Property Management & Maintenance

Property Management And Maintenance

Introduction

Building can be described as a structure that has a roof and walls according to Longman Dictionary.

Definitions

Building life cycle

The life cycle of a building can be categorized into four stages which are:
(a) New Age
(b) Middle Age
(c) Old Age
(d) Redevelopment Stage.

New Age: This is the stage when a building is newly developed and available to b put into various uses. At this stage, all the building components are still new with long durable life span.

Middle Age: This is the stage at which the building components begins to wear and tear due to various factors such as users’ action, environmental factors, mechanical factors and so on. The maintenance attention required at this stage is much, thereby necessitating change or replacement of some building components to prolong the life of the building.

Old Age: A building at the old age will consume a lot of maintenance cost and requires planning for complete pull down for redevelopment purpose. This is the stage at which all the building components have outlived their life span as specified by the manufacturers. The reliability of any parts of the building can no longer be guaranteed, though may still be functional.

Redevelopment Stage: This is the stage at which the entire building is pulled down for the purpose of erecting a new structure.

Building Development Process
The building process can be broken down to pre-contract stage; contract stage and post contract stage.

PRE CONTRACT STAGE
Conceptualization: This is a point at which a building development idea is conceived by a developer. The motive of development is determined at this level i.e. profit motive, prestige, political gains and ambitions etc. Also, the type of proposed structure is conceived at this development stage.

Site finding: In the absence of available site to realize the dream of a developer, the contracted agent/project manager will have to source for a suitable site that best fit the conceived development idea of a developer. The need to carryout necessary title investigation is crucial at this point to prevent buying a land that will totally kill the dream of a developer.

Feasibility and viability: The possibility of any building project coming to reality has to be determined by a seasoned professional who will have to ascertain whether the conceived idea can be realized in the available site. if yes, then question of whether the project will be viable or not now depends on the motive behind the proposed building project.

Site acquisition: On confirming that the feasibility and viability of a chosen site for development is positive, the next line of action is to acquire the site, sign the relevant document transferring the title to the new owner and take physical possession through site clearing for bounding identification and alienation.

Legal Perfection: It is essential to obtain title in forms of certificate of occupancy, Governor’s Consent, Right of Occupancy etc. from relevant authority to claim full right over a land. Approvals from relevant authority’s i.e. Physical Planning and Development Authority office, Environmental Protection agency, e. t. c. are required before the commencement of a development to avoid contravention and embarrassment.

Preparation of building drawings and approval: The drawings are designed in accordance with the brief given by the developer to the Architect, after which they are submitted to relevant authorities along with other drawings such as electrical, structural, mechanical etc. for approval.

Bill of Quantities: The estimate of the need materials and cost are prepared by the quantity surveyor to guide the developer on the likely cost of bringing his dream development to reality. This is prepared in line with the prepared drawings by the Architect.

Funding Sourcing: The developer at this stage determine methods and way to fund the proposed project, considering all available options with factors surrounding them.

CONTRACT STAGE
This stage involves invitation of various tenders from identified competent professionals using different methods of selecting the contractors. The contract may be divided between the main contractor and sub-contractors depending on methods adopted to carry out the development projects. On appointing contractors to do the project, necessary contract documents are signed to project the interest of the developer and contractor. The scope of the projects, payment plans, variation process, and method of settling dispute are clearly stated in the document to be executed by both parties and witnessed.

Disbursement of fund: The funds are disbursed in stages as may be agreed by both parties of in whole depending on the type of contract agreement.
Physical Construction: The actual construction of the physical development begins by movement of materials and labour to site for necessary action.

POST CONTRACT SALE
This is the stage at which the building is completed and ready for use or disposal by the developer. The contractor gives a grace period of month after completion (defect liability period) to rectify any problems that may likely arise from the use of the facilities. This usually includes one raining season. A retention fee of about 5% of the contract sum is held behind to take care of these minor corrections should the contractor default.
Use: the building can be put to various use by the developer ranging from letting for residential, commercial, industrial uses etc. It may also be disposed off by forms of sales, gifts, inheritance etc.
Redevelopment: This is part of the post contract stage, when the building becomes old and ready to be developed.

