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Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

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ARCHIVE ARTICLE

When the Property Manager Plays Traffic Cop

When does a property manager – and even the board – take on traffic-cop duties? Let’s take scheduling. There are so many different fac-ets that go into scheduling, whether it’s a maintenance request, inspection, service appointment, or a delivery. And then there are the various people who are involved, whether it’s a contractor, the super, the board. Maybe there are move-ins or move-outs scheduled in the building that day. We basically have to try to balance everything so there’s a smooth transition.When apartments are being renovated or combined, is that one of your bigger scheduling headaches?It can be, yes, but if the proper documentation and due diligence were done before the work starts, it can be a smooth process. I would say a bigger problem is major repairs or improvements that affect the entire building.Such as?Let’s say you have an elevator upgrade or renovation. This will affect many people in the building – let’s say they need to go to work, or they’re expecting deliveries, or they’re elderly and they need to get in or out of their apartments. All sorts of complications come up during that kind of job, and it affects everybody and their quality of life. So we have to focus on getting the work done efficiently, with the best quality, and also as quickly as possible.When you’re playing traffic cop as a property manager, what is the No. 1 thing you have to consider?Typically, we go to the source first. Usually our source is the contractor or subcontractor, and we try to get them to give us specific details of the work that’s going to be taking place, obviously, but also the timeline so we can properly relay that to the unit-owners or shareholders. And then we involve the super where needed, ourselves where we’re needed, even the board for backup support as well. How can a board help?It all depends on the scenario. But typically the board could be there to provide access. Or maybe to oversee what’s being done if, on a particular day, the super or man-agement or other professional hired to oversee the project couldn’t make it in. So the board members can step in and help oversee things as the work is being done. From your perspective, what’s the key to making it all work?Understanding the scope of the work that’s entailed and the timeline. We know who’s living in the building, so we try to schedule the project so that the unit-owners, share-holders, and anyone else living in the building has ample advance notice. That way they’re able to work their lives around the work that’s taking place. I would say transparency and timing are the keys.

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