Archives October 2010

Diwali – A few Do’s and Don’ts for your Apartment Complex

It’s that time of the year again. The whole country reverberates to the joy of celebrations over a five-day period. There’s music, food, light and an air of prosperity all around! Yes, we’ll soon be celebrating Diwali, the festival of light that marks the victory of good over evil.

Celebrated with great joy and festivities in most parts of India, it is marked by the lighting of lamps, crackers, exchange of greetings and gifts, buying gold, decorating of home and sharing sweets with family and friends.

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Along with all the above, the festival of Diwali has also become associated with firecrackers that cause injuries and leave people with burns, loss of eyesight, damage to the ears and to property if adequate care is not taken. Every year, there is a significant number of burns and other injuries that are reported during the festival.

Download Posters you can use in your Complex

Do’s and Don’ts

It is therefore important that each one of us who is celebrating with firecrackers follow a few Dos and Don’ts to ensure that Diwali ends as a happy festival for one and all. If you are a member of the Managing Committee of your residential complex, make sure you list down your Dos and Don’ts so that every resident is aware of what they should and should not do to make it a festival that everyone enjoys.

We provide a list of Dos and Don’ts that you can use as it as is or as a guideline for your apartment complex. You can download the Diwali Do’s and Dont’s poster, print it and post it in your society notice board as is or under your official letterhead.

NEVER

ALWAYS

Buy fire crackers from street vendors. Buy fire crackers of a reputed brand from a well-known shop.
Carry or throw firecrackers for fun. Handle fire crackers carefully. Read instructions before lighting a firecracker.
Have flammable materials like wood, electrical cables, fuel, lighted lamps etc. around where you store or light fireworks. Store your fireworks in a safe area. Clear the area around before starting to light crackers.
Burst crackers in crowded areas. Keep a couple of buckets of water handy for putting out fires. Remember, every major fire starts small.
Let your children burst crackers on their own. Have an adult accompany children while bursting crackers.
Wear long, loose synthetic clothes while lighting crackers. The loose ends can catch fire. Wear well-fitting cotton clothes.
Light crackers bare foot. Wear shoes or slippers while bursting crackers.
Leave spent sparklers on the ground. Put the spent sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as you’ve used them.
Ignore a burn injury. Wash the affected area with plenty of cold water and seek medical help.
Ignore an eye burn Wash the eye with plenty of water then rush the victim to the hospital.

Have a Happy and Safe Diwali.

Download this table in easy to print format

Designate areas to light fire crackers

Another important thing that is mandatory in a gated community is to light fire crackers only in designated areas. While, every one loves to light crackers in their balconies or just outside their flat, it is not preferred as it can lead to serious fire accidents. It is imperative that in a community, the managing committee designates areas where fire crackers can be lighted and for all the members to follow the same. Usual places where fire crackers cannot be burnt are balconies, staircases, lobbies, lawns. It is also important that fireworks are lighted only during desinated timings to avoid disturbing residents of your complex.

We offer here a template that your association can customize updating the designated timings, designated areas to light crackers and also update emergency contact numbers. You can share the notice with your residents, print the same on your society’s letter head and put it up in all notice boards. Download the Diwali Notice template to customize it for your complex.

With a little bit of care and caution, Diwali can be enjoyed by one and all. Take that few additional steps to make sure that the festival leaves only pleasant memories for all involved. We wish you a very happy and safe Diwali!


Apartment Association Security Tips – What to expect from an Apartment Security Agency?

Every Apartment Owners Association has a permanent headache: The Right Apartment Security Agency.

Finding the  right apartment security agency for your community is very important, as proper security is one of the primary concerns that people look into, when moving into an apartment complex. Apartments are relatively safe to live in, as people reside well within accessible distances from each other, but adequate security measures should always be taken in order to avoid any slip ups or mishaps.

There are many facets involved in filtering out the best apartment security agency, and these are quite easy to follow and implement. Once you properly list out and analyze your expectations from an apartment security agency, you will well be on your way to finding the right one.

Looking for a security agency to gaurd your apartment complex?
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#1- Proper Background Check

Every Apartment Association must think of the security guard as an extended member of the apartment community. Wouldn’t you like to trust your security with someone who is well qualified, with all the necessary credentials?

This is why an apartment owner’s association needs to do a routine and comprehensive background check on every applicant. While contracting security guards, make sure you keep an eye out for off duty policemen, because they’ll have a lot of experience in the field. It is important to have security guards on the rolls, who have prior experience doing night duty, patrolling and log maintenance.

