Building Managers are busy people who wear a number of different hats each day. There’s a lot to manage too, not just the actual structure, but also the community living or working (or both) within the building. A building manager’s role is varied and no two days are likely to be the same. But it’s not for everyone. If you’re thinking of treading the path to becoming a building manager, there are certain qualities and tools you’ll need.
What does a building manager do?
Each Building Manager role will be slightly different from others thanks to the nature of the building they manage. No two buildings – or the communities within those buildings – are the same. However, there are certain tasks and responsibilities that nearly always fall to the Building Manager.
Maintain the building This might seem obvious, but it’s not the whole building that building managers take care of – residents still need to keep their own apartments (and commercial spaces in the case of mixed-use buildings) clean, tidy and in good repair! The reception area, hallway lighting, communal areas like lawns, BBQs and swimming pools are the domain of responsibility that falls to the building manager. They’ll keep things safe and working properly.
Liaise with the Body Corporate The Body Corporate Committee are responsible for proposing and passing the by-laws of the community to help everyone get along. They also decide the owners’ fees, take out insurance for shared areas, keep building records and manage and control assets. They need to work in tandem with the building manager for things to run smoothly for everyone.
Stay on top of Insurance Claims and By-Laws Building managers will do the leg work for any insurance claims that may need to be made. That means keeping a record of claims as well as providing any paperwork needed for submitting or responding to claims. They will also police the Body Corporate By-Laws to ensure they are adhered to and all breaches are remedied asap.
Keep essential records Meeting minutes, maintenance schedules, defect reports, asset registers and more, the building manager is responsible for keeping track of the building’s life and the community within it. Many of the records kept are a legal requirement, others are essential to stay on top of things.
Key skills of a great building manager
Along with some great tools – which we get to in the section below – there are some key personal qualities all great building managers have.
People skills are essential. When negotiating with the body corporate, responding to complaints and maintenance requests or simply following up work with different contractors, relating well to others whilst being assertive enough to make sure the job gets done properly is paramount to success. It’s more than good customer service, a great building manager genuinely likes people, communicates clearly and loves helping solve problems for and between others.
Strong problem solving coupled with critical thinking skills are necessary for the many different situations a building manager must take care of. Whether handling tenants complaints or figuring out why the communal pool filter keeps breaking down, a person who enjoys solving unexpected issues in ways that keep everyone smiling will do well as a building manager.
A great eye for detail and a results-oriented approach is essential for making sure all ‘i’s’ are dotted and ‘t’s’ are crossed in line with regulations and legal requirements. An interest in best practices for managing real estate, state regulations and changes to property law will also stand building managers in good stead
Top tools building managers need
Much of the day is spent communicating, negotiating, and notifying when you’re a building manager. The tools you rely on most to get your job done will be a telephone and email account.
A building management system that brings communication streams together and helps keep track of conversations will save time and ensure you stay on top of the myriad tasks that should be monitored.
Sending group notifications to people in your building can cut in half the time spent notifying residents about changes to policies or the building. The ability to track contacts and touchpoints from telephone conversations, SMS and email follow-ups will be essential for ensuring contractors can – and have – done their job. A robust communication system is a must.
Some building management tools empower residents by putting some of the tasks into their hands. For example, changing contact details or registering pets in apartments. Calls about maintenance requests can keep building managers on the phone for hours! Tools that enable residents to snap a photo of the problem and lodge it directly to a shared system save time and get the ball rolling on repairs much faster.
An accounting system that allows you to keep track of budgets, security deposits, payments from tenants and owners, payments to maintenance contractors and engineers, and all other financial aspects of the building management role is a must-have. Accounting systems for building management need to be able to keep track of more income and expense streams than the average small business management accountancy package. Property IQ is one such system that has all financial aspects of building management covered.
The role of a building manager is never dull. It takes a skilled and patient professional to support a building and the community within it well. To become a great building manager, make sure you develop the right skills and have the right tools to hand. It can be a very fulfilling and satisfying career for the right people.