Building Development Team Players
There are numerous professionals and non-professionals, skilled and unskilled labours involved in building development. The players discharge their duties at different levels of construction while their impotence cannot be overlooked.
The team players are:
Developer
Project Manager
Estate Surveyors
Land Surveyors
Quantity Surveyors
Architect
Structural Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Technicians
Artisans
Lawyer
Financial Institution
Town Planners
Food Vendors
Insurance etc.

Building Classifications
There are various types of real estate property amongst which are industrial, residential, agricultural, commercial and special properties.
Industrial Property
In an ideal situation, industrial properties will be located strictly in accordance with town planning regulations.
In Nigeria for example, every tier of government creates industrial zones with the assistance of town planning authority within its area of jurisdiction. In order to make zones attractive to industrialist, government take up the provision and maintenance of infrastructural facility such as water, electricity, industrial roads and other transportation facilities.

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Need factors to be considered in the location are:

Nearness to the source of raw materials, power supply, market for the products, availability of labour, transport facilities, good political climate, legal and social factors.

Site Requirement:
Flat land: the land for industrial use must be flat because trailers cannot climb sloppy areas

Large land space: this is required to make various manufacturing process to be carried out with ease.

Soil: a suitable site must have adequate bearing capacity of subsoil to withstand usual vibration of heavy equipment.

Infrastructural facilities: essential services must be provided or capable of being provided in a reasonable numbers of sizes with adequate parking and turning points.

Commercial Properties
The need factors to be duly considered comprises of:

Market: this type of real estate requires site that is central and nodal points in the neighbourhood. A site where many traffic rates converge is very ideal and it could not necessarily be located within the central business district. A site for a wholesale business must provide adequate space for display selling and offices spaces. There is need to have ready access and parking facility of cars and Lorries for loading and off-loading of goods.

Retails Property: This requires a site in a CBD of a town which enjoys to the fullest, the advantage of many traffics routes, Retailers don’t necessary need large area of space. A site in a residential neighbourhood is equally good.

Office Building: This requires a site within commercial domain. A site in the centre of a town or along major routes is ideal for office development, user of office properties such as banks, insurance etc. Would prefer to develop office where there would be parking space, quiet surroundings, lighting, ventilation, good addresses etc.

Warehouse: This type of real estate property has direct link with the ports for manufacturing activities. Warehouse is used for storage purpose. Location of warehouses is usually considered where distribution over a fairly wide radius area of land around railway stations, seaports or good road network.

Shop: This requires location with focal points with residential area facing main road or footpath. Shoppers prefer an unbroken frontage and dislike walking past a long road area.

Petrol Filling Station: A site by the side of a busy road within a built up area where traffic is heavy and not congested but plied at a moderate speed is most ideal. Also, site must be a level one clear frontage that could be entered by traffic. A size of 40-80m frontage with depth of about 30m is adequate.

Educational Properties
This requires a site close to residential neighbourhood with light traffic flow. The necessary infrastructures like water, electricity, drainages are essential factors to be considered. It must not be located close to the industrial zone to prevent infections from industrial waste.

Recreational Properties
These are properties developed for recreational purposes e.g Amusement park, Garden Park, e.t.c. the factors to be considered include serenity, security, light traffic flow, drainage, electricity e. t. c.

Religious Properties
This should be located close to the residential estate. It requires large space for parking and light traffic flow along with other social amenities.

Residential Properties
Location of residential properties should consider availability of road network or other means of transportation. The security of lives and properties are equally paramount as well as essential facilities needed for healthy living of the residents.

Agricultural Properties
Need for fertile land, flat level area, good means of transportation, etc. are factors that need to be considered in location of agricultural properties.