Go through their profiles; see the amount of experience they have garnered over the years, see how adept they are at tackling tricky situations and hire them based on all these points. You can ask the security agency to do this for you, but you’ll need to follow up with them regularly. If the agency does not have these profiles or make them available to the Apartment Association, then it is definitely advisable to move to the next agency.

Who you should not hire!

Who you should not hire!

#2 – The Importance Of Effective Equipment

An apartment security agency will provide all guards with a pager, but this will hardly be effective in helping the guard take immediate action.

You’ll need to include a section in the contract demanding that all guards from the agency should be properly equipped with radios, cell phones, flashlights, notebooks, pens (tactical or combat ones) and vehicles. Providing the security guard with a list of emergency contacts and a phone line will also prove useful. Dress code and attire/uniform is also extremely important. Security guards need to have an aura of confidence and authority, and shabby people do not exude that, however big their moustaches may be.

This will make things a lot easier for the guard supervisor in an emergency situation, but increase confidence and bring relief to the welfare association and the residential community as well. 

 

Ex-policemen and ex-servicemen make great apartment gaurds!

Ex-policemen make great apartment guards!

#3 – Maintaining A Log

Asking your guard to maintain a log of his activities is a very good way of keeping track of your guard’s productivity. This should be properly and clearly mentioned in the contract as mandatory.

Anyone can maintain a log in a generic way, writing abrupt entries like:

“10 PM to 11 PM – Roads are clean. No sign of trouble.”

This should be avoided as far as possible. Entries like these will hardly help you keep track of what your guard’s been up to. Mention in the contract that the entries in a log should be more detailed. A sample would be:

10 PM: Checked the south-side gate, generator room, swimming pool entrance and toilets. All locks intact.

10.10 PM: A black Maruti, Number plate: XYZ has been allowed into the complex, heading up towards Block C. Signed an entry to meet Mr. Kishore, apartment no. 392. Sent two security personnel to escort him to Mr. Kishore’s apartment. Awaiting response and confirmation from guards via walkie talkie from Apartment 392, C Block.

Entries likes these will help during a post mortem analysis too, if there’s been a problem and all instances and clues need to be brought onboard.

#4 – Contract Issues

Apart from the above mentioned clauses in the contract, you will need to make sure that through the contract, the guard or the agency should be held responsible for any losses that occur due to negligence on his/their part. This will provide you with indemnity, and will make the guard take his role even more seriously. This will also increase the commitment of the agency involved.

Certain contracts may also have an indemnity clause that works in the favour of the security agency, so every apartment association keep an eye out for such lines.

Good security guards are a necessity for any apartment complex that touts of being a safe haven for its residents. Get the insights of every person from your apartment association while framing certain clauses of your contract, and once an agency has been selected, open all channels of communication between the residents and the guards in order to make things smoother and easier for both parties.


Society etiquette for members in an Apartment Complex

With prices of land increasing by the day, more and more families are finding apartments a better and affordable option to stay in. However, living in an apartment is a whole lot different than staying in a stand-alone house or a bungalow. Unlike a independent house, in an apartment, there are dozens of families living apart from you. And therefore, it is imperative that you keep the comfort of others in mind too while enjoying your own when staying in an apartment. Often, people coming to live in an apartment for the first time find it hard to adjust to the slightly restrictive environment of apartments. However, it is vital for your own good as well as the overall harmony of the society that you follow some general etiquette while living in an apartment complex:

Keep the noise down

Noise if one of the most common irritants in a apartment complex; a apartment complex, understandably, has walls of different homes very close together, so the blaring sound from your stereo system can easily disturb your neighbour. Always keep in mind that while you may love your music, others have right to their sleep as well. Whether you are watching television or listening to your favourite number, keep the volume at a level which does not disturb others.

Inform beforehand about a party

In case you are having a party at your place, inform the other dwellers in the apartment building beforehand; ask them till when is it okay to keep the music blaring. Doing so helps in building a good rapport with the neighbours. A good rapport means that even if you cross the limits by chance, chances are that you would be politely told about it rather than inviting cop trouble.

Use the elevators appropriately

If you are living in a high rise, chances are that you would be using the elevator several times a day. However, while using the elevator, keep in mind that you do not keep the elevator waiting unnecessarily. If you waiting for your family or friends to come in and if they are taking too long, let the elevator go; after all, there are others too who are waiting on some other floor for the elevator. Getting into an overcrowded elevator is also a bad habit, even if there is just enough space for you to squeeze in. Refrain from doing it.

