#7 – Building Systems

We have, and will continue to refer to many components within a Strata Property’s buildings and grounds as “Systems”. It is a term used commonly in the Facilities Maintenance & Management industry and this is, after all, the business that Strata Corporations are in.

We recognize that the term, and the extent of its application in this context, may not be clearly understood by many laypersons and hope that we can shed some additional light for Strata owners and Council members, or any property owner for that matter.

It’s not the word itself so much as what it gets “attached” to. We can all understand its use with Electrical systems and Plumbing systems but others such as Wall systems and Life Safety systems are a little more obscure.

“What’s a wall system?” you ask. Many owners of former “leaky condos” have had an intense course on what makes up their exterior wall system, and many others have heard far more than they wanted from their neighbours through poorly constructed “party” wall systems. A wall is not just a wall, but a series of components designed and constructed to serve a very specific purpose.

Much like the human body, changes in any one of a building’s systems can have sometimes drastic effects on others, and we encourage those involved in their Strata’s Maintenance Program to take a holistic approach and avoid viewing any one system in isolation.

Even diagnosing a problem, say a plugged drain in one Strata unit, must take into consideration that other units are connected to the Wastewater System and the cause may be due to a problem somewhere else entirely. This is a very simple example. Others can be far more complex.

When it comes to a Strata Corporation’s Maintenance Plan, viewing these, and the many other components of any structure as Systems, helps to ensure that anyone with maintenance responsibilities fully appreciates their size, importance and complexity.

John Grubb is a Property Maintenance Consultant serving Strata Corporations and building owners on Vancouver Island.

To Next Article: Strata Strategies #8 – Building Plans & Drawings