Building Types

Tenement Building: – This is popularly called “face me I face you”. This type of building usually contains number of rooms that accommodates different families. It can either be on a single floor or multiple floors.

Bungalows: – This type of building is on a single floor. It can be designed to accommodate single family or more. E.g. A bungalow of 2 flats, that is, a building on a single floor with two different apartments.

Block of Flats: This type of building comprises of 2 or more flats. It may be of 4, 6, 8 or multiple flats on two or more floors. Each flat is occupied by different families.

Flat: This is an apartment designed to accommodate a single family with all facilities and bedrooms enclosed in the unit.

Duplex: This describes a building of 2 identical units with common roof on 2 floors. It will accommodate 2 different families. The two wings are either arranged side by side or front and back.

Detached houses: This is the term used to describe a building standing alone in the compound exclusively. It has a separate compound and enjoys absolute privacy. This can be on single or more floors.

Semi detached house: This is the term used to describe two identical buildings that are connected in one way or the other. This link to the other building could be at the terrace, roof, garage etc. This term is also used to describe a building in a compound comprising about 2 or more other buildings. Though standing alone but sharing compound with other structures.

High-rise: This is a building comprising of so many flats or apartments. E.g Eko Court is a residential high-rise building. It contains so many flats for various families. It is serviced by a lift to convey goods and humans from one level to the other.

Terrace Houses: This is the term used to describe buildings comprising of 4 or more units sharing a common roof on two floors.

Triplex: – This is the term used to describe a duplex with one additional unit, of common roof. This common roof span across the three identical units on 2 floors.

Mansionnette: – This is a building on about 3 floors designed for a single family to occupy. The ground floor might contain the sitting, dinning & kitchen, first floor with 1 or 2 bedrooms & others in the 2nd floor.

Building Maintenance
Need For Property Maintenance
Inadequate maintenance of the nation’s property stock led to long – standing problem of early obsolescence which now require urgent redress.
Maintenance as an activity starts the day a property or facility is completed and ready for use with a life cycle that can be classified into 3 stages as follows:
New
Middle
Old age

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Maintenance is basically required to prolong the life of a property so that it can retain the value of the investment, fulfil its required functions and present good appearance, which contributes in promoting the quality of life socially.
Maintenance can be sub-divided into 2 broad types; planned and unplanned as illustrated below:

CLASSIFICATION OF MAINTENANCE

Planned Maintenance: This is the type of maintenance work embarked upon on a building with fore knowledge of the nature of materials and preparing schedule of activity programme to keep the required standard, prolong the life span and to meet future occurrence.

Unplanned Maintenance: Maintenance undertaken without pre-determined plan such as sudden replacement of a spoilt speed governor in a power generating plant.

Preventive Maintenance: Maintenance carried out at pre-determined intervals in accordance with manufacturer’s manuals and intended to reduce the probability of failure. For example regular servicing of a generator at pre-determined hours.

Corrective Maintenance: Maintenance carried out after a failure has occurred and intended to restore an item to a state in which it can perform its required function.

Emergency Maintenance: Maintenance that is necessary to put in hand immediately to avoid “serious consequence”. This is sometime referred to as day-to-day maintenance, resulting from such incidents as gas leaks, storm damage such as roof damage, falling trees.

Condition based Maintenance: The preventive maintenance initiated as a result of knowledge of the condition of an item from routine or continuous monitoring.

Schedule Maintenance: The preventive maintenance carried out at a pre-determined interval of time through number of operation, (metre reading), mileage e.t.c

Major Repair or Restoration: The preventive maintenance such as re-roofing or rebuilding defective walls and often incorporating element of improvement.

Periodic Maintenance: Schedule maintenance such as periodic washing of water tanks, diesel tanks, waste dislodgement, steaming of generator radiator e.t.c help in retaining the function of a facility.

Routine or day-to-day Maintenance: The preventive maintenance such as sweeping and cleaning, checking runoff water, gutters, roof gutters and servicing mechanical and electrical installations.