Keep the children under control

Families with children should make their kids understand that too much noise or stomping on the floor can disturb the sleep of others, which is not appropriate.

The guest factor

If you have some guests coming over, make sure you brief them about the rules and regulations of the society beforehand to avoid any trouble.

Keep your pet on a leash

Everyone does not love animals. If you have a pet, keep it on a leash when you take it out for a walk. Never leave your pet alone when it is outside the four walls of your premises as it may cause more than just inconvenience for the neighbours.

Do not honk

If you arriving from a party late at night, do not honk incessantly as it can disturb the sleep of people.

Park your vehicle properly

Although most apartment complexes have designated parking slots for people residing in the complex, there are still some people who park their vehicle without paying heed to others’ discomfort. Always park your vehicle at your designated slot and park it in a way that does not block the right to passage of other vehicles.

Use of stairs

Most often, children run up and down the stairs, which, other than causing disturbance, can also cause injury to others. Please be firm when dealing with your kids who indulge in such games.

Walking in the hallway

While walking down a hallway, you should always converse softly. Talking loudly in the hallway can irritate others and can also jeopardise your privacy. Now, you surely do not want that to happen, do you?

We at ApnaComplex care about each and every person living in an apartment and this is a small initiative on our part to make people understand that it is important to keep the rights of other people in mind while enjoying your own freedom.

ApnaComplex is offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.


Upkeep of Common Areas in a Gated Community – Lawns, Gyms and Swimming Pools

Maintaining common areas in an apartment complex or a gated community is a continuous process, and every single individual living in the community should do their part in order to live that dream life of perfection.

Every apartment is expected to have a professional maintenance crew, who will be responsible for keeping the premises clean and green. However, this does not mean that individual responsibility does not count and is not necessary. Residents will need to maintain their exteriors and common amenities well, in order to enjoy the benefits of living in a collective community that looks good, feels good and functions great!

Upkeep of Apartment Complex is everyone's duty

Living in an apartment complex is all about learning to co-exist in peace, as you will be sharing many public spaces like gyms, swimming pools, lawns and even roads with the other members of the community. Due to the sheer volume of people using these spaces, maintaining them properly becomes an aspect of utmost importance. There are a few basic tips that any resident can follow to maintain these places.

Workout Rooms and Gyms

Most apartment complexes will have common workout rooms, and you will need to do your part in maintaining these properly after every single workout session. Although you need not roll up your sleeves and fix broken equipment, there are some basic things you can do.

  • Clean all equipments once you’re done using them. Sometimes all that gym equipments need is a proper wipe, because sweat and perspiration will tend to collect on them during a workout session. Take a separate cloth along with you and wipe all the dumbbells and weights after working out.
  • Equipments that have gears will need to be oiled regularly for their proper functioning. Take time off to tell the gym in charge if you notice any equipment is not doing great. This also gives the administrators of the gym that you’re participating in the upkeep of it, rather than just using the equipment and “getting them to do their job”.
  •  Nuts and bolts that are loose can prove disastrous, so tighten all the bolts once in a while to ensure proper safety. Keep the administration informed, or talk to your trainer or instructor about the equipment. If some equipment seem overstrained, its best to put up a small note on it or by the side, asking other users to treat the equipment with care until it is repaired or replaced.

Looking for a Suppliers to maintain Lawns, Gyms and Swimming Pools in your apartment?
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Lawns

A beautiful lawn can grab many eyeballs, and maintaining a lawn is quite easy once you know the bare basics.

  • The secret to maintain a beautiful lawn is proper watering. Hose down the lawns regularly without fail, as lawns will need at least an inch of water every week. The condition of the soil can indicate whether the lawn needs watering or not, as dry soil is often a dead giveaway. Observing the lawns on an everyday basis before or after returning from work will help in the long run- you’ll notice if the plants are responding favourably to the conditions they are in and can discuss the same with the gardening staff.
  • Keep an eye out for weeds and remove them constantly. Using weed control tools and fertilizers and other chemicals in this case can also help. Your actions should be approved by other members while using chemicals, though. This is something best done through the association of the gated community.
  • Take some time off to partner with a few neighbours to maintain or develop your garden. Gardening is a great stress buster and residents can pool together to monitor and innovate the gardens and lawns to ensure that the greens are good to go.

