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Why September is the New January in Block Management
The summer is over. We’re getting ready to get the children back to school, older ones to university, business is picking up again and there’s a sense of clearing the decks and getting stuff done.
If you feel a renewed sense of motivation in the autumn, you’re not alone. There’s mounting evidence that “September is the new January” when it comes to setting goals, tasks and things you want to achieve by the end of the year.
Often, we use seasons and memorable events to anchor tasks to and building works are no different. You’ll often hear residents say they want to be “in for Christmas” or “straight by Christmas.”
It’s just simply the Psychology of New Beginnings.
September is a popular time for reinvention and renewed motivation because of something behavioural economists have dubbed the “fresh start effect“. Put simply, this principle suggests that it’s easiest to adapt to habits at natural transition points. A new beginning may be signalled by an occasion like back to school, back to work, a birthday, an anniversary or a simple timeline like the first of the month. Personally, we believe the start of September is a little ambitious as so many make the most of the bank holiday weekend - so, instead we’re marking this week when most of the children return to school as the fresh start effect.
How to take advantage of the ‘Fresh Start Effect’ for your block
So instead of waiting for the New Year to set goals and achieve tasks, why not make progress now?
Are there building works that you’ve been meaning to sort out for months? Do you have any niggling problems that you see everyday and just haven’t got around to sorting out...Many of the blocks we’ve been talking to haven't got together for months due to Covid and lockdown, so this is the perfect time.
Follow this simple 3 stage process for your September Fresh Start
Step 1 - Get all the leaseholders together and start a wish list of all the work that needs attention. It would be great to involve your Property Manager from your block management company at this stage. Just so everyone is aware of the plans.
- This is especially important this year as many management companies did not get together and hold their regular meetings and Annual General Meetings due to Covid.
- It is important to keep up regular and consistent communication. What we have found is that when communication breaks down, relationships break down, and that doesn’t help anyone!
Step 2 - Next categorise the list in order of importance - High, Medium and Low.
Step 3 - Next categorise each task with a timeline:
- Urgent (within 1 week)
- Non Urgent (within 1- 3 months)
- Nice to Have (3 - 6 months)
Obviously super urgent tasks you’ll (hopefully) already be planning.
The next step would be to assign costs against all these tasks - this is where your managing agent comes in. They’ll have the contractor contacts and will need to arrange three quotes of the work and issue Section 20 notices if required.
Here’s my final piece of advice:
- Get in touch your managing agent and arrange to talk about your September Fresh Start
- Get all your leaseholders together and seek their input.
- Follow this simple 3 step approach.
The building industry is getting back to normal but unfortunately securing great and reliable contractors are in great demand and due to covid and other economic challenges the price of materials has increased. The Office for National Statistics has projected a rise of 7-8% in material prices this year, with increases for certain materials, such as timber, expected to more than double. You can read more about it here in this BBC article.
The Federation of Master Builders reported in May 2021 that some building firms may have to delay projects and others could be forced to close as a result. Small, local builders are being hit the hardest by material shortages and experiencing price rises of 10-15% across the board.
Even Construction News reported that Travis Perkins the go to supplier for small building firms was encouraging its clients to “order early” to avoid delays.
What does this mean to your block?
Planning Planning Planning.
Planning the work you need to do is even more important- especially now!
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