Archives August 2018

An Eight Step Guide to Designing a Kid’s Room

A kid’s bedroom: there is no room more challenging, yet more fun to design. Before embarking on this project, you may want to consider all the pointers that follow.

1. Safety

The first thing you need to remember is to account for the safety of your child. Make sure that the wiring, paint, furniture and decor items are all of good quality and child-safe. No matter how good it looks, avoid items that are made of glass.  This includes shelves and furniture.

2. Space

Children spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. Remember to leave plenty of open space in the room. Opt to put all the bulky furniture against the wall. Leave the centre of the room empty so they have plenty of space to play, move around, and let’s face it, scatter their toys.

3. Tastes

When designing a room for children, it is important to include them in the decision making process. The easiest way to do this is to ask them to pick the colours for their walls. If the colour they pick is way too bright for your taste, use it as a feature wall and paint the rest of the room a more neutral colour. Yet another thing you can do is narrow down the different furniture you’re willing to buy and leave the final decision to your child.

4. Practicality

No matter how attractive the alternative, purchase practical items. Children are quick to grow in size. They are even quicker to grow out of phases. So while making big purchases, like furniture, keep things simple. You can indulge their tastes in things like bedding, rugs or wall decor.

5. Lighting

It is very important that your child’s room is adequately lit, both during the day and at night. When setting up the room, make sure there is nothing blocking the windows. As for the light fixtures, try opting for warmer lights. These help the body to relax so it is easier to put your child to bed.

6. Storage

Children may be small but they always seem to have more stuff than everybody else in the family. Give them sufficient storage space for all their things. Try to go for furniture that doubles as a smart storage option. It is always a good idea to invest in overhead storage for all the things that they don’t need every day.

7. Furnishing

A common idea while furnishing a kid’s room is selecting a theme. This helps in making the room look seamless. Themes range from cartoon characters, favourite animals to just a combination of colours. While designing a room based on a theme may be fun, the real problem comes with maintenance. So pick furnishings that are easy to clean and quick to dry. Remember, if it’s a kid’s room, spills, stains and scratches are part of the parcel!

8. Creativity

One of the best ways to personalise a child’s bedroom by displaying their artwork. Pick out the best of your child’s drawings and have them framed. You can also hang framed photographs or poetry.  Have them create wall hangings and craftwork for their shelf. Deck the room in their work and watch it come together!

Kids are the most challenging “customers” to please. Designing a kid’s room can be challenging. But the smiles, in the end, will definitely be worth all the effort!


4 Reasons to Buy Property this Monsoon Season!

Monsoon in India invariably means puddles, traffic jams and blocked roads. Naturally, this doesn’t sound like a good time to go apartment hunting. Well, believe it or not, this is one of the best seasons to lock in on your preferences. Here are four convincing reasons for you to brave the elements, and go looking for a house this monsoon.

Make The Best Of Monsoon Discounts

Monsoon is a dry season in terms of real estate sales. Besides the heavy rain, most people consider this time inauspicious to make big purchases. Luckily, this makes it the best time to get a good bargain. Even when the developers do not advertise it as a monsoon discount per se, most of them are more than willing to offer lower rates to serious buyers in order to clear existing inventory.  The amount of discount you can avail varies for different cities, depending on how badly the city is affected due to monsoon.

Avail Special Monsoon Home Loans

It’s not just the developers who are keen to boost their slow business during monsoon. Even banks and financial institutions are more likely to negotiate interest rates and offer attractive home loans during monsoon.

Choose The Most Ideal Locality

House hunting in monsoon will reveal a lot about the water logging problems in the locality. Driving around in a downpour will also give you an idea about traffic problems, and the time required to commute to and from that locality. This is especially helpful if you have new to a new city, and are yet to learn its quirks. Looking for a house during monsoon saves you a lot of trouble as you know what you’ll be dealing with during the next monsoon.

Inspect The Property During The Worst Season

In the case of partially or fully completed properties, inspecting the house during monsoon will give you a fair idea about its construction and reliability. You can easily spot signs of dampness or leakage, and avoid buying an ill-constructed house. Structural soundness of a building is an essential factor, as you may end up spending a huge amount on repairs if the house turns out to have water seeping problems.

