Changing the face of strata and building management

Evolution of laws and society is raising the importance of quality building management.

In the management of stratified properties, for many years, the Strata Title Act 1985 governed sub-divided or stratified properties. However, it proved insufficient and inefficient to address the issues of maintenance and management of such properties. During a recent seminar held at Wisma REHDA, Building Management Association of Malaysia president Tan Sri Datuk Eddy Chen touched on this subject and elaborated further to clear the air.

The property industry, especially stratified property owners and management, were grateful to the then Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 2007, which started the streamlining of stratified property management legislation with the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 (Act 663). This worked for some eight years via joint management bodies and management corporations, but there still existed some ambiguity and inadequacies.

The Strata Management Act (SMA) was finally gazetted in 2013 but the implementation was delayed due to streamlining issues with Act 663, which had actually already outlived its effectiveness.

In June 2015, a mere seven months ago, the Strata Management Act 2013, together with the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations, finally came into operation. The building industry, especially those with dealings in the strata management, could finally breathe a sigh of relief as strata management laws and regulations were now synchronised.

“With the SMA 2013 in place and implemented together with the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations, we can finally look forward to clear-cut steps in the sales and purchase, as well as management of stratified properties (the good). At the same time, it will become a ‘watchdog’ for some inevitable errant building managements (the bad and the ugly). Nevertheless, there are mixed feelings as developers and owners alike have to become familiar with the new workflow required in line with the Acts,” explained Chen.

The management of stratified properties is a complex and demanding process for most of the time, as there is a need to deal with multiple and numerous owners who have different requirements and expectations. There are problems with maintenance, especially in low-cost residential buildings. This is true mainly with the collection of fees, and in the upkeep and repair of buildings, where there is a high incidence of vandalism.

Since BMAM was formed in 2009, they have started a Register of Building Managers to develop a core group of building managers who have expertise and specialised skills required in building and property management. With annual programmes and seminars, BMAM aspires to uplift the proficiency and status of building and property managers to become the nation’s leading authority for registered building managers.

“However, the challenge remains in sustaining an orderly and well-regulated ‘building management industry’. To this effect, BMAM would like to urge the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing and Housing to set up a Board of Building Managers so that proper statutory standards and operations can be streamlined to provide a level of consistent quality service that strata properties owners so deserve. It is crucial to add that the assets and value appreciation, including preservation, lies with a good manager. A badly managed property will certainly suffer in value, and ultimately result in losses for the owners,” he commented.

A dedicated Board of Building Managers will give a renewed impetus to an industry that is set to grow exponentially. While there is continued demand for non-strata landed properties, it is also inevitable that with scarcity of land, a changing lifestyle, and a lagging public transport system, there will be a growth of high-rise stratified properties. It is likely that by 2030, there will be more people staying in high-rise accommodation as compared to landed properties.

“While BMAM recognises the need for market forces to determine the level of services, a minimum standard must be observed via some form of registration, or deregistration for errant managers. The Board can provide the necessary check-and-balance to protect all the stakeholders. In this regard, BMAM would like to avail the organisation in setting up such a Board and where necessary, to give the needed logistical support to kickstart this Board,” said Chen.

In a fast developing country like Malaysia, there has been a huge growth spurt of high-rise residential and commercial buildings since some 20 years ago, and this has resulted in millions of stratified property owners of residential and commercial properties, who have their own rights and responsibilities.

“Within this scenario of an ever-expanding market, there is a lack of suitably qualified and experienced building managers. This is where our association has stepped in to ensure performance standards for building managers. BMAM has been actively working with higher learning institutions in the country to pursue academic collaboration arrangements to enable both school leavers, as well as serving employees in the building management industry, to acquire much-needed managerial and technical skills.

“Since 2010, we have collaborated with Open University Malaysia (OUM) for the education and training of personnel and employees already serving in the building management industry. Then in 2012, we also worked with one of Malaysia’s leading universities, University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), in the Joint Academic Collaboration for undergraduates qualifying for the Bachelor of Building Management (Honours) and Masters in Business Administration (Building Management).

“Today, we are proud to announce that the first batch of students have since qualified, with some currently undergoing internship in real-time and hands-on property management, and another 160 more will be graduating soon from both the Bachelors and Masters programmes,” he enthused.

Having said that, Tan Sri Datuk Chen and the BMAM continues to look forward to work with other educational or commercial organisations to uplift the proficiency of building and property management in all ways deemed necessary to bring the building industry to a higher platform of professionalism. - By StarProperty

No comments