Why Establishment Strata
Establishment Strata is a new strata company with a wealth of experience. It brings together expertise in strata management experience, expert legal knowledge, and practical common sense. We are a new company, with a wealth of expertise, management knowledge and demonstrated ability.
The Strata Management Industry Generally
The general standard in the strata management industry is lamentably poor and getting worse. The industry has undergone significant consolidation, as banks and other non-strata service providers realised just how much money could be made for very little work in the strata management business. One example, is a joint venture between an Irish Investment Bank and a Japanese Engineering Group, formed to buy up strata management companies in Australia. It currently owns more than 20 of the largest and best-known strata “brands” in NSW.
The strata industry in now run on a classic cookie-cutter business model. You meet a well-dressed and pleasant sales person. They sign you up to a “brand”, promising whatever you want. They even publish on the internet, “Questions to ask a potential Strata Manager”, because then they have a template answer to those questions, without even having to read the questions. They have an “industry association” whose executive roles are held by the strata management companies in rotation, and they hand out trophies and awards to each other for marketing purposes. Awards often go to the most profitable strata management business, not the best one for the owners.
As soon as you sign up, you will never see or hear from that sales person again. Management of your building is centralised with thousands of other buildings. Your nominated strata manager will probably change every few months – but they don’t actually know anything about you or your building anyway. They have 60 to 85 other buildings to manage as well. They have a monthly budget for “Schedule B charges” that they have to meet by creating the need for “extras” to charge each building under Schedule B of the industry association’s standard management agreement.
All of the major tasks involved in managing your building are centralised to maximise profit. Your accounts, levies and payments may all be done in the Philippines by unskilled, underpaid workers following templates. If you ask your strata manager a question about something in your accounts, and if it is ever actioned at all, it will be sent to the “accounts department” and a few weeks later you may get a reply which, in most cases, is a template response which does not answer your question, or is simply wrong, because the staff have no real understanding of what they are doing.
Your insurance may be farmed out to their captive broker/insurer. Your arrears recovery is directed to their captive debt recovery company, which makes millions of dollars a month by a computer issuing template “default” letters straight out of the accounting system with no real effect on actual recoveries. The same is true of building repairs, fire services, lawyers, and all manner of “experts” they may recommend that you engage.
It is a “one size fits all” service, regardless of what you were promised, because they simply don’t have any capacity to do anything else. But one thing they do very well, is charge. Whatever they decide you owe them every month (governed by your strata manager’s budget and potential bonus) is taken directly from the strata bank account without any approval from anyone and usually without even reporting to the Committee how much has been taken or for what.
The Establishment Strata Difference
Establishment Strata’s founding directors were Ian McKnight, a solicitor and strata manager with over 50 years experience, who was disillusioned by the decline in the industry standard, and Elisabeth Peden, a barrister, strata owner, licensed strata manager and joint author of the leading texts, Strata Law in New South Wales and Joske’s Law and Procedure at Meetings in Australia.
The idea behind Establishment Strata was to offer something distinctly different. Tailored, expert, professional strata management. We ask Owners what they want. We choose a particular manager who will suit the Owners and how they want the building run. All of our staff are qualified and properly trained using our industry leading textbooks and directly overseen by our director.
We pride ourselves on our honest and ethical standards and we understand the trust that is placed in our hands by Owners. We are efficient and responsive. Our management of documentation is electronic – and in Australia. Owners never have to come to us, because all documentation can be provided electronically, and when a meeting is desired, we come to you or provide online meetings.
We believe our management fees are very competitive. Our Strata Management Agreement is written in plain English and is just four pages long. It is not littered with hundreds of disguised fees and charges. We hope that you will find that our approach is ‘refreshing’.