Now that you know why it can be very profitable to buy a house during monsoon, you can very well put on your rain gear, and set out to find your dream home. Not only do you stand a chance at striking a real bargain, you also benefit from the lower home loan rates that are generally offered during monsoon.


A Complete Guide to Planning an Event in your Apartment Complex

Planning an event in an Apartment Complex can be a challenge. There is always a lot you need to do and almost always, there are unforeseen difficulties. Here are some things that may help smoothen the process.

Before the Event

As an organiser, naturally, this is the most important part of event planning.  There are several things you need to put in place as you start organising your event.

The Team
When planning an event, the first thing that you need to do is make a team. Delegate the work to members of your team. Your team has to cover all the following bases-

i. Venue management:
Not only do you have to book the venue or facility where you wish to host the event, you have to ensure you have legal permission or license to do so. You also need to organise for decorations, chairs, tables and anything else you may require during the event.

ii. Promotion and revenue collection:
What is an event without participants? It is important to make everyone in of your apartment complex aware of your upcoming event. Generate a buzz among the residents with frequent reminders. It may also be a good idea to put up posters. If your event has a participation fee, collect it in advance.

iii. Technical support:
A huge part of any event is light and sound. In some places, you may also need fans or air conditioning. It is important to have someone overlooking all these issues as they may arise before or during the event.

iv. Refreshment committee:
Regardless of their enthusiasm for your event, participants will always be excited about the food you serve. Spare no expense in this area. A good variety of food and drinks that caters to people’s dietary preferences will have a good influence on the popularity of your event.

v. Entertainment committee:
This is what the event is actually about. Build a schedule for the programme with time estimates. If this involves a cultural programme begin rehearsals as soon as possible. Stage and costume rehearsals are always a good idea. Always remember to organise activities for children. Participation by children is the easiest way to get their families engaged too.

When delegating roles, remember to account for everybody’s area of expertise. Besides these areas, remember to have someone supervising the whole event including coordination and budget management.

The Budget
Once you know who’s doing what, start getting estimates from service providers. It helps to have two or three options to choose from. Once you have an approximate idea of how much it may cost, set a budget.  Negotiate with the vendors for the best price. If you wish to charge a participation fee from the residents, it is extremely important to make it as inexpensive as possible. Keep a track of your income and expenses. This should be easily available if somebody asks to see it.

The Theme
This, of course, is an optional avenue. While some events are likely to have a theme, others can do without it. However, if you choose to have a theme, arrange for decorative pieces and props that go with it. Remember, highly stylized props can be used only once.  Aim for reusable props that you can store for the next time.

The Masterplan
Create a plan for your entire event. Build a schedule for the day right from set-up to pack-up. Mark the timings clearly. When the whole team knows where they have to be and when coordination becomes simpler.

Do all that you can in advance. Account for every detail from lighting to costumes. All your shopping should ideally be done a few days before the event.

Finally, remember that there will always be some things that are beyond your control. Leave some room for flexibility in your plan.

During the Event

There are several things you should be mindful of when your event is in progress.

Punctuality
If you want to stick to your schedule, it is very important to start your event on time. An event that starts on time can end on time, with plenty of time to do everything you have planned.

First Aid
Community events are a chance for the entire society to enjoy each other’s company. But with so many people (especially children) gathered together, there is a high chance of accidents. Keep a first aid kit nearby.

Activities
An event in an apartment complex has to engage everyone in the apartment complex. Make sure there is something to do for members of every age. Activities, where people can occupy themselves, are always a bonus. Here are some extras you can organise for your event

i. Games and toys:
The last thing you want is for bored kids to drag their parents home. Create a small playpen with toys for children to keep them busy.

ii. A Photobooth:
This is the easiest way to entertain your guests. Put up a plain black backdrop against a wall and leave a selection of silly cardboard props nearby. Your guests can enjoy a selfie session.

iii. Photographer:
If you do not want to hire a professional photographer, have someone from your team capture all the candid moments of your event. Why enjoy yourself just once when you can capture the moments forever?

iv. Open Mic:
Give all the residents a free access to the stage. Give away prizes to the participants who agree to perform on the spot. Another good idea is karaoke. You don’t need a karaoke machine to enjoy this. There are several youtube karaoke videos that your guests can sing along to.

