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Managing The Building Manager

Nearly all residential apartment complexes and many large townhouse developments over 60 units have an onsite building manager. The role of the building manager varies depending on the type and complexity of the multi-unit development. Each building manager is an “independent contractor” to the Body Corporate with an employment contract that is administered by the Body Corporate via the Chairperson,the Committee and Strata.

An onsite building manager is required to maintain a register of residents in the building or complex, to co-ordinate residents moving in and out of the units (eg. provide lift protection guards during the movement of bulky goods or furniture) and to liaise with landlords and their tenants to promote an harmonious atmosphere throughout the building or complex. The building manager provides Strata, as agent for the Body Corporate, with a monthly written report on the operation of the building detailing all attendances by police, emergency services, and listing any problems with, or failures of, the building’s services and recording all callouts of any service contractor (eg. the lift maintenance or air conditioning contractors). Depending on the size of the Body Corporate the building manager may be responsible for cleaning common facilities.

Where a Body Corporate has an onsite building manager, that person is responsible for: onsite liaison between residents (who may be either proprietors or tenants); control of any contractors working for the Body Corporate; and supervising access by emergency services to any unit. The building manager will have a copy of the “as-built” plans of services to the building and reports to the Body Corporate’s consulting engineer when carrying out such Compliance Schedule inspections under the Building Act which do not require the services of an Independent Qualified Person (IQP). The building manager also ensures that anyone living in the apartments adheres to all fire safety regulations and requirements of the Building Act.

The contract between the building manager and the Body Corporate usually requires the building manager to be: an “independent contractor”; a “legal person” exempt from the provisions of the Employment Relations Act 2000; registered for the purposes of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985, and to pay the Accident Compensation Corporation premium. The building manager must observe the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993 with respect to any personal information obtained about a proprietor or resident and must return to the Body Corporate, when the building manager’s contract expires, all records and information held.

Commonly the onsite building manager’s remuneration package includes the costs of renting the building manager’s premises. Usually an investor owns the office, carpark and flat occupied by the building manager and the Body Corporate is required to pay the building manager a “premises rental” being an annual sum equating to the rent payable to the investor plus the “owner’s outgoings” (Body Corporate levies and rates).

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