I was paid an unexpected compliment this week by a strata manager who I have worked with on and off for some years now. And yes, the use of the words “worked with” were deliberate. The compliment was “I knew you would be the right person for the team”.
To me this is high praise as I see myself as part of a team that works with the executive committee of my owners corporation client, the strata managing agent, building experts and building managers to provide a service to the owners corporation and its lot owners. My role is that of an advisor, to assist my clients and to work with them to advise them of their options and to assist them in achieving their goal, whether that goal is to have a builder/developer/insurer assist with the cost of remedial repairs of building defects through a building defects claim or a Home Owners Warranty insurance claim or whether it is to draft a suitable by-law to regulate behaviour within the scheme.
When one element of that team cannot be contacted, fails to deliver as promised, or does not mesh well with the other personalities on the team the process is much more difficult. It is extremely important to get the right people on the team at the right time to save headaches, stress, frustration, time and money in the long run.
So how do you as an owners corporation chose the “right” strata manager/building manager/lawyer/building expert? The first rule is to do your research into the person and their firm. This is easier now than ever. Check their firm’s website, the person’s linked in profile and Google them. Ask other existing advisors for their recommendations. Make sure they have the expertise you are looking for. Secondly, pick up the phone and to talk to the person you have shortlisted. Why? This will give you an indication of whether that person will fit in with the executive committee and the rest of the advisory team. The person may not be available at that moment however their ability to return a phone call will tell you about that person’s responsiveness. After all, if they can’t return a phone call when you are considering giving them work, what is their service going to be like after they have got the job? Thirdly, make sure you understand what that person or their firm is offering to do.
Once this is understood the foundations of a good working relationship have been built.