RA FRONT END PORTAL – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

Front end portals for developments are becoming more and more relevant as
residents wish to have a communication tool allow easier and more efficient
communication between the owners and the Residents Association.

Whilst they wish to have this front-end portal they do not take the initiative to create
one themselves and rather rely on the Managing Agent to provide one as part of
their service. As a result, the, the portal they receive will depend on the management
system which is used by the MA, whether it be Qube, Dwellant or another system.

This results in the portal being controlled by the MA rather than being controlled by
the RA which is how it should be if it is meant for the RA and communication to the
owners.

For the front-end portal to be owned by the RA they need to contract a company to
build one for them which means spending service charge monies, however this is not
an easy sell.

Service charges are increasing for two reasons;

1) Mis-management of funds; There are a number of blocks whose funds are not
properly being managed by the MA or the RA. This is usually linked around
the reserve fund not being at an adequate level.

As a result, they have to build up the reserve fund by playing catch up on
previous years, whilst at the same time building up reserves for the future
years. This puts a massive strain on the financial resources available for such
expenditure as a portal.

2) The cost of labour and materials are generally increasing due to a number of
factors including general living costs, world affairs affecting the cost of
manufacturing. This then affects the cost of maintenance and repairs on
developments.

As such any cost for a portal would need to have a strong and persuasive argument
behind it to add it to the service charge expenditure.

RA Front End Portal

The front end portal for RA’s is mainly used as a communication tool which allows
the residents communicate with the RA on a number of different topics to do with the
management of the development.

It is not to be used as a management tool for the development itself but a way for the
RA to understand what is happening on the development and to receive feedback
without the MA being involved.

3As such the front-end portal does not need the same requirements as ones for
Developers or Commercial clients.

It needs to be on a level of “Sainsburys basics” whereby it is a simple front end
communication tool for the RA to send and receive communication from the
residents.

As part of this the support for the portal should not be offered as part of the initial
proposal as this extra cost could instead put off the RA from spending the money.
Instead “add-on’s” should be offered which they can choose from as they wish such
as the following;

 Support
 Training
 Document handler
 Travel update
 Document download section

This way they can have the basics which will work for some but then develop the
portal over time as more funds become available. This also allows the RA’s to sell
the cost of the portal easier to the residents.
Route to Market

The main problem in getting in contact with RA organisations is that they do not have
a website or telephone number like Developers or Commercial clients. As a result,
the route to market is going to rely on publications and newsletters from third party
organisations which the RA subscribe to.

The following are some of which should be investigated;

 Flat-living magazine
o Website – http://www.flat-living.co.uk/
o Contact – Rebecca Kelly
o Mobile – 07977 072 781
o E-mail – rebecca@flat-living.co.uk
 News on the block magazine
o Website – http://www.newsontheblock.com/
o Contact – Nik Shulman
o Number – 0203 538 8875
o E-mail – nikt@newsontheblock.com
 National landlord investment show
o Website – https://www.landlordinvestmentshow.co.uk/
o Contact – Tracey Hanbury
o Mobile – 07931 308 875
o E-mail – tracey@landlordinvestmentshow.co.uk

 The Federation of Private Residents Associations
o Website – https://www.fpra.org.uk/
o Phone Number – 0371 200 3324
o E-mail – info@fpra.org.uk

The other route to market is to research Residential Management Companies
(RMC’s) to find out when their AGM’s are taking place and try and make contact to
see if you can attend and present your Portal to them to see if it is of interest.

Further to this the locations to concentrate on should not be restricted to London, but
to look further afield such as Manchester where there is a huge amount of
development taking place as well as Cardiff where there has been a massive
regeneration programme within the Cardiff Bay area which has a large amount of
legacy developments.

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