More and more developers are creating projects that focus on sustainability. For many, this is a core value of their business, and they go to great lengths to include sustainability initiatives in their buildings.
Despite the trend towards sustainable features in new buildings, and purchasers demanding more environmentally conscious homes, many do not appreciate the upkeep these initiatives require.
For the potential of these initiatives to be realised, it is paramount that they are understood by purchasers and properly maintained after occupation.
Appointing an Owners Corporation Manager who shares your value of being environmentally conscious and sustainably minded is crucial to achieving this.
A good example of this is a property managed by The Knight in Camberwell. It has a large rainwater tank under the car park ramp which uses recycled water to flush the toilets. Before the Owners Corporation Manager drew attention to this asset, committee members were not fully aware that it existed or what it was for.
The developer of this project had equipped this building with a system to reduce its environmental footprint, but the residents did not grasp the value that it represented.
Often in scenarios like this, when the system requires repairs after several years of operation, the Committee will let the asset fall into disrepair, undoing the important groundwork laid by the Developer. However, an Owners Corporation Manager can advocate for maintenance and repairs, educating the Committee on the benefits, both environmental and financial.
At this Camberwell property, The Knight was able to convince the Committee to keep this system operating by noting the obligations under the planning permit, the saving on the cost of water as well as the positive impact on the environment.
Further to this, an Owners Corporation Manager can work with you to prepare accurate budgets and long-term maintenance plans to ensure that Owners are aware of all the running costs associated with sustainability initiatives within their building.
A great example of this is when a developer includes green space such as rooftop or vertical gardens. These are not only attractive to purchasers, they also have environmental and social benefits to the residents.
However, if upkeep is not accurately budgeted for, these inclusions can be ignored and left to get out of hand, resulting in more expensive works down the track, and potentially impacting property values.
A maintenance fund and accurate budget, which is regularly reviewed and updated by an experienced Owners Corporation Manager, will ensure both that there are no surprise expenses for Owners and that inclusions are never left to fall into disarray or disuse.
Owners Corporation Managers can also work with Committees to encourage the implementation of new sustainability measures.
The Knight have worked to establish a ‘Sustainability Subcommittee’ at a property in Fitzroy which provides guidance and direction to the Committee of Management relating to improving sustainability outcomes for the property.
We have provided an extensive list of initiatives to the Subcommittee, which has resulted in reviews of power usage, the irrigation system and waste signage to ensure residents are educated on recycling correctly.
At The Knight, we are always encouraging the best environmental outcomes with our Committees, and particularly in new buildings where the Developer’s vision was for an environmentally and socially-conscious community.
We consider this to be part of our ongoing service to developers; protecting your reputation and ensuring your vision for a project prospers, well into the future.