After the Event

After the event is over there are a few things you and your team have to do. First, it is very important to clean up the venue. Clear out any trash that may be lying around and put it in the bins. This is the time when a lot of missing items are found. Makes a lost and found box and put up the list of items on your ApnaComplex Forum.

Remember to clear all your bills. Prompt payment for services usually encourages better service when you hire them again. Sending a personalised thank you note to your service providers is also a good touch. This is also the time to reimburse your team members for any payments they may have made during the event.

Lastly remember to acknowledge your team, volunteers and participants who helped make your event successful.

A community event is a fun way to get to know other residents in your apartment complex.  Collaborating with everyone to successfully pull it off may take some effort. ApnaComplex has an array of features that you can assist you in this task. Visit our website to learn about facility management, discussion forums and so much more!

https://www.apnacomplex.com/

 


The Indian Flag Code: everything you need to know this Independence Day

“A national spirit is necessary for national existence. A flag is a material aid to the development of such a spirit.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

With the 72nd Independence Day just around the corner, members of most apartment complexes will be gearing up to organise their own flag hoisting ceremony. The Indian Flag, or the tricolour, is a symbol of our country. As such, it should be treated with great respect. The Government of India has put down the code to ensure its proper construction and handling. Here is a reminder of the dos and don’ts of the National Flag etiquette.

The Flag

The Indian Flag Code specifies the dimensions of the flag and how it should be constructed. This is a measure taken to ensure that the flags used everywhere are uniform.

  • First, the Indian Flag should be a perfect rectangle, with a ratio of 3:2 between the length and the width. The flag’s size should be one among these  (in mm):
    150×100
    225×150
    450×300
    900×600
    350×900
    1800×1200
    2700×1800
    3600×2400
    Pick an appropriate size for display.
  • It should be made of handspun khadi, or of cotton, silk or wool. Avoid plastic flags because these are difficult to dispose of.
  • The flag should be split into three equal panels – saffron (not orange) panel at the top, a white panel in the middle and a green panel (described as India green) at the bottom. Be careful with the colours.
  • A navy blue Ashoka Chakra should adorn the centre of the white panel, with 24 spokes that are equally spaced.

The Display

The Indian flag hoisting rules also cover instances of the flag’s misuse and specify the proper procedure to hoist the flag.

  • During an Indian flag hoisting ceremony, the saffron panel should always be on top. The flag should never be hoisted upside down.
  • It should be displayed from sunrise till sunset, irrespective of weather conditions.
  • The flag should always be positioned to the far right.
  • There should be no other flag or emblem to its right or above it.
  • The Indian flag should hold no lettering or inscriptions of any kind.
  • During ceremonies, it is common practice to use flower petals within the unfurled flag. The Indian flag code prevents the use of any confetti or decorative materials other than flower petals.
  • In a procession, the Indian flag should either be carried to the right or in front of the central line.
  • It should never touch the ground or water.
  • There should be no other flags on the same masthead as the Indian flag.
  • The flag should never be flown at half-mast unless the government specifies.
  • The National Flag should not be used to cover any speaker’s desk, platform or monument.
  • Paper flags can be used during days of national importance. However, care should be taken that they do not touch the ground.
  • The national anthem should be sung once people salute the flag. (It is essential to follow the etiquette specified for the national anthem as well).
  • A damaged flag should never be displayed, and such flags can be disposed of in private, preferably by burning or in a method consistent with its dignity.

To read about the rules for the national anthem click
http://www.ncert.nic.in/announcements/oth_announcements/pdf_files/NatinalAnthem.pdf

When planning to hoist the Indian Flag in your apartment complex, it is the duty of every Indian citizen to ensure that these rules are followed. Start a discussion on your ApnaComplex forums to raise awareness among the residents. The managing committee can take things a step further by printing out such rules and handing out copies. It is important to make sure that no misuse occurs, either deliberately or by accident.

