Case Study: Belarmine & Belarmine Plaza
Belarmine is an expansive multi-unit development located in Stepaside, Dublin 18. Built by Castlethorn Construction, Belarmine continues to grow with the recent addition of Belarmine Plaza, a further 65 units. Petra Management was awarded this contract during the planning stages (2004) which allowed us to make some practical and key strategic decisions.
At the inception of this contract, we took the opportunity to draft a realistic budget, which included a contribution to the reserve fund (this was achieved well in advance of legislation in the MUD Act, 2011). This was seen as a welcome change from the traditional approach, where the first-year service charge is often not realistic and does not include a contribution to the reserve fund, invariably leading to an unwelcome service charge increase in the following years. As a result of this, the development is now well-funded and can cope with all necessary refurbishments without affecting the service charge level. In fact, Belarmine has seen a reduction in the service charge every year since the development was completed in 2005.
Petra has also played an integral role in ensuring that new owners feel welcome. As the development expanded and owners moved into their properties, Petra provided each one with a detailed information pack tailored to their property type. This info pack explained the role of the management company and the managing agent and the responsibilities of each. It also included information regarding amenities in the area and local services.
One of the main mediums through which this information has been communicated to new owners is through Belarmine’s client website, accessed via petra.ie. Set up in 2010, this web site (managed by Petra) gives owners frequent updates about their development (maintenance issues, events, etc.) as well as access to important resources (property management reports, code of conduct, budget, audited accounts and newsletters).
Part of Petra’s success is also attributed to senior property managers being directly involved in the management of the property. For example, access and egress to the development was maintained 24/7 during the snow and ice conditions of winter 2010. We organised snow ploughs to be on-site at 5.30 am each morning. All snow was cleared away, followed by salting and gritting. A senior property manager supervised this project on a 24-hour basis including New Year’s Day, monitoring the weather forecast daily, ensuring that this expensive service was only utilised when necessary.
From the outset, we have organised annual community events in Belarmine. These are held outside of office hours (i.e.: summer BBQs, Christmas parties, etc.) for owners and residents of circa 500 residences. Petra’s involvement not only included the conception, planning, supervision and execution of the event, but also the sourcing of suppliers and activities, the ensuring health and safety compliance and ensuring indemnification of the management company from third-party claims.