Important roles that support an Owners Corporation

In an Owners Corporation (OC), there can be additional roles, aside from an Owners Corporation Manager (OCM) that can support your OC.

A Building Manager (BM), caretaker or cleaner works in conjunction with the Committee and OCM to ensure that residents and owners are supported, and the building is well maintained.

If you live in a larger property, you may want to consider a BM. The service expectations can vary under contracts, though generally, a BM will be on-site to supervise activities relating to the operation, repair, and maintenance of common property. Appointing BMs comes with a number of benefits, they give residents a person onsite to help with issues.  A Committee can ask multiple companies to tender for the role, to ensure the best option is put to Owners.

A smaller property may benefit from a caretaker. They take care of the general tidiness and cleanliness of the property and can advise the OCM of any issues. Typically, their scope of works is less extensive than that of a BM, with less on-site hours. This can be a more cost-effective choice, particularly for less complex properties. Alternatively, you could employ a cleaner or gardener periodically for the general upkeep of the common grounds and areas.

It’s important to note that in the absence of a BM, caretaker or cleaner, the responsibility of the tidiness and cleanliness of the common areas falls to the Owners Corporation (all owners). Where cleaning, or other property works are required these can be arranged by, but not typically overseen or completed by your OCM. If you do not have a caretaker or BM, you will also need to report maintenance issues (such as a broken light) to your OCM.

The role of the Owners Corporation Manager (OCM)

The OCM performs administrative functions relating to the common property. The OCM is an OC specialist that has the knowledge and skills to support an OC, their role includes:

  • Giving the Committee advice and direction on relevant legislative requirements, they also have a sound understanding of the OC Act.
  • Helps to ensure the OC remains compliant and meets all legal obligations.
  • Drafts the annual budget and issues levies.
  • Attends to correspondence from the Committee and Owners.
  • Arranges quotes and work orders for building maintenance and works (A Building Manager would be the first point of contact if one is in place at your property)
  • Manages the financials and placing insurance.
  • Sets dates with the Committee for AGM and Committee meetings.

The OCM is often appointed to the role of Secretary of the OC, which involves convening, chairing and minuting meetings of the OC.

The OCM is not part of the Committee so therefore does not have any power (unless specifically delegated by the OC) or voting rights, instead they are there to advise and implement the decisions made by the Committee.

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The role of the Building Manager (BM)

A BM is employed, typically at larger apartment buildings, to assist with the day-to-day operation of the building. They are usually on-site and the first point of contact for residents, owners, contractors, and suppliers.

They oversee the following but not limited to:

  • All maintenance and dispute queries.
  • General up-keep of common areas and facilities.
  • Security replacements and access enquiries – keys, fobs, remotes etc.
  • Oversees move ins and outs.
  • Manages the onsite bookings for amenities.
  • Arranges the buildings emergency planning and ensures building compliance.
  • Ensures occupational health and safety regulations are being followed in common areas.
  • Arrangement and supervision of property works, contractors and suppliers.
  • Report on any potential violation of the rules and assist with ensuring they are upheld.

The BM does not report to the OCM, but rather to the OC. If you have an issue with your BM, you may report it to the OCM who can provide feedback to the Committee. In some instances, one entity may be employed to conduct both roles, however The Knight recommends against this given the distinct skill sets and expertise required for each.

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The role of a Caretaker

The duties of a caretaker include general upkeep and maintenance of a property, with less involvement in resident affairs and OC operations.

These could include but are not limited to:

  • Maintains the tidiness and cleanliness of common areas such as gardens, lawns, pools, or barbeque areas.
  • Assists with small handyman jobs.
  • Assists with move ins and outs.
  • Puts up the lift covers if applicable to the building.
  • Reports maintenance issues to the OCM.

This article was first written for The VIC Strata Magazine (April 2023 edition)