Brief Guide Owners Associations – The Emirate of Dubai recently introduced the Strata Law to give home owners control of their own living environment through the creation of Owner’s Associations, but in doing so it also imposed that home owners through those associations carry the legal responsibility of that living environment.
To assist the OA (Owner’s Association) in making the right decisions, the Dubai government created a new class of Trade Licence for an Association
Management Company, so it is through these companies that most of the serious work in managing the affairs of the Owner’s Association will be conducted.
RERA the Dubai Regulatory Real Estate Agency has been given the task of rolling out the practical aspects of the Strata Law, and in order to limit the initial liabilities that an Owner Association will take on, they have come up with a process to help manage the property handover. The process requires confirmation that the 5 following elements have been professionally audited.
- Building Condition
- Operations & Maintenance Manuals
- Statutory, Legal and Insurance documents
- Preparation documents for OA (Owner’s Association) handover
- Financial Matters
The Building Condition Audit and the review of the O&M manuals are designed to protect the OA (Owner’s Association) from liabilities that should be the responsibility of the Developer / FM / Maintenance company. To ensure impartiality, RERA recommend using an independent certified inspection company like Snag & Inspect to conduct these particular audits.
Many of the buildings that will be handed over to OAs (Owner’s Association) are several years old. One of the major problems with these buildings is the consistent lack of adequate maintenance, with the result that the building’s systems are no longer fit for purpose.
The audit carried out by Snag & Inspect will clearly identify such systems, it will provide suggested remedial works and it will where possible, allocate/apportion blame for the shortcoming.
Historically this problem has been brought about by the tendering process and the way in which contracts were placed. Sadly there is a tendency to believe that in all cases the usual commercial criteria of price and delivery should apply, but this simply isn’t true (OAs please note). The inevitable consequence has been that most of the building’s systems, including the Life Safety Systems, have not been maintained to the required standard, and are therefore unlikely to achieve their design performance or life span.
This lack of understanding/cost cutting on behalf of Developers (who have traditionally been responsible for the provision of maintenance), is likely to leave a dangerous and unhealthy legacy for incoming OAs (Owner’s Associations).
The carrying out of the building condition audit on behalf of the OA (Owner’s Association) should be undertaken by a professional body, one whose inspectors carry an internationally recognised qualification (Snag & Inspect only employ inspectors certified by InterNACHI Middle East).
The report generated from the audit will establish two important facts, firstly the current state of the building’s common areas and systems, and therefore what needs to be done (if anything) to ensure that they are ready to be handed over in good serviceable condition, and secondly who if anyone is responsible for the shortfall as documented, and therefore liable for the cost of any remedial works.
For many OAs the cost of the necessary remedial action will be much higher than they would have budgeted for, or even worse not budgeted for at all, so being able to apportion liability is a very important part of the audit report. Systems such as smoke detection and sprinklers are installed for life safety reasons and under the provisions of the present Strata Law the OA (Owner’s Association) will have NO CHOICE but to ensure that what ever work is necessary to restore these systems to full operational condition is carried out, or risk confrontation with the Law.
The building condition audit carried by Snag & Inspect covers the follow key items:
- Roof systems
- Exterior Surfaces
- Lightening Protection
- Interior Space
- Retail units (where present)
- 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
- General Outside Areas
Looking to the future, OAs (Owner’s Association) will undoubtedly want to find ways of reducing costs, and improving sustainability in all that they do. Snag & Inspect together with its partners can make a significant contribution to both of these endeavours when it comes to maintaining the building and the life of its systems.
Snag & Inspect can advise on the availability of a variety of solutions and equipment that will improved reliability, improved sustainability and reduce the overall cost of maintenance, furthermore given the right contractual conditions, it may be possible to obtain some of these enhancement without the OAs having to meet all of the capital costs up front.
In many of the older buildings the condition of installed systems such as sprinklers and fire alarms will not be good, so these OAs may wish to give serious consideration to replacing rather than refurbishing these systems, to providing better protection and living conditions for its members and their families Snag & Inspect will be pleased to advise on the options available.
A building full of people is a living thing and is therefore constantly changing, what is working well today may not work so well tomorrow, what is acceptable today may not be acceptable for tomorrow. Snag & Inspect has the expertise and technology to help the OA (Owner’s Association) in maintaining a high quality living environment for all its members, and together with its partners feel confident that it can offer a comprehensive range of services that help to maximise the health and safety of the Association’s members and their families.
We hope that the information contained in this Guide is of value to you and that it will assist you in more effectively discharging your responsibilities with respect to your fellow owners.
If there is anything that you require further clarification on, or wish to discuss in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.
RERA Building Audit Master Check List
After a review of the original RERA Building Audit Check List, and the practical work undertaken by Snag & Inspect, and after consulting with a number of Association Management Companies, the follow revised Building Audit Check List has been collated to more accurately reflect the needs of the marketplace.
