Thursday, 29 October 2015

Mental Strength & Facilities Management / Owners Association Management

Mental strength and OAM or FM …seems like a very unlikely connection?A lot of you may wonder what has mental strength got to do with FM and OAM? Well Owners Association Management and Facilities Management has a lot to do with mental strength. 


Mental strength in my opinion is the ability to compartmentalise your thoughts and emotions so that it will not get in the way of your decision making. It is the ability to keep calm in trying situations and the ability to keep a positive attitude when facing trying times. 


Since I am not an expert in this field, i  am going to touch as little as i can on how you can improve your mental strength. It is best that you explore the “how” portion on your own, but one popular method of improving mental strength is meditation. Anyway, as you explore more on ways you can improve your mental strength you will find that they all have one common denominator and that is to teach you to relax. Enough about the how let us get to the crux of this topic. 


No matter which country you are working in, the job of a Facilities Manager or a Strata Manager is surrounded by a sea of negativity. For the most parts an FM or OAM is aways dealing with problems from human to technical.  Dealing with unhappy tenants and service providers on a daily basis can definitely take a toll on anyone. Everyday you are faced with a thousand and one problems to solve. Its understandable that on some days or weeks it can be so trying that you may find it hard to get out of bed. 

When you are filled with negative emotions, it is very hard to perform your job well. Coming from a negative place and having to deal with less than ideal situations at work may prove to be detrimental to your performance. Negative emotions may cloud your judgement and cause you to make impulsive decisions. 

A good FM is one who is able to conquer his or her emotions and think objectively. An FM’s job is not just based on technical and theoretical knowledge, FM’s job also has a large Emotional component to it as 90% of the job involves dealing with and managing people and this requires a tremendous amount of mental strength and control over one’s emotions. If you have read my entry on dealing with complains you will find how relevant mental strength is in your job as an FM. 
Company Level

For an FM or an OAM company, your people is your asset. It is therefore good if you could invest in the betterment of your staff , improving their quality of life. On a company level you can conduct courses on improving mental strength for the benefit of your staffs. People who are mentally strong thrives in a challenging environment. I am sure I don’t have to tell you that certain commercial,industrial or even residential property can have a tenant mix that can be especially challenging for an FM or OA manager. Despite an experienced FM, you will also need someone who have a good control over their emotions and tremendous mental strength so that they can withstand the challenges faces, sometimes on a daily basis, for longer duration. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Owners Association Management Part II (Owners Association)

Let’s continue where we left off. In my previous post, I mentioned that the Owners Association is a legal entity. The Owners Association consists of all owners and at every General Meeting a group of owners will be elected to form “the Board”. The function of the board is basically to manage and maintain the shared areas and facilities , also known as common areas, on behalf of the rest of the owners. The Board consists of minimum 5 and a maximum of 7 members(this number may vary in different countries) . The services of the Board is not paid, it is usually on a voluntary basis. Owners who are elected by fellow unit owners to join the Board can always decline. 

In every country, the conduct and role of the Board is clearly defined or spelled out in the relevant laws. In Dubai for example, the law governing this is the Jointly Owned Property Law, in Singapore its called Building and Strata Management Act. 

Every Owners Association will collect service charges from all owners to raise funds to manage and maintain the property. The funds collected are categorised into General Fund and Reserve Fund. The General Fund will be used to fund the day to day operations of the estate like paying for cleaners, utilities charges,landscape contractors, paying for repair and replacement works so that the shared areas, facilities and equipments in the estate is maintained and are in good working order. The Reserve Fund on the other hand, like  its name suggest, are funds reserved for carrying out repair/replacement or maintenance for long term capital items.

The amount of service charges levied from each unit owner is derived based on the share value or ‘unit entitlement’ which is in turn proportionate to  the floor area of the unit. Each country has a certain criteria to follow when assigning share value or unit entitlement to a unit.This ensures an equitable distribution.

Apart from overseeing or ensuring that the common areas and facilities are in good working order, the Board is also given the task to ensure that the community rules are being abide by. This usually the more challenging role as it is not easy to ensure that everyone living in the building follow the rules. 

Sounds like a lot of work for a volunteer you might say, well sadly it is true, however the Board can choose to delegate their duties to an Owners Association Management.  We will elaborate more on Owners Association Management in the next entry. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Owners Association Management Part I (Strata Titled Property/Jointly Owned Property)

What exactly is Owner’s Association Management (OAM)? Some of you may be familiar with this term but for some this may be the first time that you are hearing this and not to mentioned is pretty much overwhelmed by the whole concept.  You may have just moved into a building that is managed by an Owner’s Association and you may have some problems understanding what they do and how they operate. So this is pretty much for you guys out there who is new to OAM. 

Before going further to elaborate on Owner’s Association Management, let me first touch on the reason OAM exist. Basically, there are a certain category of property that are classified as Strata Titled. This properties are basically divided both horizontally and/or  vertically and has some shared areas. A good and common example will be a condominium. A condominium consists of several apartment units (that are owned by different people) with shared common areas and facilities like corridors, lift lobbies , stairwells,swimming pool, lifts etc. The shared area basically are jointly owned by all the owners in the condominium. It is therefore the responsibility of all the unit owners in a condominium to manage and maintain these shared areas and facilities. 

Strata titled properties are common in countries like Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

The Owners Association basically consist of all owners in a Jointly Owned Property and every year the condominium will hold a General Meeting to elect a group of owners to represent all the owners to manage and maintain the common areas and shared facilities. 

India- Apartment Owners Association/ Co-operative Housing Society

Thailand- Corporate Committee

Singapore- Management Council

Malaysia - Condominium or Apartment Residents Association

These Owners Associations is a legal entity which can sue and be sued. It works just like a company with shareholders, the company is basically a separate legal entity from its shareholders.