Those of you who still buy and read newspapers (bless your cotton socks) might have noticed a sticker the other day advertising a new strata advice service called Stratafaq.
If you followed the link on the sticker, you’d be taken to the website of the Pica Group – arguably the largest strata management, building facilities management and ancillary strata services company in Australia.
Pica have been growing steadily over the past few years and have swallowed up some of the most successful and respected strata management firms in the country, such as Ace Body Corporate Management and Dynamic Property Services.
They also include building facilities management, legal and financial services. These guys are serious players and there are two stories that immediately spring to mind.
Firstly, they are attempting to wrangle all the different online management software programs used by their 15 subsidiaries into one piece of software that will be used by them all (and then sold into the market). Ambitious but probably worthwhile.
The other issue is that back in 2017 Pica were slammed by Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean, other politicians and strata management firms when they arbitrarily charged all their 220,000 strata owners in 11,000 schemes additional fees for upgrading their services to deal with the changes in strata law in 2016.
I have been told, anecdotally, that Pica’s on-the-ground strata managers begged them not to do this – few if any other strata management firms were slugging their clients this way – but the bean counters held sway.
Look, free strata advice is our bread and butter here at Flat Chat. But with strata residents apparently in a permanent state of conflict and confusion, anyone who can offer authoritative and independent advice to strata residents is welcome.
However, we should never forget that Pica are a business … and a bloody big one at that.