Each Audit is divided into 4 primary areas which are: The Building Envelope; The Safety & Security of the building; Utility Services, and the Recreational Areas.
It is anticipated that as more experience is gained working with Developers, Association Management companies, and Home Owner’s Associations, this list will be further amended.
Access ladders and platforms
Parapet walls and concrete plinths
|Exterior Surfaces||Façade and framework
Glazing and windows
|Lightening Protection||Conductor rod installation
|Interior Space||Common Rooms
|Lifts / Escalators||Elevator machine room
Elevator Alarm and intercom
Elevator dumb waiter
|Retail Units||Electrical wiring / appliances
Fire Safety / partitions / storage
|SAFETY & SECURITY|
|CCTV & Security System||CCTV DVRs
Door Access System
Apartment Intercom System
Gate Access system
|Fire Alarm System||Alarm Panel
Sounders – Annuciators
BMS – 24/7 connections
|Fire Sprinkler System||Tanks
Diesel fire pump incl ventilation, exhaust, starter battery and charger
Diesel fuel tank
Diesel pump controller
Electric fire pump
Electric fire pump controller
Automatic changeover panel
Fire pump service record
Fire pump test certificates
Zone Flow switches and Valves
Pipe work, fixtures & fittings
Fire Panel Connections from pressure switches, flow switches and valves
|Fire Fighting||Breaching Inlet
Fire Hose Reels
Pillar Hydrants and Standpipes
Kitchen Fire Suppression System
FM 200 Clean Agent System
|Fire Safety||Fire Doors
|Smoke Management||Smoke extraction system
Staircase Pressurization Fans
Parking Extraction Fans
|Emergency Lighting||Control panel
Lighting Unit Location
Emergency light levels
Illuminated emergency signage
|Emergency Power||Main Generator
Starter battery & charger
Central Battery System
|BMS||Lighting Control System
Water level monitoring
|Water Systems||Valves fixtures & fittings
Potable Water quality
Access for maintenance
Potable Water Booster Pumps
Garbage Cleaning Pumps
Potable Water Transfer Pumps
Water Treatment System
Floor distribution manifolds
Boilers/ Water Heaters
|Power Distribution||onduits, trays and trunking
Cable connections and to fittings and/or equipment
Earth electrode & Earth continuity
HV Electrical System & MDB
LV switch-room connection Diagrams
Aircraft Warning Lights
Auto Transfer Switch
|Gas Distribution System||LPG Cylinders / Tanks
Distribution pipe work
|Sewer & Drain System||Maintenance access to drainage pipes
Camera inspection of underground sewer pipes etc.
Sewage Sump Pump
ewage/Sludge irrigation water Tank
Storm & drain water tank
|Air Conditioning||Access to chilled water pipes and valves
Ductwork & support
Chilled Water Pump
Chilled Water Quality
FAHU (Fresh Air Handling Unit)
FCU (Fan Coil Units)
|Telecommunications||Mobile Phone reception|
|Swimming Pool & Jaccuzi Plant Room||Circulation pump & filters
Ventilation, extraction, louvres
heater / heat exchanger
Chemical Dosing Unit
Pool finish and waterproofing
|Sauna & Steam Room||Steam Generator
Water treatment unit
|Other Outside Areas||Lawns
This is a desktop review to establish the existence, condition and appropriateness of the supporting documentation.
|O & M Manuals||Statutory Body approvals for MEP, technical and engineering designs
Schedule of materials & finishes and their maintenance requirements
Approved as-built drawings
Common area asset register, drawings and spare parts schedule
Approved health & safety plan
Provision and identification of meters for the building and common areas
Current meters reading for electricity, chilled water, gas, and water as applicable
Warranty and Guarantee documents
Completion Certificates and support documents
Statutory signage is installed and documented
|Maintenance||Maintenance activity logs
All 3rd party inspection reports
Previous 12 months fire systems test & inspection results
|Handover Documentation||Insurances – Property, Public Liabilities and Fire
Owner Association License from RERA
Drafting of Terms of Management Agreement
Building Management statement (if applicable)
Declaration of Joint Ownership of Property
Establishment of an executive management committee
Verification of as built Drawings
Service Charge provisions made – Approved Service Charges Budget, Planned maintenance plan and sinking Fund provisions and Date of commencement
Service charge apportionments – volumetric or other approved RERA Standard
Provision and Complete documentation of key handover
Signed off receipt of O&M Manuals
Establishment of maintenance registers
|Statutory, Legals & Insurances||Transfer document for the building insurance
Title registrations made with Dubai Land Department
Sustainability LEED Certification
Re-instatement insurance valuation certificate
Statutory signage installed and certified
Utilities wayleaves and lease agreements
Status of any 3rd Party issues
Status of discharge requirements by planning and development authorities
Discharge requirements under any development or financial agreements