The role of the Strata Manager

The Misunderstood Role of Strata Managers: Separating Myths from Reality

Strata management is not just about overseeing a building’s day-to-day administrative, compliance and financial obligations; it’s about understanding and navigating a myriad of legislation, regulations, and standards that govern our built environments for the benefit of the owners corporations, residents, and the public that uses them.

It’s a role often misunderstood by the very communities they serve, which adds layers of challenge to an already multifaceted profession.

NSW is pioneering higher standards within the industry. Strata managers in NSW must be licensed, showcasing their qualifications and commitment to professional conduct. SCA bought in much required accreditation, which helps consumers identify a strata managers depth of experience by their accreditation level.  Furthermore, the Professional Standards Scheme has brought a welcome layer of integrity to our industry, reinforcing the importance of ethical practices.

Strata misconceptions

Misconceptions about what strata managers do—and what they earn—can often overshadow the reality of the role. It’s not uncommon for owners to believe that their entire levy is pocketed by the strata manager when fees are typically a modest portion of the annual budget, with the majority allocated to covering the scheme’s operational costs.

Additionally, there’s a widespread but incorrect belief that strata managers benefit from the interest charged on late levies. In contrast, this interest is legally required to be deposited into the owners corporation’s trust fund.

A particular point of confusion lies in strata managers’ perceived power and responsibilities. It’s essential to clarify that while strata managers are decision facilitators and advisors, the strata committee ultimately guides the community’s course. We do not usurp this authority; we support and enact it.

Moreover, expectations sometimes extend to tasks outside a strata manager’s purview, such as on-site project supervision or legal arbitration. Their role is advisory; they steer the community through governance and administrative waters. The hands-on inspection of trade work and legal representation in disputes are roles better suited for building managers and legal practitioners.

Strata manager expertise

Strata managers are akin to Swiss army knives; they must have various tools to handle everything from financial management, defect rectification to conflict resolution.

In the current landscape, where the NSW Building Commission is taking decisive action to address substandard practices within the construction industry, the role of strata managers has become more critical than ever. Their responsibilities now extend beyond traditional administrative duties, involving a more proactive approach to ensure compliance with heightened standards and regulations, safeguarding residents’ interests and promoting the integrity of the properties they manage.

They must be well-versed in legislative intricacies, such as the Strata Schemes Management Act and its regulations, the Community Land Act, the Strata Schemes Development Act, the Design and Building Practitioners Act (DBP Act), and the Environmental Protection Act to name a few.

Guiding strata committees in the DBP Act

Recent reforms in New South Wales to instil confidence in the apartment market have made navigating the legislative landscape even more intricate. The DBP Act has increased accountability and transparency but has made the planning pathways more complex for owners corporations.

These laws require strata managers to be up-to-date with evolving building compliance to effectively advise and guide clients to make informed decisions.

As compliance costs rise for owners corporations due to these legislative changes, strata managers often find themselves at the crossroads of fiscal management and regulatory compliance, a balancing act that can be a source of significant stress, especially in this current ‘cost of living’ climate.

Evolving fire reforms

In February 2025, Class 2 buildings must ensure their fire protection services comply with AS 1851-2012. With the forthcoming regulations, strata managers must deepen their expertise to ensure fire protection systems within their managed properties are inspected, tested, and fully aligned with the standard’s stringent requirements.

Understanding sustainability practices

To align with the government’s Net Zero Emissions target by 2030, strata managers are acquiring new skills in sustainable practices. This proactive approach equips them to guide owners corporations in implementing measures to reduce energy consumption, contributing significantly to environmental sustainability goals.

Shortage of skills

Despite the challenges and the noticeable undersupply in the industry, there’s a promising shift occurring within strata management. More and more professionals, equipped with diverse degrees and substantial corporate experience, are entering the sector. This new wave of strata managers is elevating the profession, introducing innovative approaches and rigorous practices to an industry essential for maintaining community well-being.

The role of strata managers, particularly in the complex legal landscape of New South Wales, is crucial. These professionals not only ensure the smooth functioning of living spaces but also safeguard their safety and compliance. It’s crucial to demystify the role of strata managers and recognise their significant contribution as the architects of community well-being. By doing so, we can appreciate the vital work these professionals do in navigating the complexities of strata living, ensuring communities thrive under well-managed care.


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