With strata living continuing to grow at an accelerated pace in Sydney and surrounds, the roles of strata committee and strata manager play an integral role in managing the complexities of common spaces and community living.

Looking ahead in 2024, we are seeking to improve our services to our owners corporations in several key areas:

1. Asset Protection & Projects: A New Role at McCormacks

In early January we wrote to our building managers introducing John Brooker as the head of our Asset Protection and Projects team. This role places a laser focus on asset and strata compliance, working with our building manager to ensure all matters compliance are up-to-date and reported to the strata committee.

Compliance with regulations in buildings is vast, and includes fire, lift, mechanical, pool, work health and safety, along with all your strata obligations such as insurance, valuations and 10-year capital works plans.

This year, you will see improved reporting on compliance activities and due dates along with an up-to-date contracts register which will enable your committee to plan effectively and make informed, transparent decisions.

The role is also designed to assist buildings that do not have an engaged facilities manager with maintenance, property improvement projects such as sustainability initiatives and contractor review.

2. Technology Integration

In 2024, we are working to develop and integrate our processes with best-in-class technology – seeking to drive both efficiencies and an outstanding customer experience. These include implementation of online voting for efficient and transparent decision making, driving compliance with regulations, a building manager access portal and ongoing roll-out of the McCormacks CONNECT mobile application.

McCormacks continues to lead the way, evolving its mobile app for greater integration with our core processes. Designed to transform how we communicate and engage with owners and residents, the McCormacks CONNECT app helps strata and building managers, committees and owners by automating tasks, deploying notifications, booking building amenities and more.

3. Strata Reforms and Legal Updates

Prior to the end of last year, the NSW Government gazetted reforms of strata laws with the goal of creating a fairer and more transparent system for community living.

With the appointment of John Minns to Strata and Property Services Commissioner, the government will move forward on critical reforms to strata laws, implementing key changes.

There will be an impact from the upcoming NSW Strata Laws for owners:

(See the video discussion here.)

A wider reform agenda is underway, with a focus on potential hardship measures to assist owners struggling with levy arrears. And strata insurance – both affordability and availability – will almost certainly come under the regulatory microscope.

The government has flagged other areas it wants closely scrutinised. While the first tranche of legislative reforms included some measures to encourage strata renewal, it wants to do more in this area to encourage redevelopment of under-capitalised residential schemes.

4. Team Wellness and Engagement

The pandemic underscored the importance of community and wellness and this extends to our team also. Strata comes with a unique set of challenges where we are seeking to comply with regulations, provide a great customer experience, and deal with owners who are passionate about their homes. This confluence can drive stress and burnout in strata managers.

Therefore, in 2024 we introduce a new flexible work policy that includes two annual Wellness Days whereby our office will be closed, and our team provided the chance to recharge. We appreciate your understanding for one Friday in May and another in August when these days are scheduled.

Our flexible work policy balances the need for teamwork whilst recognising modern work practices. And this assists us in attracting the best managers in the industry to serve your building. To ensure manager availability, all strata managers have mobile numbers made available to committee members.

5. Remote Work and Amenity Adaptation

Like us, many of the owners and residents have adapted to work remotely part of full time. The rise of remote work has led to a change in the profile of the strata community itself. As a result, there is a shift in priorities amongst strata communities.

Strata committees may need to adapt common areas and amenities to accommodate the changing needs of residents who spend more time working from home. This might include:

Navigating these trends will involve effective communication, collaboration and proactive decision-making in order to successfully manage your strata property in 2024.

Embracing innovation while prioritising the needs and well-being of residents will be central to creating thriving and sustainable communities for the future, while ensuring your own property’s marketability and value growth.

By Hugh McCormack, Managing Director – McCormacks Strata Management. Reach out to the team at McCormacks for further information.