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Four Crucial Steps to preventing clogged gutters

Performing periodic maintenance on your roof is a required task for every homeowner. Where you live is a great factor in determining how often you should check and clean the gutter.
 
If you are in an urban area where there are few or no trees at all, once a year will do. And the best time to do that is in autumn, right before the winter comes.
 
If you live in the suburbs or areas where trees are moderate, on the other hand, you should inspect your roof at least twice a year. Frequent checking and cleaning is highly required if you live in a heavily treed area. During the autumn, you must check it at least once or even twice each week.
Aside from doing occasional checkups and cleaning, how else do you ensure that your gutters won’t get clogged?
 
Cover the gutter.
The easiest way to protect your gutter from leaf buildups and collecting debris is to cover it. Nowadays, there are gutter covers that are designed for easy installation. If you are not the DIY type, you can always have them installed by your trusted dealers.
 
While there are no gutter coverings that will absolutely make your roof debris-free,  installing one will definitely help save you from having to frequently check and clean it.
 
Check for proper flow.
Apart from installing gutter guards, make sure water is flowing properly. To do this, you have to flush the gutter with water.
 
Check that the outlets are unobstructed. If you live in heavily wooded areas, it is advisable to install an outlet that is quite bigger or wider than the standard. This allows any kind of debris to flow through and prevents unspotted build up that often causes gutter blockage.
 
Make sure water is properly drained into the downspouts.
Make cleaning easy and convenient with removable downspouts or leaders. Blocked downspouts can be very challenging. For one, they are difficult to clean, particularly when you have a big house. With removable downspouts, you will be able to take them down safely on the ground, check them conveniently for obstructions, and clean them easily without ladders.
 
Fix gutter problems immediately.
The primary cause of clogged gutters is that they are often ignored until leaks or holes associated with them become a major problem. Gutter problems must be corrected as soon as you have spotted them. Patch holes even if they are tiny. If the hole is quite big, then it might require replacing. Install additional gutter support like spikes or ferrules if needed.
No matter how leak-proof the roof is or how debris-proofed the gutters are, you still need to climb up there and do regular inspections, most especially in the spring and autumn. While you may have the best gutter protection installed up there, home experts still recommend inspecting the gutters and clearing out all leaves and debris.
 
Republished courtesy of Jim’s Mowing

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Moving forward with Maintenance Plans

All too often when undertaking site inspections, we leave the site with the impression that the Owners Corporation is not adequately maintaining their investment which is, more often than not, due to a funding issue. This will likely affect the sale value of the lots and increase the risk of large special levies when the works can no longer be ignored.

Why is this?
The main reason is simply, in many instances, having the owners invest their money into an account they don’t control, and when it’s not mandatory for the owners to invest their funds over time, it can be like getting blood out of a stone. The result being that property maintenance decisions are made reactively rather than proactively.
 
New legislation only requires 51 lots or more to approve a maintenance plan, which is a positive step forward for the industry, however many properties less than 51 lots still require funding for major works such as passenger lifts, roof replacement, external painting and other plant and equipment.
 
Encourage Owners to take action
We advise all Owners Corporations to take action, be aware of their buildings and specific needs, and develop a maintenance plan or ensure some form of funding is in place regardless of the number of lots of their building/s. We encourage the following:

  • Owners to have a maintenance inspection undertaken.
  • To identify the known and potentially unknown cost cycles (the earlier the better).
  • The committee to have a “Maintenance Plan Review Meeting.”
  • The committee should ask questions and understand the plan.
  • Don’t set and forget and be proactive.
  • Review the plan and budget at least every 3-5 years.
 
Explain the benefits to the Owners
  • Long term needs of building assessed and funded.
  • Potential problems may be identified when plan is being prepared or reviewed.
  • Allows works to be undertaken when needed and as funds are available.
  • Promotes a view of a well-maintained building and prudent Owners Corporation.
  • A fairer system of funding for all stakeholders.
  • Special levy is typically not required.
  • Financial certainty for all owners.
  • Add value to their investment.
  • Promotes saleable units and liveable Owners Corporations.
 
Case Study
In late 2019 Mabi was engaged to work with an Owners Corporation committee to inspect the property for defects and establish a long-term maintenance plan. What we discovered was a perfect example of the importance of proactive maintenance and establishing a fund as early on as possible, regardless of the size or number of lots.
 
The development in question consisted of 35 lots, as such did not require a maintenance plan under the previous legislation, nor does it require one under the newly adopted legislation as of 1st December 2021.
 
The development was 45 years old and had common property infrastructure such as a passenger lift, four separate metal roofs, timber balustrades to balconies and common walkways and a known issue with subsidence to the under-croft car park.
 
