Monday, February 2, 2009

What is a Building Manager?

Dirty Air Vent out of reach of many tenants
I ask this because Russell Gardens seems to running on it's own steam without a proper engineer, metaphorically speaking. So I went to several employment agencies to see what is usually included in a job description for a 'residential building manager'. I found a fairly comprehensive one. I put the entire description up but I would like to start with the part that is highlighted in yellow.

The Employee’s duties and obligations include but will not be restricted to:
• Maintaining physical operations by conducting inspection of grounds, buildings; obtaining bids; contracting for and supervising landscaping, repair,, overseeing repairs; completing and monitoring contracts; co-ordinating requirements with city and service providers such as telephone, electric, water, planning renovations, moving companies.
• Maintaining financial status of the condominium unit by having input into forecasting requirements; preparation of annual and long-term budgets; monitoring variances; identifying trends; recommending actions to board; controlling costs; identifying current and future community requirements by conducting surveys and discussions with residents.
Resolving resident dissatisfaction by investigating complaints; implementing appropriate solutions; enforcing the terms of the declaration, by-laws and rules and regulations which may be amended from time to time; securing the building by establishing and enforcing precautionary policies and procedure; installing and maintaining security devices and lighting; contracting with monitoring services; responding to emergencies; consulting with the Board with respect to any changes to by-laws, rules and regulations.
• Maintaining common areas of the condominium unit and guest suites; facilitating guest suite bookings, and collecting payment for same.
• Updating job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations; being familiar with The Residential Tenancies Act (the RTA), the declarations and by-laws of the Corporation including the common elements rules.
• Enhancing community reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests; exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.

Well I think it is fair to say we are dissatisfied. But where do we go with our complaints?

Well if it is a clogged up sink etc., we call Maintenance 613-731-1182.
Some phone person will write up a work order and give it to our Building Manager who will bring a handful of them over in the morning and delegates the work to our Maintenance Crew. Should work! Sometimes it does!

But now say it is the air filter. They are supposed to be changed every three months or there abouts. Our maintenance men are not allowed to do this. Consequently, we have a big box of filters in the Maintenance room that very few tenants know are there. We have tenants who are physically disabled and cannot reach the air vent in order to change them. We have tenants who are in their 80s and 90s and just should have someone else do it for them if for no other reason than they are seniors and most likely fragile, possibly do not have a ladder to reach it and could fall from one if they did.

There are younger and capable tenants living here who could possibly do this. It's hard to find one who would turn their nose up at a pizza or some Timbits for doing some of these things. It would require a bit of planning, some serious volunteer commitments on the part of the younger ones. We all may live here but we do not all know each other and we sure as blazes do not all trust each other - there are thieves and addicts about and that we all know. As problems go, it is a relatively small one, but it is solvable with a little effort. The kind of effort the above job description demands.

But since no one wants to address even the small problems here, we are left with filters that are so dirty, soon men in space outfits will be required to remove them. They are no longer useful - they cannot filter out anything else. They are saturated with whatever is in the air. So we just keep breathing dirty air, possibly getting more colds than we need to fight, and smelling everyone else's household odors.

My filter - the one you see above, I changed about 2 months ago. As you can see it is very dirty already. I had to climb up on my computer chair, (very difficult, it has wheels) and hang on for dear life to the cupboard just to get this picture. I would need help should I have changed it. An 85 year old lady helped me last time!

So here you have three solutions:
  1. Pay a workman to change the filters.
  2. Get some volunteers to do it and pay them with a pizza.
  3. Carry on storing boxes of filters in the Maintenance Room and do nothing.
For the taxpayer reading this, the financial savings is perhaps small, I agree.But as my dear old Grannie used to say, "A penny saved is a penny earned" In times of recession, this is not a bad stance to take at all. Think of all the other places money can be saved with a little thought and some volunteer action.

The question is,"Is anyone at Ottawa Housing Corporation reading this?"

If not.......................
Shame on you Ottawa Housing Corporation!
Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

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