Committee responsibilities and building defects

Managing defects isn’t straightforward, and committees should try and inform owners as much as possible

Dealing with defects as a committee member or owner isn’t straightforward. However, committees should communicate and work with owners to make the process as easy as possible. Regular communication allows people to know things are progressing and assists to reduce anxiety.

Defects, particularly in larger buildings, can impact owners in different ways. For example, a significant waterproofing issue may impact one level of owners and not another. Or, situations can evolve over time as owners see defects become more pronounced.

Committees should prioritise clear communication with owners to try and make the process more manageable, they should also look to continually reassess what is fair and reasonable in terms of priorities. This is particularly true for large-scale works. For example, in larger buildings where some owners are more negatively impacted than others, the committee can implement a staggered approach and attend to those suffering the most first.

Helpful techniques for dealing with committee responsibilities and building defects:

  • Stepping outside the classic ‘AGM’ format
  • Holding town hall-style meetings that allow people to participate
  • Getting experts, like lawyers and engineers, to attend meetings and take questions from owners
  • Sending newsletters and updates regularly
  • Making sure updates cover what has been done, where the process is up to, and what is going to happen in the immediate and near future
  • Confirming that the type of communication types and process are appropriate for everyone within their community and building
  • Letting owners know when they can expect another update.

Develop subcommittees and a systematic way of information sharing

Many of the experts used in a defects process will bill by the hour. This makes having a systematic approach to information sharing important. Given how consuming defect processes are, not all owner-based management has to come from those on your committee. Owners can decide to develop subcommittees for specific issues.

Developing subcommittees shares the load and makes dealing with defects as a committee member easier by allowing for easier information distribution. For example, you can develop a subcommittee whose role is dedicated to being the direct communication line between owners and experts. This means that for the small ins and outs and regular conversations that must happen, your subcommittee can directly liaise with the expert and relay information back to all owners. This saves numerous people communicating with experts asking similar questions and receiving inflated billing.

If you join a subcommittee, make sure you ask owners and your community what questions they would like you to have answered.If you’d like to find out more about building compliance for your strata property, download our FREE Community Living guide.