Home' API Magazine : November 2014 Contents 34 n APIMAGAZINE.COM.AU n NOVEMBER 2014
compliance work) and we have an after hours
“I also come in at 7.30am and try to write
up the minutes of meetings then. If you
can separate putting out the fires from the
compliance side of things, that seems to be a
key for success.”
Being highly organised and efficient is
the best way to do this, according to Jakes.
Thanks to his background in IT, he creates
a website for each and every building he
manages and asks people to ‘self serve’. He
publishes financial data on the websites and
asks landlords to pay their levies and other
fees through their own building’s website.
“Rather than a guy ringing up, asking ‘have
my levies been paid?’ we say ‘just log on and
have a look’. If they need a copy of the strata
insurance for their mortgage renewal, we
can publish it on a portal, rather than send
This saves heaps of time and ultimately,
money, as Jakes is able to work on other more
important aspects of his business.
His IT background has helped him stay
one step ahead of the pack. For example,
most strata committees attend meetings after
hours. But Jakes now holds meetings using
Skype and allowing people to phone in.
If you want to be successful in the industry,
it’s also important to be across all of the
different types of legislation and Acts.
“You need to have good knowledge of the
Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 but
also an understanding of the 25 parliament
Acts,” he says.
The rules and laws can be about the
smallest things, such as who is responsible if
a fence falls down (for the record, it’s a 50/50
responsibility between neighbours).
There are also various codes of ethics and
building Acts, including the annual fire
safety checks. Higginson adds these days,
there’s lots of software available to help
strata managers. In Queensland, the Body
Corporate and Community Management Act
1997 tightened up the industry and many
things must now be done within seven days
or a specific period of time. For example, lot
or unit owners must be given 21 days’ notice
for a body corporate meeting.
“If you get it wrong, you’re potentially
invalidating the decisions made and
the owners have a right to challenge,”
You’ll also need to make sure there’s always
enough money in the sinking fund forecast
for each and every building you deal with.
Higginson says managers should always
allow for a 10-year future forecast.
“ This ensures the need for special levies is
reduced,” he says. “Forecast reports should be
updated every two years.”
6.20am: Wake up!
6:30am: Read and action 15 emails on my
phone. Three more need further research.
8:15am: Start work, read two more emails,
but no action required. Enjoy a cup of tea.
8:30am: Send work order (WO) for a
leaking roof. Send email to a real estate
agent advising there’s a blocked vanity and
it’s their issue. Send email to another real
estate agent advising how to progress with
a new floor request.
Prepare work for a strata assistant.
9:00am: The day officially starts.
I answer four phone calls in quick succession.
There’s a garage door not working in
Annandale. I send a WO.
I send information about a floor request
to an executive committee in Surry Hills.
I send a reminder to a builder to fix a wall
in Potts Point. Phew, squeeze in a coffee!
9:30am: Read five more emails needing
various degrees of attention.
10:30am: Read six more emails.
There’s an urgent WO needed for balcony
glass that’s in danger of falling.
I prepare for an executive meeting at 1:30pm.
11:00am: More coffee. Discuss with other
strata managers how best to address
renovations, carried out without approval.
I receive an angry phone call about an
11:30am: I sign off on some invoices.
Three need executive approval but the
other 20 are good
change the chart
of account on two, and one of the invoices
needs to be claimed on insurance.
Noon: I send a new business proposal to a
prospect in Chipping Norton. There
are only two lots but it’s a commercial
block, so worth having.
12:30pm: I answer a pile of emails that
have built up while I did the invoices.
1:00pm: Quick snack/coffee at my desk.
1:30pm: Drive to an executive meeting.
I discuss a strategy for dealing with
legal costs being sought from the owners
corporation. I agree the matter needs to
go to a general meeting of the owners.
3:00pm: I arrive back at the office to find
more emails. I answer the important ones,
others will have to wait. I issue two more
WO’s for a roofer and a plumber.
3:30pm: I reply to three missed calls.
4:00pm: More coffee.
4:30pm: Final rush of phone calls.
5:00pm: Phones switched to after-hours
service, at last. I catch up on missed
emails, and prepare for tonight’s annual
general meeting (AGM).
6:00pm: I leave for the AGM.
7:30pm: The AGM goes well so I can leave
‘early’ and go home.
7:50pm: I take beer from the fridge at
home. It’s Friday tomorrow, life’s good!
A day in the life of a strata
manager. Andrew Jakes shares his
diary entry for a day.
it can be financially rewarding if you’re
successful. Jakes says a six-figure income is
easily obtainable and there are also rewarding
commissions for strata managers within
larger firms. Employees might start at about
$50,000, while a more experienced manager
would earn about $70,000.
There are lots of side industries after life as
a strata manager, including fire protection,
window lock compliance and strata searches.
“When you buy a unit you get a strata
search and a lot of burnt out strata managers
move into this industry,” Jakes says.
“ That way you don’t have to deal with
clients. You only deal with conveyances.”
You might also get a job with a larger firm.
Some strata managers become developers
or strata lawyers. They might move into
insurance or become brokers. The options are
endless but one thing’s for sure – there’s every
chance you can handle absolutely any kind of
job after years of abuse as a strata manager.
Jakes describes day-to-day life as 25 per cent
legal, 25 per cent accounting and 50 per cent
“In that regard, it’s quite interesting,”
“You’re very close to what’s happening in
real life, politically and environmentally.”
Jakes says half of the day is usually spent
‘putting out fires’, meaning responding to
calls about leaking roofs, people locked out
of their unit or complaints about things like
parking and trees. The other half of the day is
spent renewing insurance policies, handling
compliance issues, attending meetings
and making sure all books and accounts
“Dealing with the fires stops you getting to
the second part,” Jakes warns.
“Most of the compliance work I do is
when the phones aren’t ringing. We turn
the phones off after five (so we can do
BEHIND THE SCENES n Body Corporate Manager
Links Archive October 2014 December 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page