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Strata Management in Highrise Buildings

Strata Management can vary a great deal from one community to the next, due to factors like building systems, amenity spaces, number of residents, type of demographics and Strata Councils’ preferred management styles.  The following key highlights may provide a better understanding of the specific needs of high-rise communities:

1.  Developers have a duty to act in the best interest of the Strata Corporation under the Strata Property Act.  As high-rise buildings are typically the most complex communities, extra attention is needed from the Developer’s team, right from the start.  The initial set-up, prior to the “grand opening”, should include the following:

  • The Developer should carefully select the Management Company to ensure they have the experience needed to manage high-rise Stratas.  The carefully selected, yet “random” management company, will act in the best interest of the Strata Corporation (and “at arm’s length” from the Developer).
  • The Developer will have to provide all required building documents outlined in the Strata Property Act, “Section 20”.  In addition, if the Strata is part of a mix-use complex with other components, such as commercial units, townhomes, shared clubhouse, etc., it is paramount for the Developer’s legal team to provide details of the legal set-up and any cost-sharing in the Disclosure Statement and Bylaws.  In mix-use Stratas, you would typically see “Air Space Parcel”, “Sections” and “Types” arrangements (legal set-up/entities).
  • It will be of utmost importance for the Developer’s Customer Service Team, to provide helpful support to address Warranty/Deficiency concerns in a timely fashion.

2.     Strata Council Members should be elected with due care and preferably via individual majority vote.  As the duly elected Council will be in charge of the multimillion-dollar strata corporation, it would be prudent for the Owners to elect the most qualified people, not only with the right skill set (and the willingness to learn), but also ensuring Council Members will have the time, required to manage the Strata Community.

3.      As Owners & Tenants move into their new homes, they have certain expectations to enjoy their building to the fullest.  However, it is often understated, how important it is for everyone, to make an effort to become a helpful and contributing part of the whole community.  The Council, Developer, Service Providers, Staff and Management Company, won’t be able to do it alone.  In order to set realistic expectations and to help foster a friendly, thriving community, residents should show interest in the governance of their Strata property, by reading all meeting Minutes, Bylaws & Rules and attending the general meetings each year.  Always try to be part of the solution.

4.      Managing Agents play a key role in the day-to-day operations of the building.  Your Strata Manager and his/her team will be providing support to the Strata Council, residents, completing certain workflows outlined in the “Agency Agreement” and liaising between parties (including other service providers).  Selecting the “right-fit” management company is key, as their experience and knowledge will help things run as smoothly as possible.  In large high-rise buildings, with so many moving parts, being structured and organized is an absolute must.  

5.      Service Providers will specify their services in their contracts. It is important for Council to review all service contracts, to understand what they can expect. Some contracts are also tied to certain warranties, which will be important to maintain. It would be my recommendation for Council Members to take on different positions/roles on Council to share the workload, as evenly as possible. 

The Council Member assigned/volunteered for “The Building Maintenance” position should also meet with service providers regularly to build a relationship and gather useful information, which will also be helpful at budget meetings, when the next fiscal year’s budget is being planned.  While the Strata Manager and management company will provide tremendous administrative support to Council and the Owners, the biggest take away in every community, and especially the large high-rise communities, is teamwork.  We are all in this together!