Bodies Corporate have been required to establish and review Long Term Maintenance Plans (LTMPs) since 2010, but they’re not all created equal.
If you want an independent review and update of your LTMP to ensure it is accurate and covers all the items you need including, then you might want to consider these three questions:
- Is the consultant developing the plan in consultation with you?
Many LTMPs we’ve been asked to review weren’t being followed because the expenditure was too great or unrealistic as a result of the consultant producing the LTMP with little or no consultation with the Body Corporate.
Our approach is different.
We work in consultation with a Body Corporate: we identify issues and maintenance obligations that exist for their building or complex, and then discuss priorities and budgetary constraints with the client, after which we align activity to the budget to ensure maintenance activity is affordable and expenditure is, therefore, normalised over the period of the plan.
Often, a LTMP produced for a building needing a lot of maintenance will show an expenditure spike in the early years, which then tapers off as activity is undertaken and the building is brought back up to a maintainable standard. In consultation with our clients, and if required, we would normalise expenditure over the life of the plan. This means there is a much greater chance of it being implemented.
- Will your LTMP work in practice?
LTMPs should start with a detailed survey of the building with consideration of the actual condition of building infrastructure and elements, their remaining life expectancy and the requirement for future maintenance. This will ensure the LTMP gives each Body Corporate the information it needs to maintain the asset to a reasonable standard and to a level that will benefit all stakeholders by protecting the asset’s value and desirability.
Unfortunately, many LTMPs are written in a manner where they rely on theoretical life expectancies of building elements and infrastructure and the danger of that is it doesn’t always work in practice. Detailed surveying of a property by Building Surveyors who really understand construction and, in particular, defects and failures allows the Surveyor to determine the ACTUAL condition of each item. In some cases, components may need premature maintenance while others may be performing well and remain in good condition, prolonging the need for expenditure.
- Do you want to eliminate the risk of needing to raise significant amounts of money to make repairs you weren’t aware of?
Often, LTMPs are produced in a manner that excludes specialist input such as hydraulic, electrical, HVAC engineering etc. This lack of specialist input can lead to Bodies Corporate getting misleading advice, resulting in reactive expenditure on maintenance that was not planned for. If that expenditure is significant there is also the potential that works may have to be delayed whilst funds are raised, which could result in loss of certain facilities and, in extreme circumstances, the creation of Health and Safety risk.
Often surveyors who produce LTMP’s look at and provide comment on specialist services that may not necessarily be within their field of expertise. There is not necessarily anything wrong with such an approach provided the advice is caveated, however if this is accepted then the Body Corporate needs to understand the implications, which they often do not.
If you engage us to develop or review your LTMP we will work with you to determine whether we look at all components or just those that you are concerned about.
A 10-step approach to developing or reviewing and updating a LTMP
Step 1: Review the existing LTMP and other relevant documentation you provide.
Step 2: Complete an initial survey of the complex to consider the items included in the existing plan and any other items that may be beneficial to include.
Step 3: Attend an initial meeting with representatives from the Body Corporate to discuss and agree the items to be included in and excluded from the plan.
Step 4: Complete a visual survey:
- of the exterior of the buildings across the site (where accessible) and interior of all accessible common areas and record the materials used for the construction and the condition of elements.
- of external ground works and infrastructure servicing the buildings, including driveways, paths, fencing, walls, etc. Recording the materials and construction, and the condition of elements.
Step 5: Brief and engage other specialist sub-consultant services on behalf of the Body Corporate as agreed with the Body Corporate. Such other specialist sub-consultants may include electrical, mechanical, HVAC, Hydraulic/drainage and structural engineering, etc.
Step 6: Quantity Surveyor to cost out the required maintenance activity for the listed finishes and elements.
Step 7: Meet with the client to discuss maintenance items required and prioritise these in order to normalise expenditure over the life of the LTMP.
Step 8: Update the existing long-term maintenance plan identifying the items and forecasted costs over a 10year period.
Step 9: Attend a meeting with the Body Corporate representatives to present the draft plan, resultant expenditure obligations and make any changes as agreed.
Step 10: Final update and issuing of the plan.
Background to LTMPs
Under the Unit Titles Act (2010) all Bodies Corporate are required to establish a Long Term Maintenance Plan (LTMP) covering at least 10 years from the date of the plan or its last review. It must be reviewed every 3 years.
The purpose of a LTMP is to identify future maintenance requirements and estimate the costs involved, support the establishment and management of the funds, provide a basis for the levying of owners of principal units and provide ongoing guidance to the body corporate to assist it in making it annual maintenance decisions.
According to Section 138 of the Unit Titles Act (2010) Bodies Corporate must repair and maintain common property, assets designed for use in connection with the common property, any other assets owned by the body corporate and building elements and infrastructure that relate to, or serve, more than one unit.
Each Body Corporate must also establish and maintain a long-term maintenance fund unless it decides, by special resolution, not to do so. The fund may only be applied towards spending relating to the LTMP and the Body Corporate must, again by special resolution, approve any amount to be spent on any one maintenance item if the amount exceeds the amount specified for that item in the LTMP by more than 10%.
If you’d like to engage a specialist to review or develop your LTMP, please call us on T: +64 (0)9 912 2550 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maynard Marks is a specialist building consultancy, whose experts have been trained to understand buildings and to help manage technical issues that could arise with them throughout their lifecycle. This means we are the appropriate professionals to partner with you for the provision of this service.