As you know, the Strata Law has been introduced into the Dubai property market to provide much better consumer protection for home buyers, and to encourage a raising of the standards of construction within the Real Estate industry, thereby stimulating the market.
RERA the Real Estate Regulatory Agency has been charged with creating a route map for the practical roll-out, and in particular for those aspects associated with them hand-over process of buildings to Home Owner’s Associations. To assist Owner’s Associations and Association Management companies to prepare for the hand-over process, they have released a preliminary Building Audit Check List from which OA and AM companies are advised to work.
The check list has 5 sections and they are:
• Building Condition
• Operations & Maintenance Manuals
• Statutory, Legal and Insurance
• Preparation for Owner’s Association
• Financial Matters
It is incumbent upon the Association Management companies to ensure that all aspects of the preliminary check list are complied with, and according to RERA, it would be prudent for these audits to be carried out by an independent third party.
To date there are two companies recommended by RERA to carry out these audits, and Snag & Inspect is one. Furthermore Snag & Inspect is the only independent property inspection company operating in the UAE that carries an International Licence for property inspections, ensuring that our clients receive a report that is of high quality, is accurate and impartial.
Over the past few months, Snag & Inspect has been working closely with RERA, to assist them in the development of their ideas for the auditing process, this close co-operation is yet another reason for choosing Snag & Inspect as your Building Audit Partner.
The primary purpose behind the building condition audit is to use the resultant report as a bargaining tool to negotiate with the contractor/developer/FM company, with the goal of reducing the liabilities that the OA is about to take over. The audit also serves another very useful purpose, and that is to provide the core data that the Association Management company together with the Owner Association will require to create an action plan to take the building forward after a handover. After conducting the building condition audit and produced the report, Snag & Inspect are then in an ideal position to act on behalf of the Association Management company and their clients to audit any remedial work carried out, ensuring complete transparency between all parties, and confirming that the work has been carried out to the appropriate standard.
Building Audit Coverage
To achieve the high quality of customer service provided by the company, Snag & Inspect make considerable use of high-tech specialised equipment. Infrared Thermal Imaging (ITI) cameras, moisture meters, multi-gas detectors and fibre optic inspection cameras systems are some of the tools that our inspection teams have available to them. The use of this kind of technology not only helps us produce a more thorough report, but it also enables us to test for potential health risks.
Although Snag & Inspect offer a broad range of inspection services, including special investigations, for the Building Condition Audit we use the RERA guidelines as our starting point, so our audits will typically include the following:
• Roof Systems
• Exterior Surfaces
• Lightening Protection
• Interior Space
• Retail units (where present)
• SAFETY & SECURITY
• CCTV & Security systems
• Fire Alarm Systems
• Fire Sprinkler System
• Fire Fighting Equipment
• Fire Safety
• Smoke Management
• Emergency Lighting
• Emergency Power
• Building Management System
• Water Systems (including water quality)
• Power Distribution
• Gas Distribution system
• Sewers & Drains (including CCTV inspection)
• A/C system
• Swimming Pool & Jaccuzi Plant Rooms
• Sauna & Steam Room
• Gym Equipment
• General Outside Areas
How much and who Pays?
To have a quality Building Condition Audit carried out correctly, as required by RERA, is not a 5 minute process, and it cannot be carried out by semi-skilled operatives, so it will not be a low cost item, a typical price for a 40 floor tower-block can be anywhere between AED 65,000 and 85,000, and since the hand-over process usually involves the Owner Association and the Developer, it would not be unreasonable for the cost to be divided between the two parties, and that is the view that RERA take on this matter.
BEWARE! Should you be offered an audit at a price much lower than indicated, we respectfully suggest that you seek to protect yourself and your Clients by ensuring that the deliverables contained in the audit contract accurately detail all of the elements that RERA has determined are necessary as part of the report, so that you do not run the risk of having to do the audit a second time at additional cost to the Owner Association.
Association Management companies and Owner Associations should also be aware that to be a meaningful document, the building action plan needs be kept up-to-date, so it is advisable to have the Building Condition Audit report updated on an annual basis.
The team at Snag & Inspect has over 70 years of inspection experience behind them. Many of the team also bring addition skills to the company, they include Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and a Construction Materials Engineering/Consultancy. Through our Consulting Partners we can also deliver specialist services for A/C systems, and Fire Protection systems.
Snag & Inspect prides itself on the quality and professionalism of its services and is proud to offer these services to the Association Management profession.
To find out how we can best help you discharge your responsibilities to your Owner’s Association Clients, please contact us.