Speech by SMS Sim Ann at the Association of Strata Managers Gala Dinner 2022
Nov 18, 2022
Mr Teo Poh Siang, President of the Association of Strata Managers (ASM)
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good evening to all of you. It is my pleasure to join you for ASM’s gala dinner this year. And I am sure that all of us are particularly happy that we are able to gather in-person.
I am delighted to see more than 200 managing agents (MAs) from over 15 firms coming together with partners from the Built Environment sector this evening, to build ties and to share experiences.
Importance of Managing Agents in the Strata Management Sector
There are currently over 3,600 strata-titled developments in Singapore, comprising condominiums, offices and malls, as well as mixed-use developments. Many of these developments engage the services of MAs to help support and manage their daily operations and maintenance. MAs play an essential role in ensuring that strata developments are run smoothly and efficiently for the benefit of all subsidiary proprietors (SPs).
The many duties of MAs include – liaising with service providers to ensure that shared facilities are kept in a good and serviceable state; advising management corporations (MCSTs) on the provisions of the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) and other strata management matters; organising general meetings for MCSTs to discuss and make important decisions on the development; and helping MCSTs to ensure proper accounting and use of funds.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you worked tirelessly to put in place safe management measures to ensure that residents and tenants could safely go about their daily lives with minimal disruption. Let me thank you all for your service and invaluable contributions to the strata community.
Transformation of the Strata Management Industry
As we prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, we recognise that the MA industry faces many of the challenges that other industries also face – an ageing workforce, rising costs, and stakeholders with more diverse needs and wants. Like other industries in the Built Environment sector, the MA industry will have to embrace transformation to overcome these challenges and be better equipped to seize exciting opportunities.
To do so, the Government is working closely with MA associations, firms and other strata stakeholders, through training and accreditation, programmes to support technology adoption, and outreach and education efforts.
Training and accreditation
First, training and accreditation. BCA has worked with the two MA associations, ASM and the Association of Property and Facility Managers (APFM), to develop and launch their MA accreditation schemes. We have also heard Mr Teo speak very passionately about accreditation just now, and I cannot agree with him more.
MAs who wish to apply for accreditation will need to undergo training in areas such as legislation, building services and maintenance, and application of the BMSMA. MA firms must also employ a minimum number of accredited individuals.
Accreditation serves as a mark of professionalism and service quality, and helps MAs to distinguish themselves in the field.
As Mr Teo has updated, ASM has accredited 16 MA firms and more than 370 MA professionals. I encourage more MA professionals and firms to make use of these training and accreditation schemes. As for MCSTs and building owners, I encourage you to take accreditation into consideration when procuring MA services for your developments.
I would like to thank both ASM and APFM for working with us at BCA and MND to uphold standards in the MA industry.
Supporting Technology Adoption
Second, technology adoption. As the number of strata-titled developments in Singapore continues to grow, the MA industry will need to build its capacity to meet the growing demand for strata management services. MA firms can tap on manpower development efforts, such as Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) and the Employment and Employability Institute’s (e2i) Career Conversion Programme for Property & Facilities Management, to train and attract mid-career personnel to join the industry.
On top of these efforts, MAs will also need to enhance their productivity. One way to do this is by making good use of technology.
The Government provides generous funding support for firms that adopt advanced or smart technology, including workflow automation tools, and smart monitoring solutions. For example, Enterprise Singapore’s Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) provides up to 70% co-funding, up to an annual cap of $30,000, for companies to adopt IT solutions to enhance business processes.
The Construction and Facilities Management Industry Digital Plan (IDP), jointly developed by IMDA and BCA as part of the “SMEs Go Digital” programme, provides a step-by-step guide for Built Environment companies to enhance their digital capabilities, such as through pre-approved and SME-friendly digital solutions.
These programmes are open to our MA firms as well. Chambers Property Management Services Pte. Ltd. is one of the firms that have tapped on the PSG to introduce a digital platform that allows property users to easily report estate matters, such as defects and cleanliness issues, which are then routed instantly to the relevant personnel for follow-up.
I encourage more MA firms to follow their lead and make use of these programmes to upgrade their capabilities.
Outreach and Education Efforts to Strata Stakeholders
Third, outreach and education. MAs are usually the first point of contact for residents and tenants for all matters related to the development. You take in feedback to improve how the development is run, and often go the extra mile to help facilitate harmonious relations amongst strata stakeholders.
However, disputes may sometimes arise due to a lack of understanding among stakeholders on strata management matters. To address this, BCA has developed a set of Strata Management Guides, which aim to help strata stakeholders understand the key provisions under the BMSMA, their roles and responsibilities and good practices.
I am pleased to hear that ASM is also doing its part to raise awareness and understanding of strata management issues, by conducting training courses not just for MA professionals but also members of management councils, covering key topics such as insurance and legal matters, and the BMSMA. These collective efforts to share knowledge will go a long way towards building a more collaborative and better strata community for all stakeholders.
To conclude, MAs play an important role in serving the strata community.
Through training and accreditation, technology adoption, and continued engagement, we can achieve the vision of a competent, professional MA workforce, making good use of technology and that works hand-in-hand with the stakeholders you serve.
ASM has been a valued partner in these efforts. And I look forward to even closer collaboration with ASM and other strata partners such as the MCST Association in the years to come, as we work towards enhancing strata living and building a more collaborative and better strata community for all.
On this note, let me invite everyone here to actively participate and contribute your ideas in our Forward Singapore exercise, which actually comes with a BUILD pillar, one of the six pillars, and that has very direct relevance to us in the Built Environment sector. So let us co-create our future together!
With that, I want to wish everyone a very enjoyable evening ahead. Thank you.