indepth

Overcoming hurdles with tenacity

A luxury home with extraordinary facilities is a dream for many, but it might turn into a nightmare if the property and the enhancements that come with it are difficult and costly to maintain.

For the joint management body (JMB) of The Mansions @ ParkCity Heights, however, their determination to deal decisively with every challenge has proven that it is possible to ensure their homes remain their dream homes.

Working hand in hand with a professional property manager to achieve one goal — to maintain its standing as one of the most premium strata landed residential projects in Kuala Lumpur — has proven to be a winning formula as The Mansions was named the Bronze winner in the below 10 years multi-own strata residential category at EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed and Sustainable Property Awards 2020. In 2019, the project had clinched the Gold in the EdgeProp-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Award 2019.

The Mansions is a high-end low-density parkhome development on a 20-acre freehold hill site at the award-winning township Desa ParkCity in Kepong, KL. The project boasts some unique features which are exclusive to its homeowners such as a jungle-walk trail, a fruit orchard, an infinity swimming pool that overlooks the fruit orchard and state-of-the-art security features including motion detection perimeter fencing and CCTV.

JMB chairman Kenneth Khoo, who is a homeowner at The Mansions, and onsite building manager from Henry Butcher Malaysia (Mont Kiara) Sdn Bhd Suki Leung tell EdgeProp.my that the biggest challenge is to maintain its vast natural surroundings.

“We only have 127 units to share this 20-acre land. The project is on elevated land by a forested hill. Our residents are often greeted by insects and animals from monkeys to snakes,” Khoo shares.

“Besides the hill, the project itself is very green. The trees number more than the 2½-, 3- and 3½-storey parkhomes we have here. We also have our very own 1km jungle walk. The greenery is definitely one of the top reasons many have chosen The Mansions as their home. However, to maintain the green environment is the biggest challenge here,” says Khoo.

The Mansions has eight full-time gardeners, besides a third party service provider once every one or two years to trim the taller trees.

“Trees are living things. They need to be taken care of, trimmed, cut and fertilised regularly. The price of staying in such a green environment is you need to fork out a rather big sum to maintain and take care of the flora. When you do not do a good job in taking care of them, they will overgrow and that will bring other problems,” Khoo notes.

Living with nature

Rapidly-growing trees will need more manpower to upkeep, especially when the roots grow uncontrollably and block certain parts of the drainage system.

“The Mansions was built on a very hard and solid surface, hence drainage has always been a bit of a problem for us. For example, the overgrown roots have blocked some of the units’ drain outflow to the main drainage. Those units have to redo their piping to solve the problem.

“The hard surface also hinders water flow especially after a heavy downpour where you will see water pooling in some areas,” he notes.

To address the problem in a cost-effective way, The Mansions maintains the size of trees at a certain width and height. By doing so, it also controls the tree roots.

“We can choose to chop off some trees or replace them, but we would rather not because many of us bought here for the greenery. Replanting or replacing the trees would cost even more due to the hard surface.

“We have learned that maintaining the tree sizes is a more sustainable way. It is not necessary to destroy the natural environment for our comfort. In fact, we are the ones who have encroached into their territory,” Khoo  points out.

The hard ground in the area has also led to incidents of tiles dislocating and popping up especially the ramp at the main entrance of The Mansions, whenever too much weight is on them.

“Whenever there is a big truck or lorry coming into The Mansions via the ramp, there will be tiles popping up. According to Bomba requirements, the road must be able to hold at least 30 tonnes of weight. Our ramp and roads are also too narrow for a fire engine to pass,” Khoo shares.

Hence, the ramp and all necessary internal roads will be upgraded in future, which is expected to involve close to a million ringgit.

“Fortunately, we have sufficient funds to carry out the upgrading project if the resolution is passed in the next residents’ meeting. Our maintenance fee collection rate has been good at almost 100%,” he reveals, adding that the sum has been maintained at RM1,000 to RM1,700 per unit since handover and there are no plans to revise it.

As the property gets older, there would also be a need to upgrade the wear-and-tear of items such as the outdoor CCTV cameras and cabling. Onsite property manager Leung says The Mansions has a huge perimeter which poses a challenge to security patrolling by its 15 guards hence the upgrades are necessary to ensure the security and safety of its residents.

With so many aspects to cover and consider, Khoo stresses that it is important for the JMB to choose a professional property manager and work closely with them.

“The committee members are all volunteers and many of us do not know much about strata management and property. Therefore, we need a professional property manager. The JMB is important in setting the goal, while the property manager needs to advise us on how to achieve it and execute the plan. Both parties have to work in sync and move toward the same goal,” he concludes.

Get the full results of EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2020 here: https://www.edgeprop.my/awards2020

View the virtual awards ceremony here: https://buff.ly/2YFNcVg​

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my e-Pub on July 2, 2020. You can access back issues here.

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