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Who takes the fall when critical items are missed?


20 Jun 2022

"Given the opportunity to work with developers early in the planning phase is where I can make all the difference. This is where the value lies for the developer and the residents”.

Alex Wolf, General Manager, MBCM Strata Specialists Frankston.
 
Alex Wolf from MBCM Strata Specialists Frankston is adamant that early engagement of OC Managers during development planning will futureproof potential issues for the developer and reduce potential long-term costs for residents. That’s because Alex knows only too well how often OC Managers are not engaged until the last step in the development process when the property is nearly built.
 
When asked to give an example of how early engagement is not just beneficial but critical, Alex describes how he was approached by a local developer to work up a draft budget in the planning phase of their development. He went straight to work, utilising his extensive experience to review the plans for this multi-level development of 25 units. Immediately he noticed something was missing - a Fall Arrest system was not showing on the roof plans and there had been no consideration to include one.
 
Unlike most, Alex already knew the long-term implications of omitting anchor points on the roof of a multi-storey building. Anchor points allow the roof and gutters to be accessed safely which is paramount for maintenance and cleaning over the years ahead. “If they are not fitted to a roof in the building phase there are only two options once the building is complete. Option one is to hire elevated work platforms at excessive costs each time the roof needs to be accessed or option two is to install an anchor point system retrospectively at a huge cost, approximately $60,000. Both of these options would then fall on the residents to fund, as special levies.”
 
From his multi-res experience, Alex understands that there is an expectation from buyers when they purchase into new developments that these type of safety standards and systems have been considered by the developer and are in place. They are not anticipating additional costs on top of their body corporate fees, particularly early on in their ownership and this would reflect very negatively on the developer.
 
Luckily, in this instance, the early conversation between Alex and the developer enabled a Fall Arrest System to be included in the planning phase and built in the construction phase, “because it didn’t need to be re-engineered later it became part of the overall build cost which was more cost-effective, saving the future residents additional costs and avoiding much angst between the OC and the developer at a later stage.”