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Tue 2 Oct 2007 04:00 AM

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Strata law hits Dubai

Adrian Quinn, executive chairman, Essential FM and Essential Strata Management, explains the effect the new Strata Law will have on FMs and Dubai's building owners.

Adrian Quinn, executive chairman, Essential FM and Essential Strata Management, explains the effect the new Strata Law will have on FMs and Dubai's building owners.

What is the new Strata law?

The new Strata Law sets out the law in relation to multi ownership properties, ie, apartment buildings that have a different owner or owners for each apartment and lot.

It defines the common areas. These are the areas owned by everyone in the building, ie, common entrances, driveways, structure of the building, waterproof membrane of the roof etc. It also sets out each owner's liability to pay a fee towards the total building upkeep and maintenance programs.

When will it be implemented?

It is hoped it will be approved prior to December 2007.

What is an owners association?

An owners association is the body that the new Act creates. It will take control and legal rights over all the common property.

It is made up of every owner that is registered on the plan of sub division. Its power is controlled by the committee via a delagation at the annual general meetings (AGM).

It can enter into contracts, sue and be sued, approve budgets and fees that have to be paid by all owners who are members of it.

The association will appoint a strata manager to manage all of its affairs who, in turn, appoints facilities management contracts.

What is its responsibility?

• To insure the buildings are adequately Insured.

• To approve all contracts.

• To sue and be sued.

• It's liable to maintain the property of the association: all structure, plant and equipment etc.

• To strike annual budgets and fees per apartment.

• To ensure the strata manager makes all occupiers abide by the ‘special rules'.

• To recover all arrears from owners.

What will this mean for building owners?

It will give power to all building owners via the elected committees to manage and control their buildings maintenance, cleaning security and budgets.

Will the strata manager take the day-to-day running of a facility/development away from the facilities manager?

No. As the strata manager will be given delegated powers to administer all the strata's services, it means that there will be a lot of work being put out to facilities management companies to operate the community associations, plant and equipment etc.

Is this not a duplicating the facilities manager's job role? If not, how will the facilities manager be involved?

No. The strata manager will be liable under the act to ensure all the community associations statutory services, plant and equipment, are properly maintained and serviced as required. Most strata managers do not have the skills to manage complicated plant and equipment, so they outsource all the facilities management to professional facilities management companies.

Will the FM report to the strata manager or will this differ from development to development?

All FMs will report to the strata managers whose job is to ensure the FM company is adhering to theircontract with the community association requires.

What impact will it have on in-house FMs?

An in-house FM would oversee all outsourced FM contracts. A strata manager would have an in-house FM person employed to ensure all the outsourced FM contracts were done as per the specifications etc.

Strata managers call annual general meetings, run committees, do all correspondence, deal with all owners issues collect fees and create budgets and pay all accounts.

What kind of impact will this have on the FM industry?

It's going to give the FM industry in Dubai a great increase in business if they have the staff and skills to professionally manage this process.

Is there a rolling out period?

Yes. The rolling out period will depend on the final approval of the act and also the completion of all new buildings. As anyone can see, there are a lot of buildings to be completed in the next five years so it's a major growth industry.

How will the government regulate the new law and ensure building owners are adhering to the law?

The new act will hopefully have penalties if community associations do not adhere to the statutory requirements. The committees would be putting themselves into a suable position if they do not adequately maintain for now and the future.

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