseholder.
These buildings tend to have a high degree of expertise on the management board, who can apply better management methods to their building over and above what the managing agents can normally provide.
By following similar processes, you can make improvements to your own building. The first step is to review the areas that you may be underspending or overspending compared to other similar, nearby buildings.