• This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by .
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  • #49883
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter

    Our small complex of 7 villas has engaged a strata manager, using the “standard” Strata Community Association agreement with a base fee and then several following pages of schedules containing the “add ons”.

    The agreement provides the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 will be complied with by both parties.

    The definition of “non-standard work” is that work which is not standard work! The definition of “standard work “ is lacking in the precision I would like to see. How would the prosaic task of gutter cleaning be classified?

    Gutter cleaning is within the definition of “construction work” in the Work Health and Safety legislation. The strata agreement defines construction work with no requirement to work above 3 metres as standard work. General maintenance works, including window cleaning below 3 metres is also standard work. The strata agreement includes the proviso that “if there is any inconsistency between Standard Work and Non-Standard Work, the work will be interpreted as Non-Standard Work”.

    As the gutter cleaning requires work above 3 metres to be carried out, is it safe to interpret this as non-standard work, with all the consequences under the strata agreement for additional charges by the strata manager and necessity for instruction by the owners corporation to organise the work?

    Or is there some custom or practice in the strata management industry to which everyone refers?

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #49972
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hi Jimmy, I did not intentionally set out to make this long. I would dearly love to do exactly as you suggest, however such action would backfire badly if the strata manager could claim gutter cleaning is standard work, and so is authorised to engage contractors without reference to the owners corporation or committee.

    I thought that asking whether a strata manager could spend owners corporation funds on the say so of an individual owner, and fail to account, would cause annoyance, as being too basic a question. I am new to the world of strata, having recently picked up responsibility on behalf of elderly parents, and in the particular case of this strata manager and strata scheme it appears to be a very strange parallel universe.

    #49968
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    It would have helped a great deal if you had outlined in your initial post that your real concern is that the strata manager is a) taking instruction from one owners and b) refusing to let committee members see the paperwork relating to the work done for said owner.

    I would put a motion to your next committee meeting that you send a letter to the strata manager asking why their contract should not be terminated for breach of their basic duties.

    Actually, I would just sack the strata manager, sign up with Stratabox and manage the scheme ourselves.

    #49965
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    The strata manager has on more than one occasion by email denied engaging the contractors, and stated they were unaware the contractors attended the property, yet have paid the invoice. An employee of the contractor has told me about emails received by the contractor from the strata manager advising the committee had approved the works, and offered to send these to me. This same employee informed me that moments after my email sent (to make it an easy reply) was received by her, the strata manager telephoned instructing her not to provide the correspondence. I had cc’ed the strata manager so the employee at the contractor could see I was who I said I was.

    I am the secretary of this strata scheme, and the strata manager continues to decline to make the correspondence or invoice available to me, or other committee members.

    #49951
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    An OC is required to maintain and repair property.

    Some strata managers take it upon themselves to issue a work order if it falls under the rapid and maintenance definition, assuming that the OC will agree.

    Some strata mangers refer a request for repair and maintenance to a committee member for information. The committee member just approves the strata managers action.

    Are you a committee member and have knowledge of any and all discussions?

    Is the committee active or have they delegated everything to the SM?

     

    #49936
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    It is a strata scheme, not a community association. The strata management agreement is a standard form document, printed by the association which many strata management companies belong to. Their logo is printed on the document, and coincidentally also appears in the advertisement at the top of this page for a strata management company. There is no ability for the owners corporation to change the executed document.

    The strata manager knows work orders should not be issued at the behest of one owner. A new strata manager, when the current agreement expires, if not sooner, is intended. Meanwhile, we need to contain the anarchy?

    #49910
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    Standard and non-standard work within the ambit of the strata management agreement is whatever you want it to be. You can include a schedule of what constitutes standard work, it has nothing to do with the construction industry of the WHS legislation.

    The issue here is that the strata manager is issuing work orders at the behest of one owner. I am not completely familiar with community associations but I assume the same principle applies in relation to work orders, i.e. that one person is not authorised to instruct the strata manager to issue work orders, or to engage contractors etc. If you don’t want that to happen tell the manager that he should not act on the instructions of that owner.

    #49903
    Austman
    Flatchatter

    Residential stratas are specifically exempted from WHS Acts around Australia unless they directly employ someone (that means payroll tax, superannuation etc).  Most stratas use contractors and so have the same WHS exemption status as private house owners.

    What it means is that when work is done on site by contractors it’s the contractor (or their employer, if there is one) that must ensure that by all WHS requirements are met.  That might mean that certain qualifications are required and that certain equipment needs to be used etc.

    #49904
    Just Asking
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Sorry, perhaps not very well expressed.

    No, I do not imagine the strata manager will be climbing a ladder and cleaning gutters ever. Arranging for standard work to be done with respect to the common property up to a specified cost is within the delegation to the strata manager under the strata management agreement. I imagine the exertion by the strata manager is in issuing the work order?

    In the case of non standard work, the strata management agreement provides no expenditure may be incurred by the strata manager unless instructed by the owners corporation. The strata manager has engaged additional gutter cleaning contractors at the behest of a single owner, with the additional contractors carrying out the same work as performed by the first contractors, within 3 months. The gutters are fitted with leaf guards.

    Hence the need to know whether gutter cleaning is classified as non standard work before querying the strata manager. This is merely the latest in a very expensive series of contractors being engaged seemingly without authority at the behest of the same individual owner. We would like to bring a stop to this, before the bank account is empty.

    #49895
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I think there’s a general principle that strata managers don’t clean gutters.  Are you confusing your strata manager with a building facilities manager?

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