The tricolour represents the Indian community. So this Independence Day, as you come together in your apartment complex remember to bask in this spirit of community. From everyone at ApnaComplex, we wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

Jai Hind! 


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance. 


Announcing “School Bus @ Gate” on ApnaComplex to enhance Security in Apartment Complexes

We are excited to announce “School Bus @ Gate” – an innovative capability on ApnaComplex to enhance Convenience, Safety and Security at your Apartment Complex / Gated Community.

The life of the parents of a school-going child typically revolves around school bus timings. Parents always want to be aware of when their child’s school bus arrived for pick up in the mornings and dropped the child at Apartment Gate.

With “School Bus @ Gate” functionality, we assist parents of school-going children residing in the Apartment Complex with instant notifications when the school bus comes to the gate! This offers unparalleled convenience to the parents as they would know if the bus has arrived before the child has reached the gate and when the child was dropped at the gate.

On the ApnaComplex App, under the My Unit tab, you can associate yourselves with the School Bus by which your child is commuting. If your child’s school bus or the route is not listed – just go ahead and add a new school bus on the App. You can also add multiple buses for each school if needed. Parents of other kids going via the same school bus can associate themselves with the school bus. Whenever the bus comes to the gate to pick up or drop, all the residents associated with that bus would get a push notification on their mobiles. Super convenient!

Residents can not only check the history of bus timings for any bus – but also quickly get to know other residents – who have children going on the same bus route.

All School bus routes that were created will automatically show up on Gatekeeper app that the security at your gate uses. Security Guard at the Apartment Main Gate records the movement of the school bus on the Gatekeeper which then gets synced with the ApnaComplex cloud platform, which in turn sends notifications.

This capability is getting rolled out in a phased manner on both Android and iOS platforms and should be available to everyone in 2-3 days,

Yet again, ApnaComplex raises the bar with innovative features that really matter!


Balcony Gardens

Balcony Gardens: Fun Tips for Decorating your Balcony

While apartments have their advantages, one big downside is the detachment from nature.  As opposed to a house with a big green yard, apartments tend to feel closed off and small. The only gateway to the outside world often comes in the form of balconies.  Sitting out on your balcony, sipping a warm cup of tea (or coffee), and just watching the world go by is an undeniably therapeutic hobby. But often balcony spaces are underutilized. A common sight is a couple of old chairs, some pots with small plants, and heaps of refuse that we store for no real reason.

In recent years the concept of “handkerchief gardens” has blossomed (pun intended). What originally started as small, square garden spaces is now a term used to describe gardens in small spaces. So why not bring this concept to your balcony?

Landscaping small spaces can be a daunting task. Not only does it need to be space efficient, it also needs to fit your personal creative tastes. Here are some tips that can help set the wheel in motion.

Plan it well
As with any DIY project, the first step is planning. Having a clear idea of the space available is a must. Measure the area and create a plan for where you want to eventually place each item.

 

Clean it up
The next thing you need to do is clean up the balcony. Remove the clutter that has been lying around. Keep a lookout for cobwebs and dust bunnies that may have appeared in the unused space. Put up nails and hooks wherever you may need them. Remember to check the wiring and sockets that can be used. If you want to go the extra mile why not try hand painting the wall for extra flair?

Know your climate 
The primary requirement of any garden is, naturally, plants. While everyone loves the idea of exotic sweet-smelling flowers, we should remember that these plants need a lot of work. Look up plants that may be easier to grow in your locality. Also, check the direction of your balcony. This will have a direct effect on the amount of sunlight your plants will receive. Instead of flowers, consider growing herbs (like mint) that not only smell good but can be used in your kitchen.

Pots and pans 
A pot garden with the little mud pots is a common sight in most balconies. But why stop there? Almost anything can be reused as garden pots; bottles, old buckets, kettles, old cans, everything is fair game. To add a little variety you can also purchase hanging pots or hooked planters.

