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FMs give feedback on MEFMA service charge report

Only 48 out of 100 surveys to work out percentage of costs received

RWN Trading and Sami Caracand, of Cloud Concept, pictured, were sponsors of the event.
RWN Trading and Sami Caracand, of Cloud Concept, pictured, were sponsors of the event.

Guests were disappointed to hear that no-one from RERA (real estate regulatory authority) attended a MEFMA meeting to discuss its service charge focus group findings.

More than 100 people from facilities management attended the breakfast seminar at The Club, Dubai World Trade Centre Tower, recently, fronted by speaker Peter Crogan, CEO, BCS Strata Management Services.

Topics for discussion included the allocation of costs, lifecycle of service charges and how to distinguish between FM and OA (owner association) fees.

Panelists included Ryan Darnell, senior services manager, Khidmah, Jennifer Blackwell-Spencer, strata consultant and Christiane Murray, head of property management, Landmark.

Guests were told the focus group received 48 out of 100 surveys sent to the owners of residential and commercial buildings and is waiting on two master developers before finalising its report.

The surveys that came back were two from villa communities, 34 retail residential buildings, four commercial and eight mixed use buildings.

The aim of the focus group is to identify and validate all service charge related components to make it easier for members of an Owners Association (OA) to understand and to highlight any challenges and limitations to calculate figures.

Dilip Khatwani, chief executive and co-founder, Reliance FM, said MEFMA wants the survey results to go towards an industry standard benchmark on the subject but it does not have enough information to do this yet.

Comments in the Q&A session after the presentation included Ricardo Pascoal, director of FM, Census International who asked how MEFMA was going to distinguish between the fees for FM providers versus OA management costs?

Khatwani said FM providers will have to supervise OAs but it will need 12 months of operation before anyone can see the full results. There were also concerns about how the OA will make people pay for services and how the different areas will be defined.

Crogan said master community charges and utility charges were the two areas where the focus group needed to do more work.

“We think end users will need more clarity on the charges and want to come up with a standard budgeting format for OA,” he said.

Christopher Mills, technical director, Olive-VFM (UAE) said the only thing that's changing is the allocation of cost. The total cost of service charges will be the same.

Martin Seward-Case, general manager, Reaction Management Services was concerned about lifecycle costs and said the problem in Dubai was that some tenants only think about renting for short periods of time and property ownership is restricted dependant on visa status. He said any studies need to take account of this as it will also affect rental sales going forward.

 

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