Factors Affecting Property Maintenance

People’s orientation
This greatly determines the extent of property maintenance in any country. It has been observed that a large number of people in this country are apathetical towards maintenance of property which results in an early deterioration of most properties.

Government Policy
Government policy can affect the level of maintenance achievable in a society. Foreign exchange or import restriction policies for instance can affect building materials which will either encourage or discourage property owners to maintain their properties. Fiscal measures such as taxes and rates imposed on property owners also affect property maintenance in a society.

Design
Complex design has been observed to be one of the factors affecting property maintenance in Nigeria. Lack of consideration for readily available materials and machinery in the country lengthen the period of breakdown unnecessarily, which hinder smooth maintenance operations.

Funding
Lack of funds, inflation and the instability of the nation’s currency makes property maintenance a difficult task to execute. Majority of the property owners in Nigeria lack the initiative to set aside certain amount of their income to enable them meet future maintenance need.

Factors responsible for dilapidated properties

Inferior materials
The use of low quality building materials in this part of the world has left large number of properties in a poor state, thereby making the buildings physically and economically unattractive.

Wrong Usage
This refers to properties being put to uses that impact heavier load on buildings than designed for. For example- using the upper part of a residential house for a printing press with heavy equipment and machinery.

Poor Workmanship
This is another factor which adversely affects the poor state of properties resulting from lack of good supervision, use of incompetent hands or inappropriate materials during construction work.

Ineffective maintenance
Lack of effective maintenance by poor workmanship, use of interior materials and attitude of maintenance team render most Nigeria properties in a bad state and also delay in response to defects has negative contribution to poor state of repairs.

Wrong choice of foundation
Inappropriate choice of foundation used in some properties without prior consideration for the load and soil texture adversely affects the state of properties by resulting in structural cracks.

Maintenance Generators
Maintenance generators are the factors and elements to which buildings are exposed and through use and action upon the building and its fabrics, erode the initial standards such as:
User activities: These include human, animal, mechanical activities on a building that gradually reduce the initial state, for example vibration of heavy plants and machinery in a factory gradually weakens the building.

Climatic factor: Such as rain, frost, sun, heat and moisture practically affect the external and internal components of the building depending on the location and orientation of the building in question.

Changing standard and taste: Intensive research and changing modern technology may create demand for work to be carried out more frequently than functionally necessary. For instance, the replacement of corrugated iron roofing sheets with long span aluminium roofing sheet due to change in taste.

Management Functions of an Agent in Relation to Property Maintenance

Planning
Maintenance plan should be comprehensive and systematic, encompassing both short and medium term considerations. The program should be based on a sound knowledge of the building in question.

Commanding
It is act of order by a superior member to subordinate to create direction for the team undertaking maintenance work by giving a sense of purpose and enthusiasm for their work to achieve the set goals.

Coordination
This in relation to property maintenance refers to integration of efforts of the team. Coordination is helped by the right kind of system for ensuring that each operating element is related to each other through effective communication.

Controlling
Maintenance control involves anticipation of problems and shaping the conduct of activities of maintenance team in a way to reach the desired objective most economically and effectively.

Responsibilities of an Agent in Maintenance
Agency is a relationship by which one party usually the agent is empowered to enter into binding transaction affecting the legal rights of another party, usually called the principal. The legal relationship between a principal and his agent arises from a contract in which the principal engages the agent to act on his behalf.

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Responsibilities

Interpretation of contract: – An agent involved in property maintenance must have the knowledge of existing contract between the parties involved to effectively interpret and apportion maintenance liabilities.

The types of existing lease needs to be established to determine who is responsible for what maintenance.

It is the responsibility of an agent to advice on the best method of funding maintenance work, which can either be through service charge contribution, owner’s contribution, periodic capital levy, and contract or finance e.t.c

The agent needs to understand and plan for maintenance work of a building through generated building history, manufacturer’s manuals, condition based of building components, e.t.c
An agent has a responsibility of planning for routine maintenance which could be weekly maintenance or periodic maintenance, depending on the building condition.

Periodic inspection & Report: – It is the responsibility of an agent to periodically inspect building components & facilities, to detect any items in need of maintenance work.

Site inspection report needs to be prepared and filed for records, reference and planning purposes.

Records keeping: – An agent has a duty to keep records of income and expenditure of a building being maintained. This is important for reference purpose, transparency and adequate accountability to the parties involved.

Implementation and supervision of maintenance work: – An agent has a duty to carry out some maintenance work on behalf of the principal provided there is an authority to that effect. Otherwise, he can only make a recommendation for need maintenance work and supervise it to ensure that good work is done.

Maintenance Terminologies
Schedule of repairs: This is a table showing all the repair work to be carried out on a property. It involves a property manager inspecting a property and noting down all faulty or dilapidated elements or components of a building or facility. Schedule of repairs helps in ensuring that an appropriate maintenance work is done, and also aid the contractor in doing his job neater and faster.

Schedule of dilapidation: A schedule of dilapidation is a table showing all the elements of a building that are not functioning as they are meant to be, that is more or less dilapidated. This is usually prepared before a schedule of repair.

Apportionment of maintenance responsibilities
An agent can only apportion maintenance responsibilities based on full understanding of existing contracts between parties involved.

Sourcing for finance to carry out maintenance work

Finance by client: – This is the main source of financing maintenance activity. This is due to the fact most maintenance work especially the extensive one usually rest on the shoulder of the client. The client provides finance through his personal savings, short term loan, and borrowed funds or from a sinking fund account.

Finance by the property manager: – The property manager is not responsible in any way to finance maintenance work but he may have to provide the money for the work to be deducted later from the rent remittable to the client from the property. This will strictly be based on written agreement and arrangement.

Finance by the user of the property: – The user of the property may also provide the finance, especially when the repair is of utmost importance to them, but the finance they are providing must be deducted from the rent. If the maintenance liability is of the property owner. However, maintenance could be financed through service charge account to maintain facilities that are of common use to all occupants.

Pre-Letting responsibilities of an Agent
An agent approached to “LET” a building needs to adopt some of the under listed steps in discharging his duties.

Site inspection: It is important for an agent to visit the property to be “LET” before commencing any action. This will help determine the strategies most appropriate in letting such building. It will also provide the opportunity of a professional input for ease of letting.

Letting of appointment: It is important for an agent to obtain a letter appointing his firm or his person to LET a property to avoid dispute and professional negligence. The letter of appointment must clearly spell out what property to be “LET” and his required professional services.

Confirmation of appointment: A letter accepting an instruction to LET a property must emanate from an agent. This should contain the scope of work and fees payable at the end of the transaction in line with the scale of professional fees of NIEVS.

Informal Investigation: It is important for an appointed agent to briefly investigate his or her principal to ascertain dealing with the rightful owner or beneficiaries of the building. This will save the agent from embarrassment and professional negligence.

Strategies for Letting Properties

Bulletins.
Publications.
Brochure.
Introduction letters to selected firms or individuals.
Fliers.
Advert.
Posters. Etc.

Marketing Strategies

Rent Holidays: An agent can give apartment to good tenant on a well discounted term, to attract other choice tenants. This could also be applicable by giving a period of grace for rent payment to make the property attractive.

Anchor Tenants: This is a term used to describe a situation where a choice or reputable tenant is put in a building to be able to attract tenants of this same category to the property.

Structured Rent: An agent could grant lease with structured rent payment over a period of time to make the building attractive to targeted tenants.

Free Laundry: This is another strategy that can be developed to market a property for Letting by providing free laundry to the occupants for a given period of time.

Free Insurance: This strategy can be adopted by an agent in insuring some of the personal belongings of occupants, to make the property attractive to target tenants.

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