How important is an owner's committee?
The owner’s committee is more important than the Body Corporate, it is one of the most important aspects of an apartment building.
The owner’s committee is comparative to a board or group of directors who direct the future of the building and keep the Body Corporate honest.
Within a committee there is a chairman, this person’s role is more like a facilitator rather than a director.
There is a nominated secretary who deals with all the income and expenditure.
Then there is the building manager, who may or may not be in the committee but we think it is important they are due to being in the building and in know of what is happening all the time.
Someone has the responsibility of keeping the minutes and then communicating these to everyone in the correct manner.
The owner’s committee deals with all concerned in your building and it not a small task. It is job that needs to be done to high standard with efficiently and sound communication.
Good day, Andrew Murray from the Apartment Specialists. Today I'm talking about Owners' Committees and how important they are.
Now, an Owners Committee is more important than the body corporate company. It's one of the most important parts of a building. It's like having a board on a company or a C.E.O. It's what actually directs the building into the future and it's what keeps the body corporate honest.
Now the known key aspects to do with an Owners' Committee that needs to be occurring very efficiently and to be covered to be able to run a building very well. It's very, very important.
Obviously, first of all, is the obvious one, you have a Chairman. The Chairman isn't like the boss. He's the facilitator. They run the meetings. They are making sure that everybody's gelling and that there's, basically everybody has their say. They are making sure you get through your agenda and everything is communicated properly, and everybody's doing - He's overseeing the whole process.
Number two, you obviously have your body corporate secretary. Now that's whoever your body corporate is, whether it's body corporate admin, whether it's Australia, whether it Crocker's, whoever it is, the point of the company is actually an administrative role. So they're dealing with the income and the expenditure.
Then you have the Building Manager. Now a lot of Owner's Committees don't have the Building Manager there and I think that is incorrect. I think a Building Manager should always be at the Owners' Committee meeting. Why? Because they're the ground floor. They can tell you what's happening.
A lot of people in the Owners Committee's who don't live in the building or if it's an investor building, how do they know actually what's happening day to day? It's very important the Building Manager is there so they can give their feedback and actually talk about what's happening. What contract is coming in, what contract is coming out, what problem's they're having.
The next is having a person in charge of the accounts. This is where you've got to choose from your Owners' Committee members, who is best suited for certain roles. In a perfect world it would be great to have an accountant on your Owners Committee but we can't all have accountants on Owners' Committees or accountants living in our buildings who are willing to give up the time. It's really important that someone is in charge of accounts and is looking over the whole administration of their current expenditure. What's going in and out and making sure everybody's on the same path.
The next is somebody who is keeping the minutes, if they're body corporate's, but more importantly checking them and making sure that what is being said, is communicated properly in those minutes. It's very easy for words to come across in the wrong way and come across, I suppose, giving a different message. It's like we're sending a text message. Sometimes you get a text message and if you think your friend's angry with you when they didn't mean that at all.
It's just like that with body corporate minutes. They're really, really important because they communicate a message. If you get that wrong that can lead to all kinds of things. For example someone thinking there's a big issue with the building, when really there isn't, and that kind of thing. It also means you've got a reference to go back to and say "This is the decision that was made. We all agreed on this and this is the terms of that decision."
Okay the next one is operations. Because you're going to have things that are happening within the building. You're going to have-- it's basically a project management role. This is to say for example, if the lift needs to be refurbished, you're going to have somebody in your Owners' Committee who you're going "Okay, you're acting as a Project Manager, you're in charge of that project and you run it and use other members to be able to do that kind of thing." That's also making sure the quotes are coming in, making sure the decisions are made if they happen by email. That's where obviously your Building Manager-- your Building Manager is actually in charge of the quotation process and should be doing all of that. Why? Because they're on site and they can meet the contractors.
The next is communication. Now communication is very important. How are you supposed to know when your next meeting is? How are you communicating what the agenda is? Are the agendas coming out on time so everybody can actually read them before the Owners' Committee meeting. What's going to happen at the A.G.M? Who's supposed to be doing what? Is everybody keeping to the deadlines? Communication of this is very important and generally now this is done via email, which is great. Occasionally phone calls need to be made and things like that.
You also need somebody who is in charge of the long term maintenance plan. It's great if you have enough members so you can have one person who's just in charge of that and give feedback to the committee and report on that because we're looking at looking after the building, not for that year, not for two years, but for ten, 20 years in advance. That is directly related to the babies because you're building it to be well looked after. And a long term maintenance plan that's really working, it makes a huge difference to the building and any projects you want to do it to enhance the values.
The final one is building management. Now that's an interesting one when I say that because you've got to build a manager but you need someone that oversees the overall bulk building management. Is actually reviewing the Building Manager, and looking at how the whole building management is done. This is down to, how good is the cleaners? How good is this contractor doing? How good is such and such?
That gives you an idea of what's actually involved in an Owners' Committee. It's a lot more than just sitting around and talking about issues. It's about working where everybody has an area that they are specialized in, so that the responsibilities are, I suppose, given out to the people that are skilled for them. Then everybody comes together where the Chair actually facilitates the whole meeting so this can all be brought together and the result is a building, that when it's done well, that is run properly and very efficiently and keeps everybody happy.
Anyway I hope that helps. Cheers.