Swimming Pools

There’s nothing quite like taking a dip in the pool during a sunny summer day, but keep in mind the fact that the pool is a public space that needs to be properly maintained in order to avoid infections and fungi.

  • Follow up with the pool staff to see how often the pool is being cleaned and chlorinated or filtered. This helps in two ways, one, you know when the pool was last cleaned and whether it makes sense to jump in, and two, everybody is aware of the maintenance of the pool and that the maintenance staff are doing their job accountably. Getting the association to put up a “Cleaning Schedule” in the vicinity of the swimming pool goes a long way in achieving this.
  • Make sure that other users and residents of the swimming pool adhere to the rules of the amenity. If you see people jumping in with improper swimwear, notify the lifeguard or the staff and ensure they take action. The same goes with hygiene in the pool, usage of head and shower caps etc.
  • There will be some corners that these chemicals will not reach, and these regions should be scrubbed with cleaning brushes, considering they accumulate dirt and grime. While you’re in the pool it’s important to notice if these “dark areas” are existent and whether they have been cleaned effectively. You can then take the same up with the maintenance staff and ensure it’s been done.
  • Try and get your association to put up a complaint board in the swimming pool premises. This ensures that people can make public complaints, of course, with their identity and information of who they are, where they live, what the problem was, when it was reported etc, so the management can follow up with staff to ensure the problem is validated and fixed immediately. The solution and the response from the maintenance staff can also be put up in plain sight on the same board so residents know that the staff are addressing key issues and working to come up with solutions.

These basic tips, when followed properly, will help you enjoy an active and healthy social life with the other members in your apartment, without any worries or issues! A gated community is like a big house. It involves commitment and social responsibility to maintain what is beautiful and good for all. The best gated communities in the world are built not only by brick and stone, but by active and participating residents and innovative public governance and responsibility.

ApnaComplex is offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively


Accounting Features of ApnaComplex – Overview

ApnaComplex offers comprehensive accounting features that helps residential apartment and commercial complexes manage their financial matters Easily, Efficiently, and Effectively

Behind the deceptively simple user interface of ApnaComplex, a full-fledged double-entry accounting system is present, hiding all the jargon and complexities involved in maintaining accounts for residential apartment and commercial complexes.

This article provides a very high level overview of the accounting modules offered by ApnaComplex. We intend to expand on each module in greater depth in future posts.

The accounting features of ApnaComplex can broadly be classified into following five modules.

  1. Member Income: Administrators / Association Treasurers can generate invoices for each flat/unit for charges such as maintenance dues, late payment penalties, club house usage, corpus fund etc.  Members can record their payments against the invoices. Administrators can approve / reject the payments and issue instant receipts for approved payments. Administrators / Treasurers can even club multiple charges to generate single invoice. Email/SMS notifications sent to relevant members when a new invoice is raised or payment is made.
  2. Non-Member Income: Administrators / Association Treasurers can record additional income that a complex receives – such as rentals for stalls/cell towers/hoardings/banners, bank interest charges etc.
  3. Expense Tracker: Administrators / Association Treasurers can record all expenses that are made by the association/complex owners under different heads such as maintenance expenses, legal, taxes, admin etc. Capture details such as expense date, how the expense was paid, to whom was the payment made, if invoice/receipt was available for the payment etc along with the expense amount.  Administrators can generate expense statements for various heads and analyze the trends, publish the statement to noticeboard.
  4. Cash & Bank Accounts: This is a module that administrators / treasurers will love. Administrators / Association Treasurers can set up Petty Cash and Bank Accounts in ApnaComplex. Once set up, all member income, non-member income, expenses that are recorded in other modules mentioned above are automatically integrated with the cash & bank accounts. This helps administrators see  the cash and bank balances up-to date in real time. The financial status is literally at your finger tips. Administrators can reconcile the bank account statements in ApnaComplex with their real world bank account and easily identify transactions that are out of sync.
  5. Financial Reports: This module provides several financial reports such as “My Statement” for members (apartment owners / tenants) to see a consolidated financial statement for all the flats/units they own, defaulters reports, list of charges, payments, income/expense report, petty cash & bank account statements. You can do slicing and dicing of data to get more inference. All statements can be downloaded into excel at anytime by the administrator for offline storage or analysis or to send to your auditor.

 With all these features, we sure guess that the accounting and auditing requirements of any apartment or commerical complex are met to the tune of 90-95% . 

