Management and maintenance Print

​​​​​Design Checklist​

  1. All systems and components are long-lasting and easy to maintain
  2. Ongoing maintenance is considered at the start of the design process
  3. Effective mechanisms are established to ensure occupants understand and carryout maintenance requirements​


The design of the building and the way that it is managed will influence the extent and cost of maintenance requirements. Maintenance includes repair, cleaning and future upgrading of a development’s components or systems. With speculative projects there will always be the tendency to reduce up-front costs. However, developers need to be aware that an increasingly sophisticated market is demanding greater efficiencies/lower ongoing costs be built into their purchase. 

Considered material selection and design can dramatically reduce the need for long-term maintenance. Designers should consider the likely longevity of building components and plan for their future maintenance. Designers should also be aware of the consequences of using complex mechanical systems. These typically require more extensive, costly servicing performed by technically ​specialised contractors. Design phase decisions should balance up-front costs against ongoing life cycle costs. 

Better Design Practice

Establish an effective body corporate with sound operating rules.

The legal ownership and management of mixed use developments is dealt with under the Unit Titles Act 2010. This provides for the subdivision of land and buildings into units owned by individual unit owners, as well as common property that is owned by the body corporate on behalf of the unit owners. Refer to the following guide for information on the operation of body corporates.​

Appoint a professional firm as body corporate secretary.

The body corporate will usually engage a professional management firm to perform the role of body corporate secretary; as mixed use developments can have large financial turnovers, there should be skilled and experienced stewardship.

Roles on behalf of the body corporate can include:
  • maintaining a register of owners
  • convening meetings of the body corporate and preparing minutes
  • supplying certification of pre-settlement disclosure statements when a unit is sold or mortgaged 
  • administration of accounts and maintenance of up-to-date financial records 
  • submission of accounts for independent audit 
  • ensuring the development is fully insured at all times 
  • preparing budgets for the body corporate and maintaining an operating account for all its expenses 
  • collecting levies from the owners and paying accounts 
  • organising the annual building warrant of fitness, if required 
  • coordinating maintenance of common property, usually through the appointment of a building manager 
  • establish and maintain a long-term maintenance plan and funds 
  • responding promptly to requests for information from owners or owners’ committees.

Establish an effective annual and long-term maintenance programme with adequate funding from owners.

An informed market will factor the cost of ongoing management and maintenance costs into the cost of the residential or commercial unit. These costs become easier to evaluate as a development ages and historical data accrues.​

Engage a building manager (on-site or off-site) for day-to-day building and property maintenance.

Depending on both the size and complexity of the development there may be ongoing maintenance and management issues. Consider setting aside a residential unit as accommodation for an on-site manager to be funded by the body corporate.​

​Deal with repairs and maintenance in common areas promptly to reduce the risk of vandalism.

Deferred maintenance in common areas can compound maintenance issues and encourage vandalism.​

Provide clear instructions to new owners (and their tenants).

These can include:
  • names and contact details of the owners’ committee representatives, building manager and body corporate manager 
  • guidelines for owners and tenants as to who they should notify when repairs and maintenance are required 
  • instructions on location and use of waste disposal and recycling facilities 
  • rules on access to common areas, including permitted hours of use 
  • instructions on emergency, fire and security systems 
  • information on location and use of private and visitor parking 
  • limits on where satellite dishes and TV aerials can be placed (developments should use common aerials as much as possible) 
  • rules regarding the general appearance of balconies and gardens and drying of washing in publicly visible areas.​

Consider individual water meters or check meters 

A key issue in many developments is how water and wastewater are paid for. Many developments measure water use through a single meter, with bills being shared equally between units. Some developments may have ‘check meters’ which allow individual water usage to be measured and billed for accordingly. Check-metering may be more time-consuming (meters have to be read, a spreadsheet of usage has to be maintained and owners billed separately by the body corporate secretary), but will encourage reduced consumption and may be preferred by some owners.​
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