Publication: Quick Coat of Paint

"Our Body Corp needs to re-paint our building but the costs are so very high. We have decided to try and do the job ourselves - we have a number of people in the block who can paint and one of our trustees has a connection where we can buy bulk paint at a discounted cost. This obviously saves us thousands and gets the job done. But now I'm reading that we could be causing more long-term problems. Surely a quick coat of paint can't be that difficult and at least, it'll give the block a face lift - even if it only lasts a couple of years."

Dear "quick coat of paint". There is nothing wrong with a quick coat of paint, if you ONLY want a change of colour. We generally refer to these jobs as "Lap & Plak" jobs. Consider this:

A. How long will it last?
Example 1: Paint every 2-3 years for 10 years at R 200 000 per job. Paint 4 times in 10 years. Total expense: R800000-00.
Example 2. Now let’s put a guaranteed coating system together that will last a minimum of 5 years at 1? times the cost: R 300 000-00. Paint twice, which gives you a total of R 600 000-00.
Which of these two examples is cheaper?
Long-term maintenance is the overriding factor. Remember that you are spending other owners’ money, to provide growth for their asset & long-term benefits, not short-term savings. In a body corporate the proportional cost can be very economical if spent and used correctly. If you really crunch the numbers with a 12% per annum increase, over 20 years, you'll be really be shocked by the numbers.

B.  What is the expected lifespan of the building? Cost should be forecasted into lifecycle costing to accurately look at cost. The affect of maintenance on the total cost of maintenance over an extended period is the key. Many bodies corporate have learnt a very expensive lesson, namely that low-cost maintenance catches up with you eventually, and then it really costs you an arm and a leg.

C. Very important!! Remember that the paint is the last step in a redecoration process. The condition of your maintenance areas and their preparation and repairs are the really important issues. Moisture ingress into surfaces can cause even the best paint-job to fail, and it will also cause secondary failures.

D. If you want to save money, get in independent advice and look at all the options. Every building has its own needs and problems. If you want to save money now, only tackle the key areas and possibly stagger your maintenance to fit your current budget and forecasts. Running a body corporate is often more like running a business, which means less of just ongoing minor maintenance issues. Rather outsource your maintenance advice and quality assurance. Concentrate on the year to year running of the finances. In the long run, it’ll give you your best possible outcome.

E. Remember that contractors get between 15-35% discount on paint. Paint is not the real cost, but Labour & Preparation can be very costly.
Getting it wrong can be a real nightmare!!

Good luck, and happy painting.
Frederik Nel,