Stack it up
Balconies are usually small. In such small spaces, vertical gardens are usually a good idea. Old bookshelves, step ladders, tables and stools, all provide good surfaces to put your pots on. Do not be afraid to add variations in height. It is all part of the aesthetic.

 

 

Drape it down
Another dramatic addition you can make to your balcony garden is vines and creepers. If you want to add an aura of magic and fairy tales to your space, this is the way to go. Just remember, vines take a little extra effort to maintain.  Team it up with your vertical garden and it can make a striking impression.

 

Read more about the types of vines you can grow: https://www.houzz.in/ideabooks/98947783/list/8-climbing-plants-great-for-indian-balconies-and-gardens

 

Always accessorize
Gardens do not have to be limited to growing plants. Adding decor pieces that compliment your setup is always a good idea. Place random knick-knacks like figurines and windchimes. A popular addition you can install is a water feature. Small fountains and aquariums can add a bit more zing. You can also create a small bird bath. If you are lucky, the chirping of birds will be a great new feature of your new garden.

 

Let there be light 
Outdoor lighting can go a long way in building the aesthetic. Drape fairy lights along your walls or hang paper lanterns from the ceiling. This is usually cost-effective and easy to remove. However, if you want something permanent, buy new light fixtures for the space. Try to opt for warm lighting. It creates a more cosy ambience.

 

Keep it simple
One of the most effective ways of creating a low-maintenance garden is through terrariums. A terrarium is a glass container with a plant growing inside. It is a usually self-sustaining ecosystem. The evaporated water condenses on the surface of the glass and waters the plant over and over again. Once in place, it requires almost no help to grow. All you need to do is open up the container every so often to fertilize or trim your plants.

 

Seats for all
Do not forget to add some outdoor furniture to the mix. Your balcony could be used for anything from reading to meditation. Seats and throw cushions can help create a comfortable nook. Outdoor swings are an ever-popular choice in India. Choose quick dry foam cushions to avoid rain damage. Make sure whatever furniture you place outside is weather resistant or coated with oil paint.

 

A balcony garden is a very good place to relax and unwind after a long day. The sense of tranquillity that comes from being surrounded by foliage is unparalleled. Big or small, it has a proven effect on your mood and psychological well-being. In a life always on the move, everybody deserves a chance to stop and smell the flowers.

So pick your favourite ideas from this list and create your own handkerchief-sized masterpiece. Happy gardening!


Pets in Apartments: the Rights and Responsibilities of Pet Owners.

Many people love the idea of having a four-legged furball at home. They tend to have a therapeutic presence. Animal lovers will do anything for their furry friends. But others consider them a nuisance. Pet-related activities are disapproved of and even opposed. Often, people forget that other species on the planet also need a place to live. Sheltering a few homeless animals, newborn or aged, is not a bad idea.

The perpetual debate of whether pets must be allowed in apartment complexes, or not, has made us realise that there is a need for a clear understanding of the situation  (especially before we jump to conclusions about the rights and wrongs).

Authorities within residential areas often send out circulars that have rules and regulations about pet ownership. These circulars contain ‘vital’ information about whether or not they can be allowed to live with their human caretakers.  What people are unaware of is there is no law enacted by the Parliament, or any State Legislature, that bans animal friends. At most, you may have to register your pet (In many parts of the country you are legally required to register your pet). More often than not people end up having to choose between their home or their animal companion. This violates a fundamental right of being a citizen of this country. The right to make personal choices is protected by the constitution of India.

Following are the issues faced by pet owners:

  • Pets being banned on society premises on account of being noisy.
  • Prohibiting homeowners from using parks, lifts and other facilities if they are accompanied by pets. Also, being charged for the same.
  • Being charged ‘pet rent’.
  • Forced usage of muzzles (on calm pets).
  • Discrimination as per the size and breed of pets allowed in the housing society.
  • Being asked for a pet resume before being given the flat on rent (A pet resume contains the pet’s basic details, previous rental experience, health, behaviour, references, etc).

To make matters clear:

  • No bans can be imposed on usage of facilities (like lifts and parks) by pets.
  • RWAs cannot impose any extra charges for this, either.
  • Pets and resident owners of the pets not violating any Municipal Sanitary Bye-Laws or Regulations are permissible to stay in the society or community.
  • Size of pets cannot be a valid reason to ban them from society premises.

