Happy 2020 to condo owners, board members, and managers everywhere! New year, new you…new AGM? Chances are, you’re annual general meeting is scheduled in the near future. Are you 100% sure that you’re addressing and actioning the right opportunities to set your condo community, condo management, and condo corporation up for success in the year to come?
If you don’t quite know what’s worth covering off heading into the New Year, no problem. We happen to love – and are really quite great at – supporting awesome, impactful condo boards, and are happy to share some thoughts and conversation-starters below! Take advantage of the opportunities the new year presents.
In order to set yourself up for success, the first thing you’ll want to do is come up with is a plan of action. This is where a lot of boards can get stuck – sorting out the details of what should be focused on by over the course of the 365 days ahead (366 for 2020). In response to our clients, we developed the idea of the Annual Action Plan (AAP). In a nutshell, this plan is a public board document made available to all unit owners that plots the course for the year ahead. We recommend attaching this document to your AGM meeting notes so that all parties can be privy to what will be happening during the upcoming year.
Not only does an AAP increase transparency between your Edmonton condominium management company, board, and unit owners, but it brings an element of clarity to communications, and sets up your board (and, by extension, your condo management company) to be able to act proactively, rather than reactively.
“Great!” we can imagine you’re thinking, “But…what’s actually in an Annual Action Plan?” Glad you (hypothetically) asked. We recommend including a review of your building’s Reserve Fund Study in relation to the priorities and action items your community’s facing this year. This should allow you to start sorting out and arranging contractors for the work in the months to come. It might seem a little early to be booking contractors for work in August or September, but that’s exactly the point. By booking early, you can often lock in lower-cost price guarantees, ensuring both that your building gets to work with the contractor it prefers while potentially doing so at a relatively low price point, in the timeline that you’re aiming for.
Finally, in addition to these details, your board’s AAP should also include one last set of details: a path forward accounting for seasonal considerations in the year ahead – starting with pushing through the rest of this cold and snowy weather towards that sweet, sweet spring thaw.
As the snow and frost give way to sunshine and flowers, your plan should focus on preparing things for cleaning up for the warmer weather ahead. Ongoing snow removal should transition seamlessly into regular landscaping and outdoor common space upkeep, while one-time tasks like yard clean-up and parkade sweeping and maintenance should be taken into consideration and actioned up accordingly. Finally, necessary subcommittees associated with spring goings-on (social activities, community gardens, etc.) should take the time between winter and spring to kick off and get underway so that they can hit the ground running once the snow truly melts – which, if you’re in the Edmonton condo property management business, you know doesn’t really happen until August, anyway 🤣 (just kidding, of course! Be ready to go as early as weather allows).
By now, your condo community should be in full swing, having come out of its winter hibernation and been rejuvenated by the return of (hopefully) warmer weather. This is the time of year when community gardens are planted and in bloom, and when your condo community should be in the thick of planning and organizing all those upcoming summer renovations. Additionally, take the opportunity as the weather warms up to remind residents about balcony bylaws and considerations. For instance, if your building doesn’t allow skis, sleds, or other seasonal stuff to be stored there, the spring-to-summer stretch is a great time to remind everyone, so that they can find alternative storage solutions.
As the dog days of summer begin to fade into distant, sun-drenched memory, your building will want to have a plan in place for fall. Arrange to put your community garden to rest for the year with winter planning and maintenance during this seasonal transition and take the time to remind unit owners about any spooky bylaws that might haunt their Halloween decorating intentions. Finally, take this time to also finalize any details regarding fall clean-up projects that your building will want to have in place before the snow starts to fly, including leaf pick-up, the removal of annuals from common area flower beds, and more.
With that, we’ve come nearly full circle as we start planning for winter and begin looking forward once more to a bright and shiny New Year. Again, as the seasons change, take the opportunity to remind owners what the bylaws are in place regarding storage on balconies, lest you be treated to a building’s worth of balcony-bound bicycles on display all winter long! Also, before the snow starts to fly, be sure to touch base once more with your snow removal contractor (you already booked snow removal for the season way back when the weather was warm, right?), just to make sure everybody’s ready for that first big dump of the white stuff. Ensure your parkade is prepped, too, and that any winter maintenance needs it might have are well in-hand before the annual big freeze hits.
There you have it – a year in the life of a condo board, mapped out and ready for you to put into action this coming AGM. Still have questions about how to set your condo building up for success in 2020? Give us a call at Catalyst Condo Management today. Your board only runs this exercise once every 365 days – but we, on the other hand, plan and organize these sorts of Annual Action Plans multiple times, every single year. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but we’ve gotten pretty good at this whole thing, and would be happy to pass on our knowledge and expertise to you, no problem – just give us a shout, and we’ll set up a chat.