Meeting Challenges of Block Management
As a multi-disciplined Block Management practice here at AM Surveying & Block Management we come into contact with a wide variety of estates and developments requiring our expert management services each presenting new and interesting challenges and here are just a few recent examples.
Poplar, London: Large block of 56 apartments
Centrally located within the country’s capital this large block is within 400m of Blackwall DLR for easy access into the city centre and only 750m from the financial district of Canary Wharf. The block is split into 3 zones each containing hydraulic passenger lift, fire systems, communal stairwell and access to both the building’s shared external terrace/amenity space and underground car park.
Each apartment is owned on a private Leasehold basis with terms of the Leases setting out the manner in which the block’s Resident’s Management Company (RMC), whom appoint AM Surveying & Block Management to execute it’s obligations, carries out maintenance to the building and manages it’s external and common parts.
Management of the block includes collecting service charges from property owners in order to offset maintenance and management expenditures such as; the cost of cleaning and gardening, building’s insurance, routine repairs and meeting all health & safety related legal obligations. With a building of a larger scale such as this, the importance of an effective maintenance strategy becomes magnified and effects of poor management more obvious with a maintenance back-log often being the result. Effects of maintenance backlog can often manifest in leaks, poor standards of upkeep, shortfall in meeting health & safety obligations and failing machinery.
Challenges managed; Handling a maintenance back-log! Prior to the appointment of AM Surveying & Block Management significant maintenance tasks had accumulated at this building each requiring specific attention; blocked gullies, dirty carpets, broken machinery, serious water ingress issues among other things. When faced with such a situation a medium to long term vision may be required in order to rollout improvements within an economically viable and manageable way. As expert Block Managers we achieve this by means of our 12 Month and/or 10 Year Works Planners. Urgent, priority and reoccurring tasks are identified and formulated into the bespoke Works Planner which is backed up by a supply chain of trusted and vetted contractors and set into motion over the building’s life cycle managed by a specific Property Manager assigned to the development.
Ditton, Kent: Development of 37 luxury homes in exclusive private estate
This idyllic rural estate is an enchanting hamlet of 37 private Freehold family homes. Each home within the development has been designed with a delightful mix of styles. Reclaimed materials have been used to reflect the vernacular of the area over past centuries, giving a sense that the buildings have grown organically over time, in the same way that a small hamlet evolves.
Management of the estate extends exclusively to areas shared among the houses; external landscaping, utilities, car parks and access roads. Governance of exactly how service charges are collected, how the estate is managed and matters such as the “estate rules” are set out within each property’s Transfer document (title deed) as opposed to a Lease which is often the case in communal management situations for the simple reason that these properties are Freehold owned and not Leasehold.
Challenges managed: Reliable gardening services required. Upon commencement of estate management by our team at AM Surveying & Block Management it quickly became apparent that well maintained grounds would be key to this management contract. Some unique features within the grounds include a communal pond, apple orchard, allotments and large open fields all of which require cultivation and upkeep by a caring and dedicated gardener/grounds keeper.
To meet this challenge and maximise return on home owner’s service charges our team at AM presented the solution to residents; provision of an in-house estate gardener, one controlled by our office and not a third party. The benefits to our client have been well received; a vetted, insured and trusted member of staff, enhanced on-site to office communications, workflow continuity and opportunity for cross operative/resident relationships to be established.
Hackney, London: Art Deco Block of 18 Flats & 12 Garages
This 1970’s block with it’s magnificent mixture of art deco style, bespoke contemporary designs, views across Victoria Park and wonderfully bright duplex apartments is formerly part of the prestigious Crown Estate and is now within private ownership and block managed by our team of professionals at AM Surveying & Block Management.
The block’s apartments are each held Leasehold with each Leaseholder, whom also each own an equal share in the Freehold of the building, contributing towards upkeep and management of the building by way of a service charge in a typical Block Management arrangement.
Some unique management tasks posed by this building include routine hygiene monitoring of 4 communal cold water storage tanks for the purpose of preventing any risk of legionaries disease, strategic and regular clearance of the building’s water handling goods to avoid blockages caused by nearby overhanging trees and management of the block’s rented garages to third parties.
Challenges managed: The Freeholder’s garages. Many of the block’s 12 garages are individually assigned to a particular flat by virtue of the block's Leases i.e if you own a flat it may come with a garage. However a handful of garages are not included within any of the block’s Leases and therefore are retained by the Freeholder and rented to third party tenants on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy basis, an area overlooked by previous Block Managers prior to the appointment of AM Surveying & Block Management and implementation of our industry expertise. Such a situation requires the relevant legal paperwork to be drafted and collection of monthly rents administered which is expertly handled by our team.
The challenges managed as set out above are just a small number of examples of the type of work carried out by our Block Management team at AM Surveying & Block Management.
Each site managed by AM Surveying & Block Management benefit from our combination of bespoke Works Planners, in house on-site operatives and industry knowhow, if our services are of any interest to you do not hesitate to speak to a member of our team.
Block Management services provided by AM Surveying & Block Management extend throughout London and the South East.