Strata not required to obtain three quotes
Our strata corporation is having our deck surfaces replaced on our external balconies. The owners approved $10,000 for engineering and we are being asked to approve $300,000 to proceed with the repairs. When we asked for information around the process, owners were told: “We are getting a good deal, so stop making trouble and more work for everyone.”
Is it a requirement of the act that our strata obtain at least three quotes for a specific value of project?
Jeremy L., North Vancouver
There are no requirements in the Strata Property Act that would force a strata corporation to follow specific practices when it comes to purchasing products and services.
The act requires the strata council to act in the best interest of the strata corporation, disclose any conflicts and seek the approval of the owners where required to approve contingency expenses or to impose special levies. Some strata corporations have adopted bylaws that set specific conditions for awarding of major contracts, or owners by majority vote at a general meeting may give a strata very specific instructions on how they want the strata to proceed.
Multiple bids are not always the best solution. It’s possible only one or two companies are qualified to bid on a project, or there are so many unknown conditions that it’s impossible to develop any type of fair bidding process.
The first step your strata took to engage an engineer to investigate your decks, define the scope of work and set up the specifications for bidding or negotiation is by far the most important. Whether you have one or five bidders, the only way a multiple-bid process works is if everyone is bidding on exactly the same scope of work.
Roofing is a good example of this. A strata calls three companies, who all give quotes, but none are quoting the same product, the same installation or the same site conditions, and your strata can easily find itself paying more than it anticipated.
Strata councils should always remember that they are handling the owners’ money. We all want the same results: the best product, the best service and the best price. The only way we can secure the result, whether by negotiated contract or a tendering process, is to get the contractor to quote on a specific scope of work that includes product and materials, labour, installation, warranty and insurance conditions, site-management conditions, waste-management conditions, environmental protection and safety, and cost.
I would hope that for a $300,000 contract, your strata has considered that it will likely only cost $2,500 for a legal review of the terms and conditions of your contract.
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