Workshop sets knowledge trend amongst estate managers

On November 18th, managers of gated communities in Bangalore gathered to upgrade their knowledge on a variety of topics related to running of apartments and layouts.

"In my site the sewage treatment plant (STP) is going to be transferred from the builder to the association soon and we need to know more about STP engineering and maintenance", says Ragupati S, 37, a first-time estate manager at Concorde Sylvan View, a gated community in Electronic City. Estate managers oversee maintenance operations for residential complexes, increasingly being called ‘gated communities’. They are usually employees of the owners’ associations.

Dr Ananth Kodavasal giving participants a tour on the workings of an sewage treatment plant. Pic: Apartment Adda.

Ragupati was one among over 40 estate managers who attended a recent workshop for estate managers of gated communities and apartment complexes. The workshop was organised by ApartmentAdda, a leading  provider of online residential complex management software at Brookefields, Bengaluru on November 18th.

The participants came with diverse professional experiences, some independent, some with property maintenance agencies and some planning to start their own Facility Management service.

"Estate Managers are one of the most important roles in any residential complex and it is important that they gain expertise in facility management and relevant Technologies", says Venkat Kandaswamy, CoFounder and CTO of ApartmentAdda.

N T Shreedhara, Estate Manager for Salarpuria Serenity and Salarpuria Symphony presented an overall view of facility management. He spoke about maintenance issues covering the range from electrical, plumbing, security, to Water Treatment Plants, waste management and fire safety.

Dr Ananth S Kodavasal, Managing Director, Ecotech Engineering Consultancy presented on STPs.  These Plants convert sewage to water that can be used for landscape and utility purposes and thereby are recycling and conservation measure. STPs in most residential complexes are either not working at all or working at very low efficiencies, he said, in a warning to estate managers about the seriousness of the matter.

Sangeeta Banerjee of AppartmentAdda presented a session on financial transactions in a typical multi-dwelling unit (MDU) and the pain points around these transactions.  She also pointed out how the AppartmentAdda solution was tailored to address these pain-points.

Handy documents to keep at residents’ association offices

* The original BDA or BMRDA plan sanction document
* The relinquishment deeds signed by the developer with the BDA or town planning authority
* The CDP Map of the zone in which the property is situated so that zoning rules in the vicinity are well understood
* Firesafety compliance rules, especially if the community included hirise buildings
* Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act with amendments

–Citizen Matters

Subramaniam Vincent, Editor, Citizen Matters talked briefly on the question of whether gated communities were legal and the implications. He referred to Citizen Mattersinterview of Karnataka Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli and pointed out the reason for the current confusion was that the town planning law has no definition for gated communities. Yet, the law was being used to give sanctions for such layouts. Vincent gave the estate managers a list of documents they must keep handy at layout’s association’s office.

These sessions apart, the workshop also went into the vendor management and ‘how to recover maintenance dues from chronic defaulters’. The best practices being followed at the participants’ complexes were shared and some brainstorming was done.

K C Vinod, 41, estate manager at Purva Fountain Square, a gated community at Marathahalli was also one of the participants. He felt that some more on-the-ground knowledge on practical matters was needed in such a workshop. Vinod, oversees in-house amenities and interfaces with city government agencies/utilities.

A full house in progress at the estate managers workshop in Brookefields, Bengaluru on November 18th. Pic: ApartmentAdda.

"Teething issues of maintenance staff and associations can be reduced by providing sufficient information on the day to day operations", he says. "Lack  of knowledge about the prevailing BBMP or BDA rules are also a hurdle", adds  Vinod.

Ragupati of Concorde Sylvan says that he learnt a lot including about the importance of plan sanctions for layouts. "I did not know about these topics before taking up this assignment at Concorde Sylvan", he notes.

There was also time for some fun. Post Lunch, an interesting quiz was conducted where topics ranged from Maggi noodles to ApartmentAdda tips to Enthiran to Burj Khalifa.

Citizen Matters was a media partner for this workshop.

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