Upon completion of the defect survey the following was determined:
  • The passenger lift required immediate overhaul and was unsafe
  • Structural engineer advice determined the brick ties had corroded and parts of the brick fa├žade required re-building
  • Concrete spalling to the cantilevered concrete balconies was significant
  • Three of the four roofs require replacement within 5 years
  • A number of timber balustrades had completely rotted, and the steel supports were corroded
  • One balustrade had recently fallen out of the building leaving a tenant with a balcony with no fall protection
  • Timber windows were also rotted and had not been painted
  • Geotechnical engineer had determined a serious subsidence issue within the under croft.

Without allowing for all other required maintenance (such as internal hallway painting and carpet replacement, essential safety measures, mechanical, CCTV and other normal maintenance costs cycles), the total for the urgent works exceeded $1.4 million required within the next 5 years. The average cost per unit for the next 5 years exceeded $10,000.
 
This is a perfect example of why an Owners Corporation must consider the specifics of their building/s and not just the number of lots. The Owners Corporation had zero funds set aside for maintenance and no formal or informal plan. The owners were reluctant to have the works carried out as they had no money, and no decisions were ever made until it was too late.
 
Whilst this case study is a ‘horror story’ it does illustrate that nothing lasts forever, and a more pragmatic approach must be taken when maintaining common property and how it is funded.
Not all Owners Corporations will require substantial repairs as per this example, however many lot owners will be dealt a blow when they realised the sums of money they are required to individually contribute often coupled with the fact that they are effectively recouping funds that should have been contributed from day one and potentially from past owners. 
 
The earlier a maintenance plan budget is set up, the easier the process and the fairer the financial requirements are for all stake holders over the long term.
 
Kingsley Osmond
Director
Mabi Services
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Example of concrete spalling to concrete ceiling with no action taken by Owners Corporation for 15 plus years


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Example of timber fascia that has rotted past the point of repair
 

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Preparing for a spring clean of your strata property


12 Jul 2023

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to maintaining your strata property.  In the lead up to spring, it’s the perfect time to take stock and refresh your strata property.
Wintertime usually means heavy use of air-conditioning systems and heaters, gardens lay dormant, common areas such as pools and outdoor recreation areas are much less utilised. It is important for strata buildings to put maintenance back on the agenda to reduce the risk of long term or major damage caused by lack of maintenance.
Now is a good time for Strata committees to put their maintenance plan back into action and dust off the cobwebs of winter. Combining a thorough spring clean with a proactive approach to identifying and rectifying defects can enhance the cleanliness, functionality, and overall value of your property as well as decrease the risk of major damage down the track.

Plan an inspection to identify any signs of defects.
An annual inspection can help keep a building from deteriorating. Early identification and remediation of even the smallest defects can help reduce the risk of major problems down the track.
Things to look out for include:
  • Efflorescence, peeling paint, and minor settlement cracking.
  • Cladding, ensure compliant cladding has been used, if non-compliant cladding such as aluminium composite panels or ACP and EPS, this should be scheduled to be rectified.
  • Waterproofing issues, such as leakage from roofs, mould, blistering paint, rising damp, and cracked walls.
  • Plumbing and drainage issues, such as blocked drains, leaking pipes, and sewage backups
  • Electrical issues, such as faulty wiring, damage to wiring or old wiring.
Delegate Annual Maintenance Tasks
To ensure an efficient and comprehensive spring clean, identify the specific areas that require attention, such as common areas, hallways, parking lots, and recreational facilities. Divide these tasks and allocate to the appropriate trades person or maintenance manager. Depending on the size of your strata complex, you could schedule some of these tasks (like gardening and cleaning), between the residents, but make sure a professional manages the bigger jobs including clearing cutters, or any other dangerous tasks which may involve heights, wiring, plumbing etc.

Focus on Common Areas
Common areas serve as the face of your strata apartment complex, leaving a lasting impression on residents and visitors alike. Paying special attention to these spaces will keep the complex looking its best. Some of the cleaning jobs that are required annually in your individual apartment may also be more cost effective if you pool the resources together, such as window cleaning and servicing appliances such as air conditioning.

Clearing the clutter
Organising a council clean-up for the entire apartment block may be a good way to clear storage areas, and ensure the complex is less likely to have unwanted furniture dumped outside.
 
Garden Maintenance
Every apartment complex is different and not all have an allocated gardening budget. It is important not to neglect the outdoor areas of your strata apartment complex during your spring clean. Arrange for the removal of any accumulated debris, fallen leaves, or branches from the grounds. Trim overgrown vegetation and bushes and clear gutters. If applicable, clean and inspect any shared outdoor amenities, such as barbeque areas, swimming pools, or playgrounds, to ensure they are safe and ready for use.

Waste Management
Consider implementing a more efficient and environmentally friendly waste management system. Waste management has come a long way in the last few years with better more efficient ways to reuse, recycle, compost, and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable living environment.
 
By being proactive and informed with your maintenance and defects management in your strata property, you can create a more sustainable, welcoming environment for residents while maintaining a safe and structurally sound complex.
 
This article was supplied by CHU Underwriting Agencies