Organising Major Maintenance Works

In this eleventh episode of our communal property essentials series I’m going to cover how to organize larger scale maintenance projects for your apartment building or resort, how to finance these works and organize the bidding process.

Episode 11 of our Communal Property Essentials Series.

Video Transcript

In this eleventh episode of our communal property essentials series I’m going to cover how to organize larger scale maintenance projects for your apartment building or resort, how to finance these works and organize the bidding process.

All buildings require constant maintenance and most of the time this is just minor repairs but occasionally you are going to need to organise a larger scale project.  For example, your building may be getting to the stage where it requires a complete repaint, or your pool surface may be at the end of its expected life.

While small maintenance can be organised with minimal hassle, larger jobs require a little more attention as there are specific considerations when organising major maintenance works.

Selecting a Suitable Time

When major works are being done there can be a considerable amount of disruption to your buildings residents, however this disruption can be reduced by proper planning and timing.

For example: If your building experiences heavy summer seasonal occupancy, you can plan to organise these works prior to, or after the season. Remember, if you plan to organise these works before the season, keep in mind that they can easily overrun, so make sure there is a suitable buffer period before the summer season starts to accommodate any delays.

Protect yourself against liability

If you select a poor-quality provider or hire someone operating illegally without relevant qualifications & insurance, you can be held ultimately liable for the consequences. 

Remember the committee hold the ultimate duty of care towards the building/resort and its owners.  So check that they are a registered company or a registered sole trader, that they include their registration numbers on their quotes, invoices and receipts and that they hold insurance for the work you are requesting them to do.  If they are working on electrics, ask to see their EAC cert card.  If they are maintaining your pool, ask to see their operator qualifications and so on.

Also avoid any company who is trying to avoid paying VAT or taxes.  While the lower cost is tempting, this is always a red flag as it demonstrates their lack of respect and willingness to play by the rules, and they could have the same attitude towards safety and work quality.

Also don’t just take a provider’s word on their warranty.  A warranty is only a strong as the company that provides it. 

If that company goes out of business or if its not even a company and that contractor decides to retire or change careers your warranty could be worthless.  You could always take legal action, but this is itself expensive, there is no guarantees and even if you win getting the money can still be difficult.

Ask for how long that provider has been in business, details on their registered address, who holds the warranty is it them or an equipment manufacturer and ask for the warranty terms to be provided in a separate document.

Financing Major Works

Ideally you will have a detailed maintenance plan so major maintenance items will not come unexpectedly, and you will have a contingency fund and/or a maintenance fund ready to pay for these works when required. 

That’s the ideal, however things rarely work this way.  You may need to approach unit owners and ask for them to pay an extra payment on top of their normal communal fees to cover the cost of this maintenance.

It’s not a pleasant task, but it is in everyone’s interest to keep the building well maintained, and most units would stand to lose far more in property value than the extra payment if these are not organised. 

The bidding processes

Unless it is part of an existing contract or management agreement, you should always obtain quotations/bids from at least three different providers.  

This can be quite a challenge, as many companies are reluctant to quote on communal developments. 

This is because many of these contractors have learnt that its quote common for developments to waste their time by asking for quotes for jobs even though they have no intention in proceeding and they just to get an idea on the price. 

So to combat this, only get quotes when you know you are very likely to proceed with the work, inform the bidders of this and give a fixed timeline for the bidding process, also you may need to pay for their time when providing a quote. 

I know we are all used to this whole free quotation thing but providing quotes costs these companies money and so offering to cover this cost can help get the magic 3 quotes you need to make a decision.

It’s important to make sure that any vendor selected as part of this bid process is suitable and has all relevant qualifications.  Remember, you get what you pay for, so the lowest bid is not always the most cost effective. 

Leed into next Video. Selecting third party vendors

If you have a copy of ‘The Ultimate Committee Handbook’, Chapter 8: ‘Maintenance of your Building’ explains in detail how to organise a fair and professional bidding process and how to select the winning contractor.

But if you don’t have a copy of this book yet, stay tuned as I will be covering how to select third party vendors in more detail in the next episode of this communal property essentials video series.


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Russell Flick

Experienced Property Professional, Public Speaker & Author of 'The Ultimate Committee Handbook'. In addition to his published books, Russell is a public speaker, columnist and founder of, the online information portal for property owners to get support and advice on all aspects of communal property ownership and management.