Such rules are highly discriminatory and might lead to friction among the members of the society. But, it must be kept in mind that these objections have risen due to certain behaviours of pet animals that have inconvenienced people in some way or another in the past.

As has always been, rights come with responsibilities. Pet owners must come forward and offer to adhere to simple, implicit rules and mannerisms.  This will eventually resolve the issues that lead to discriminatory circulars.

So, to make things fair:

  • The pet owners must make sure that there is no nuisance caused in the society due to their furry pals.
  • When out of the house and in the premises of the complex, the pets must be accompanied by their owners or anyone who has them under careful observation.
  • Since there is no central law regarding cleaning pet excreta, RWA can request pet owners to do the same.
  • Training must be provided to the pets in apartments on identifying people walking in and out of the apartment wing. This will help prevent them from getting provoked when neighbours and children are around.
  • The animals should be taken to an obedience class/training class as well. A certificate is generally provided once the animal recognises behaviour signals.
  • Crate/kennel training is another way of training the pet to stay in one place as it provides a feeling of security to the animal.
  • The pets must also be trained, through positive reinforcement, to not get aggressive around other animals and prevent matters from going downhill.
  • Pets must undergo regular vaccinations and medications required to stay healthy.
  • The owners should take responsibility for their pets.
  • Children and residents must be asked to not provoke or tease the animals.

In conclusion,  the society representatives and pet owners, must organise regular meetings and address the issues each party faces, and meet each other halfway. Non-pet owners must be sympathetic and flexible towards pets and their owners. The latter must take precautions to ensure that they and their furry friends continue to behave like responsible members of the community.


(The Governing Body in India Concerning Animal Welfare- The Animal Welfare Board of India, 1962, was the first of its kind to be set up in the world, by any Government. It was established as a part of the Ministry of Environments and Forests, Government of India, in accordance with Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (No.59 of 1960). It has a list of bye-laws for pets, and was created to advise the Government on matters concerning animal welfare and preventing the infliction of pain on animals.)

Read more here: https://awbi.org/awbi-pdf/pet_dog_circular_26_2_2015.pdf


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance. We are not responsible for any actions or non-actions that are done by you based on the information present in this article or any other article on this blog.


Announcing Gatepass : Track Material being carried out by Vendors, Service Staff and Visitors

We are excited to announce “Gatepass” a new capability to make your Apartment more secure.

Gatepass allows you to ensure records are maintained for material moving out of your flat or from your society.

Gatepass is fully integrated with Asset Management and Gatekeeper modules of ApnaComplex making it the most comprehensive solution to track Material Movement from individual flats as well as from Society’s common areas.

From ApnaComplex App:

  1. Maintenance office can create Gatepass for Assets going out of the campus. For example, Gatepass can be issued by Estate Manager against a motor pump being given out to a vendor for Repair, Gym Equipment given out for Service. Gatepass has to be tagged against the Visitor
  2. Residents can create Gatepass for material being issued to Visitors. For example, Gatepass can be issued against a delivery personnel of Amazon to pickup an item to be returned.
  3. Residents can create Gatepass for material being issued to Domestic Staff. For example, Gatepass can be issued against the housemaid to carry out news papers.

At the time of issuance, one can take pictures of the material against which Gatepass is being issued.

The Gatepasses issued by Residents or by Maintenance Staff will automatically be visible to Security Staff on the Gatekeeper. At the exit gate, Security can look up the Gatepass issued against the Visitor / Service Staff, check the material being taken out and mark the Gatepass as used.

Benefits of using Gatepass can be felt immediately. More often than not there are no proper records for Society’s assets (such as Motor Pumps, Gym Equipment etc.) that go out of the campus for repair/service. Similarly residents need not issue paper slips and keep calling security to allow material given to their domestic staff.

Ensure you have latest versions of the Android and iOS Apps and go to My Unit tab on the app to issue Gatepass. Ensure security has the latest version of Gatekeeper to be able to view and use the Gatepasses.