Long-Term Maintenance Plan's Best Practice has come out of a need.
The Unit Titles Act 2010 introduced mandatory long-term maintenance plans (Plans) for bodies corporate (BC’s) and while the accompanying Unit Titles Regulations 2011 provides some prescribed requirements, there has been little other information or guidance in regard to the structure, content and standards of Plans from what might be called an “official” source.
Rather, everyone has been left to work out for themselves what a Plan might look like and because the legislation is not an easy read and allows a certain freedom of interpretation, the inevitable result is that there are many differing opinions on what a Plan should contain.
One outcome of this lack of certainty, is that most elected officers of BC’s and their managers have found it easier to ask a contractor to prepare a Plan for them and a whole new industry was born.
Inevitably this only magnified the problem because this new industry is made up of a range of different businesses, from one-man bands to large multinational corporations, all with different agendas, policies and ideas about what a Plan should look like and what it should contain.
Then when you throw into the mix those Plans that have been built by enthusiastic owner-volunteers, building managers, architects, builders, developers and a whoever else, we have ended up with an eclectic national collection.
Not that we will ever be able to compare, analyse or critique these Plans, because there is no central authority that cares enough to build a database or process to manage this. Currently at least. Although the indications are that this situation is unlikely to change in the near future.
But why not an official best practice and standards?
But then surely there are industry groups that could take up the role of providing best practice and standards?
Well, at the moment there is no “long-term maintenance plan building contractor's association” or equivalent. Maybe that will come in time, although such bodies are costly to set up and administer without volunteers. Also some of the contractors building plans in NZ are based in Australia.
Then because the industry is so fresh, it’s likely that after the initial flood of interest, there will less money to be made and a few players will move on.
But discussion on this is welcomed.
But what about the industry leadership groups?
Then there are the other industry leadership groups - the Strata Community Association and the Body Corporate Chair’s Group. Maybe they should be taking the lead here?
That is a valid point but knowing the full agendas of these organisations and being aware that they are run by volunteers, it is unlikely they would have the resources for such a project. At least not in the short term.
But again, discussion, feedback and recommendations from either or both groups is most welcome.
Could we not have an NZS standard?
Perhaps in time, we may be able to set up a committee and create a New Zealand Standard for Plans, using the services of Standards New Zealand. That way we would have something more “official”. But again it involves a lot of volunteer work and also some costs.
So in the meantime, accepting that there weren’t too many other options, it came to one of those "screw it, just do it" moments. Because if nothing else, we now have something to discuss and critique if necessary. A starting point if you like.
Because there is a need right now and it can’t wait.
And anyway, we think (obviously) the articles and standards listed on this website are likely to be pretty close to the mark.
So welcome to Long-Term Maintenance Plans Best Practice. It’s a free service and feedback is encouraged, even if - actually especially if - you disagree with any of the statements made on this website.
Prepared by: John Bradley. August 2016