Buildings with design faults can cause financial problems

A sectional title building in need of refurbishing which then is discovered to have a number of design faults and waterproofing issues can create huge financial problems and strain on the reserve funds the body corporate has set aside (if they have any), says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company IHFM.

When IHFM was called in to assist at a 92 unit ten year old complex in Kenilworth, it was found that each block (the scheme is made up of six smaller blocks), needed to be assessed separately as they had different configurations. It was then found that each block had a vast amount of damp and damage to the external walls, which would need to be seen to before the building could be painted (which was at first the original job at hand), he said.

In another inspection, when the body corporate wanted to install prepaid metres for the water supply, they realised they couldn’t because the plumbing had been installed badly and now does not comply with the relevant regulations and standards, he said.

These problems are often encountered where developers are in a hurry to build and sell off the units and there isn’t a lot of thought put into the practical living situations of the residents thereafter, said Bauer. On consultation of the plans it was also found that the buildings differed to the plans drawn up.

“The problems in this complex were inherited and the trustees had no option but to deal with the situation as best as possible,” he said.

Each of the six blocks had problems with stairwells, overhanging roofs and covered walkways, guttering and roofing, in addition to the sections themselves, which took, working block by block, six months to complete.

The overall amount spent in refurbishing this scheme was R1,2 million.

“A positive here is that the trustees were prudent in looking ahead and had funds available. They had to raise a special levy but only to cover a third of what was needed to complete the job,” said Bauer.

The trustees here had devised a plan of action, called in IHFM, and with the help of professionals, executed the plan. There was clear communication at all times between the trustees and the owners with a specific idea as to what needed to be done.

They realised that there were serious problems and worked out a strategy to sort out all the problems and not just to “patch up” sections, which would later need further work, said Bauer.

“A structured approach to maintenance and repair to any sectional title scheme will not amount the large cash outlay if the building is allowed to get into a state of disrepair. It is always much wiser to do the work necessary instead of taking shortcuts,” he said.


Article by:

comments powered by Disqus