Now, the icing on the cake of such rich feature set – you need NOT pay a premium to use accounting capabilities of ApnaComplex. Contact us for pricing with your complex details and we will get back to you with a quotation at the earliest. Meanwhile, go ahead and register your complex and enjoy a no-obligation 30-day free trial.


How to Carry out a Fire Drill in your Apartment?

ApnaComplex Recommends: A Fire Drill for your Housing Complex

With the number of high-rises increasing by the day, fire accidents in apartment complexes have the potential to cause huge damage to life and property. Especially vulnerable are children and senior citizens who get caught in the chaos and are unable to save themselves. While residents of high-rises should be particularly careful, even housing societies with smaller buildings or bungalows cannot take fire lightly. It is thus the duty of each and every housing association to treat fire prevention and fighting as an essential part of their responsibilities.

What does this responsibility involve?

First and foremost, the society should ensure that all fire equipments are in working order and that they can be easily accessible. In addition, a housing association should take proactive steps to prevent fires, and in the worst case, minimize the loss to life in the eventuality of a fire. The best way to ensure that your society is equipped to respond to a fire emergency is by carrying out a fire drill at regular intervals.

Research show that close to 50% of people who die in fires were those who were trying to escape. A fire drill helps members develop an exit plan that could easily save precious lives. It teaches them to take control of the situation and follow a pre-prepared plan of action instead of panicking at the situation around them.

We at ApnaComplex recommend each and every housing association to carry out a Fire Drill in your society. This article aims to create awareness about the importance of a Fire Drill and the process of carrying out one.  

Carrying out a Fire Drill in your housing complex would involve the following three steps:

  • Planning the fire drill
  • Executing the plan
  • Assessing the outcome

Planning:

  • Fix a date and time for the drill that will suit everyone in the society. A good weekend or a public holiday will be preferable.
  • Inform all the members of the housing society about the importance of the drill, as many might think it’s just a game.
  • Plan how each member in every home will escape from their rooms, starting with the bedrooms. If possible, plan two escape routes from each house; incase the first route is blocked due to some reason. For instance, the second route may be to go out a window, or stand at a window where firefighters can see the member.
  • No excuses should be allowed for not participating.  Everyone must leave the building during the drill period. Even babysitters, frequent visitors or overnight guests should be included.
  • Decide where every member will meet once they are outside.
  • Ask residents to lock their doors as usual while running out of their home during the drill.
  • Allocate two persons to coordinate the drill; one person for creating the smoke to blow the fire alarm and the other person to keep track of the time taken by each family to arrive at the meeting point.
  • Make a list of all the family members present in each family so that it would be easy to track the exit of all the members of the society.

Executing:

  • At the determined time, ask one of the coordinators to create a smoke by lighting an incense-stick or some paper near any of the smoke sensors. The objective is to start the fire alarm in the building.
  • Once the alarm sounds, everybody in their homes should proceed promptly to the outside of the building by means of the nearest exit. Ensure that everyone reaches the desired meeting point within 3-4 minutes. If some people are unable to do so, make them do the drill again.
  • Ensure everyone in each household can open all doors and windows.
  • All members should proceed to the designated meeting place outside.
  • Once all people have reached the meeting place, reset the building alarm system.
  • Notify the building occupants that they can return to the building by giving the “all clear” signal.

Assessing:

  • Document every fire drill carried out and note the frequent problems faced. Seek the help of the nearby fire station for solutions.
  • Share this document with all the members of the society within 48 hours. Discuss the problems and solutions in details.
  • Put a timeline for the necessary actions to be carried and note its effectiveness during the next fire drill.

Looking for a Fire Safety Equipment and Maintenance Supplier for your complex?
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Good habits to follow:

  • Test your smoke alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.
  • Carry out a fire drill at least twice a year.
  • Ensure that parking is not allowed near fire hydrants and that there is enough space for a fire truck to enter the society premises in case of an emergency.
  • In a real fire, get out and stay out. Then call the emergency fire brigade number. Do not go back into the building until it has been cleared by the fire brigade.
  • Residents can have windows with security bars that have an emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside.

Taking adequate precautions and sincerely participating in Fire Drills can benefit everyone involved. If your housing association is planning to carry out a Fire Drill for the first time then do take the services of an expert who can guide you about it in a step-by-step manner. Also inform your nearest fire station about the exercise and seek any additional help in terms of information or personnel during the event.


This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before any fire drill. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.