City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment

Managing Major Repairs in the Residential Strata Sector

The aim of this study is to undertake research into the attitudes towards, and practice of, funding major repairs in the strata sector. The findings will provide strata owners, owners’ corporations, strata managers and policy makers with new and systematic information on the nature and scale of issues surrounding the provision for major repairs in strata in NSW. It is expected that this research will directly inform best practice, policy innovation and educational programmes for practitioners and policy makers in the sector.

The project has three aims:

  1. To establish current practices in respect to funding major repairs and maintenance, including capital works budget setting, funding options and administration arrangements, in residential strata titled complexes.
  2. To explore the attitudes and knowledge of planning for major repairs funding among consumers of residential strata, including resident- and investor-owners and owners' corporation members.
  3. To undertake a benchmarking exercise based on data collected by strata property managers in order to estimate the types of information available on maintenance and major repairs at the block level, to identify the form in which this information is recorded and to assess how easily the data can be accessed electronically and how easily it can be analysed for trends. Based on these findings, the research team will recommend improvements to management data collection to enable future policy development in this area.

The research is essentially customer focused, with the primary fieldwork being a survey of unit owners. The research began in August 2008 and is expected to be completed in July 2009. To date, a preliminary literature review and a review of the NSW strata legislation relating to funding for major repairs and maintenance has been undertaken. An online survey of owners of residential strata properties (both owner occupiers and investors) was launched in September 2008, and closed in April 2009. Over 240 owners completed this survey and analysis of the survey results is underway.

A number of strata management companies were contacted in late 2008 and asked to participate in the study by providing information on the types of information available on major repairs and maintenance at the block level and the form in which this data is recorded and how easily it can be accessed electronically. Strata management agents were been asked to provide the research team with examples of management data where possible. The confidentiality of this data was assured. The response from strata management agents was poor, however we have received support as well as some data from three strata management companies (one small, one medium and one large company). However, even the limited data received so far is enough to indicate that comparisons between the records kept by different strata management agents would be very challenging, which is an important finding in itself.

The findings of the research will be presented in a final report to the Office of Fair Trading. A short key findings summary will also be written for wider dissemination. In addition, Dr Easthope will hold a public seminar on the results of the research on 17th June 2009, hosted by the Institute of Strata Title Management (NSW).

FINAL REPORT:

People

Hazel  Easthope
Dr Hazel Easthope
Chief Investigator
Bill  Randolph
Professor Bill Randolph
Chief Investigator
Sarah Judd
Sarah.Judd@unsw.edu.au
Mr Andy Tice, a.tice@unsw.edu.au

Funded by

NSW Office of Fair Trading

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