Zuwedu Oseni Sanniis a Fellow of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), and a registered member of the Estate Surveying and Valuation Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON).
If you were one of us that was challenged by the sporadic increase in price of diesel in 2022, you might have taken one or more of the steps elucidated in this submission.
Forecasting, planning, coordination are some of the primary functions of management, being it estate management.These functions are to guarantee the safety and comfort of the people and earn customer loyalty. The Estate management firm or individual is procured to maintain and optimize the estate, streamline the processes, support the people and scale up the facility to meet this objective.
Planning and budgeting for the associated cost and feedback of these services are susceptible to microeconomic forces that can render the most meticulous budget unrealistic.This was the situation we found ourselves in 2022, which created a crisis in the professional management of multi-occupied Residential estates in our management portfolio.
In this piece, attempt is made to highlight the steps we took to manage the situation for confidence restoration and corporate integrity. In 2022, precisely April, the price of diesel increased from N290 per liter to about N1, 100 per liter.
Our Service Charge fund deposit was adversely distorted as a result of this increase of the major item of our services scope; power supply. It was in the same period that electricity supply from the main in Abuja, dropped to a record low. The Services Level Agreement (SLA) of 24 hours power supply to the users of the residential facility became difficult to comply with. Efforts to make people to see obvious reasons with us were excruciating, met with lukewarm attitude and in some cases, outright rejection, with subjective, malicious criticism and aspersion.
These are the highlights of the Seven steps we took to overcome this particular problem.
- Persuasion:From our discussion with various Surveyors, we were able to identify and isolate the vocal people and we had one-on-one with them. Using data as against emotion on the true situation and overcame their objections
- Maintaining Relationship: Management includes not only services delivery but relationship building. The case study is multiple ownership and multiple users. There, we collapsed all our discussion into one for real time information to avoid exaggerations or distortions from long chain of reporting.
- Persistency:Will continue to provide services from the backup generators at the prevailing cost from the available fund in the service chance while engaging all stakeholders.
- Users Need: From investigations we understood their needs and desires and provided solution that address them. Some of these solutions are:
- Prepared a supplementary budget which was presented in a town hall Physical meeting of the estate.
- In the supplementary budget for the first time we have to separate the diesel from the other fixed cost. This is because of the uncertainty nature of diesel cost within budget circle.
- Moved for the Amendment of the electricity 24-hour supply as provided for in the SLA.
- Pleaded for the procurement and installation of inverters by each resident, within three-month to enable us migrate from 24 hours to rationing.
- Commenced the processes of deploying computer-aided service charge and property management services for real time accounting of Service Charge Fund.
- Security and all external lightings now powered by solar power supply alternatives source in the premises.
- Feedback:Activated the hitherto comatose management committee of the estate for ease of feedback for performances improvements. Most of the meetings were made hybrid; physical and virtual for greater participations.
Residential Facility Management involves people whose comfort the Managers strive to guaranty. Conflicts occur due to unforeseen circumstances and situations beyond the management control.
Effective engagements of stakeholders through intentional and deliberate communication helped to reduce the mistrust, improve collection of service charge and boost confidence of our landlord, tenants and specialist contractors in our services delivery provided the panacea for the crisis in the residential estate.
As manager, your mindset and attitude towards the problem and clients have a significant impact on your success.
Zuwedu Oseni Sanni is a Fellow of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), and a registered member of the Estate Surveying and Valuation Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON).