ApnaComplex Webinar Recap: ‘Preventions & Precautions Against Coronavirus for Societies’

In an endeavor to assist managing committees of apartment societies during this lockdown, ApnaComplex has been organizing Expert Webinar Series on important topics related to coronavirus. The previous webinars were a huge success whose details you can find here, here and here.

The latest webinar in this series was conducted on 4th April 2020 in association with Elita Promenade Apartments (Bangalore), on the topic of ‘Preventions & Precautions Against Coronavirus for Societies’.

This 1-hour live webinar was presented by renowned Dr. Swati Rajagopal, Infectious Diseases Physician and Travel Medicine Expert at Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore. Dr. Rajagopal shared key facts and prevention advice on COVID-19, along with measures and guidelines that should be followed by apartment societies to avoid the spread of coronavirus. The second half of the session was dedicated to answering participant queries.

The session was attended by managing committee members from 100+ apartment societies across India, and was highly appreciated by everyone. We thank Dr. Rajagopal for taking the time to conduct this webinar, and to Mr. Tarak Desai of Elita Promenade for partnering with us in organizing this session.

To access the presentation shared during this session, please click here

Highlights of the key information shared in this webinar:

What precautions and preventative measures against COVID-19 should be taken within homes as well as in apartment societies?

A: At home:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every couple of hours.
  • Sanitize all common surfaces (tables, telephones, etc.) with any standard disinfectant used at home.
  • Elderly people should not at all go outside as they are more susceptible to this infection.
  • In case of symptoms like cough and cold, get yourself tested at the earliest for correct diagnosis.

Within societies:

  • Every society resident must follow the lockdown protocols diligently and communicate with other society members only through virtual platforms like calls, messages, etc.
  • All deliveries should be collected at the gate and outside visitors shouldn’t enter the apartment complexes.

Is it true that Diabetes medicines reduce immunity against coronavirus and should be discontinued?

A: Absolutely not. In fact, people with conditions like diabetes and cardiac issues must continue their medications to keep their conditions in check and reduce the chances of infection.

What are the best practices for handling fruits & vegetables?

A: Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed in warm water and dried properly before use. Also, ensure to wash your hands with soap both before and after cleaning the vegetables. If you cook/boil the vegetables adequately, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Is it safe to use milk bought from outside?

A: Milk is absolutely safe as long as it pasteurized/boiled before consumption. Also, our digestive juices will prevent any infection.

How should societies manage the collection of outside deliveries during this quarantine period?

A: Avoid cash-on-delivery and opt for cashless deliveries. The collection of deliveries should be done at the society gate in a structured way, where people come to pick their orders one after the other. Proper waste management practices should be followed in societies as well.

Can Hydroxychloroquine be used as preventive medicine against COVID-19?

A: There isn’t enough evidence yet whether Hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat COVID-19. It is used for certain diseases must be prescribed by a doctor before use since it has several side-effects and can also lead to cardiac deaths.


Webinar on ‘Managing Waste and Protecting Housekeeping Staff in Apartment Societies during Coronavirus Outbreak’

ApnaComplex has been conducting webinars connecting committee members of Apartment Societies across India on a common platform.  The first two webinars focused on ‘Securing Societies from coronavirus‘ from the point of view of a senior doctor at Apollo Clinic and RWA members of Elita Promenade, a prominent apartment in Bangalore. You can find the previous webinars here and here.

The third edition, conducted on 26th March, explored Managing Waste and Protecting Housekeeping Staff in Apartment Societies during Coronavirusand was hosted by Mr. Shekar Prabhakar, co-founder of Hasiru Dala Innovations, a company that is focused on creating better livelihoods for waste-pickers and enabling businesses that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Mr. Prabhakar highlighted the fact that most of us focus on what comes inside our home and fail to focus on what goes outside our home. He argued that there is a possibility that we could be asymptomatic carriers of COVID19 and as responsible citizens, we should start worrying about what goes out of our home. This is especially true for those who are quarantined because of travel history or close contact with an infected case.

He advised all the masks, gloves, tissues and personal protective equipment to be wrapped in newspaper, marked with a red X and disposed in bin specific to domestic Hazardous/Rejects (red bin).  He also advised committee members to ensure housekeeping collect domestic rejects in yellow non-chlorinated garbage bags and do not handle the waste but directly transfer from your bin to bag.

In the second half of the session, committee members from various cities raised their problems and sought advice from the panelist and fellow RWA members from other societies. Check out the video shared above to know all about the intriguing problems each Society is facing related to waste management and about the solutions that were discussed.

The presentation shared during the Webinar: Link


Webinar on ‘Securing Societies from Corona : Best Practices Discussion led by Elita Promenade Apartments’

On 22nd March 2020, as India observed ‘Janata Curfew’, RWAs from Apartment Societies from across the country came together to meet and discuss – digitally and responsibly, without leaving their home.

ApnaComplex had organized online meeting for Apartment Societies to share their best practices on ‘Securing their Societies from Coronavirus.’ The discussion was led by RWA of Elita Promenade, a prominent Apartment Society in Bangalore with ~1500 units, and a long-time customer of ApnaComplex.  Elita Promenade has been exemplary in their actions towards securing their Society and was featured in Times of India because of their innovative steps to fight COVID19.

In the first half of the session, Mr. Tarak Desai (Board Member) & Ms.Maria George (Secretary) of the Elita Promenade RWA explained how they had started their response early on Feb 1st week and talked about the task force they had set up along with volunteer groups from residents. The panelists shared their best practices such as ‘travel self-declaration form‘, sanitization at each gate and block level, installing washing stations, etc. Ms. Maria highlighted the need to quench all rumors circulating inside the Society. She explained how Elita uses Noticeboard on ApnaComplex to keep their residents informed with official news and regular advisories from RWA. 

The second half of the meeting saw committee members from various societies talk about the common challenges they are facing in this unprecedented situation and debated the solution each one had adopted. It became evident that meeting is well-received when multiple RWAs requested ApnaComplex to organize more such meetings and provide a common platform for the Societies to come together for learning and sharing their best practices with each other. The event concluded with all participating Societies thanking Elita Promenade RWA and ApnaComplex for organizing the webinar.

Presentation shared during the Webinar: Link

Travel Self-declaration Form used by Elita: TBU

Parting words from Participants:

”Excellent and very informative session. Great job guys! Thank you so much”- Raghav

“Good initiative by Elita Promenade Apartment”-Mallik

“Good coordination AC, thanks a lot for the awareness campaign” – Narayanan Ramasubramaniyan

“Thank you so much for organizing such an informative session. It is need of hour.” – Anshila Tiku

“You guys are doing incredible job. Hats off to you members of Board” – Richie

“Thanks for the Webinar, very timely and informative.” –  Sonarbina


Securing Apartment Societies from Corona – Transcript of Webinar by Apollo Clinic

On 18th March 2020, ApnaComplex and its Health partner Apollo Clinic organized a live interactive webinar (for both users and non-users of ApnaComplex) to dispel myths and gain accurate medical information about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to help keep residential societies safe. The purpose of the session was to spread authentic information so that residents of apartment societies do not have to rely on unverified and unauthorized information from social media. 

This 1-hour live webinar was helmed by Dr. Phani Kumar Gorantla (MBBS with 12 years of experience) of Apollo Clinic. The first 15 minutes of the session were used to share all pertinent information about COVID-19 including how it started, how it spreads, signs & symptoms, precautionary measures, etc. The rest of the session was dedicated to answering all the participant queries, including how to protect residential societies from this outbreak.

The session was highly appreciated by all the attendees who participated from various residential societies from across the country.

To access the presentation shared during this session, please click here

To access the video recording of this live session, please click here

Following is the gist of the information shared by the doctor during this webinar:

What is novel coronavirus or coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus are a large family of viruses known to causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to the more severe ones like MERS and SARS. A novel coronavirus (nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus that has previously not been identified in humans. It has been suggested that nCov originated from Wuhan’s seafood market but the exact animal source of this outbreak is not definitively known.

How does coronavirus spread in humans?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to another as follows:

  • By air such as through coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth/nose/eyes before washing the hands
  • Rarely through fecal contamination

Should we use thermal scanners for everyone entering the society?

Thermal scanners are effective only in detecting those people who have a fever, but it doesn’t detect those who are infected but not yet showing symptoms of the infection. This is because it takes anywhere between 2-10 days for those who are infected to start showing symptoms like fever. Still, it’s a good practice to install thermal scanners in societies in order to detect people with clear symptoms like fever. 

Can pets spread coronavirus in the societies? 

Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets like cats and dogs can be infected with the coronavirus. But it is advisable to always wash hands properly with soap and water after coming in contact with pets, and also avoid touching animal droppings with hands.

Is it possible that a person who doesn’t show any symptoms can still be infected?

Yes, about 40-60% of infected people don’t tend to show external symptoms like cold, cough, fever, etc. (asymptomatic) during the incubation period. Therefore, they might be infected and spreading the virus despite looking healthy. 

Can old people take walks within society? Any specific precautions they should take?

Elder citizens, especially with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, etc. are more susceptible to this infection, therefore it is advised for them to avoid physical contact like handshakes while maintaining good personal hygiene and washing hands properly with soap and water or sanitizers. But they can take walks within the society premises and should maintain at least 2 meters distance from others and wear a mask in case of mild symptoms like cold and cough. They are also advised to avoid all social gatherings at least for the next couple of weeks. 

Should children be allowed to play in the society playgrounds?

It’s okay for children to play outside, but it is strongly advised to avoid playing in big groups. If they need to do so, they should wear a mask and maintain a minimum 2 meters of physical distance. Swimming pools must also be avoided for the next couple of weeks. Playing in closed areas using common indoor playing equipment should be allowed only if all the surfaces are properly disinfected.

How to keep society equipment sanitized/disinfected?

The government has advised not using publicly open places like gyms within the societies. If used, all such surfaces of common society equipment including in the gyms and playground should be properly cleaned with disinfectants like ethanol, isopropyl, isopropanol, hydrogen peroxide, etc. 

Should everyone returning to their society from abroad be isolated? What does self-isolation mean?

Anyone who has recently returned from international trips but not yet showing any symptoms should also self-isolate themselves at home and limit physical contact with family members for at least 14 days to determine whether they are infected or not. In case any symptoms start showing up, maintain at least 2 meters of physical distance with everyone and visit your nearest physician.

Does everyone need to wear a mask?  

In case of mild symptoms or while traveling in crowded places or through public transport, wearing a mask is advised. Masks are not required for those who are not infected/not showing symptoms but are required by only those who are showing symptoms and need to travel using public transport. 

Can eating more Vitamin C rich food help fight against coronavirus?

Vitamin C is useful for increasing general immunity of the body which helps against all infections including Coronavirus. However, it doesn’t particularly help to prevent getting coronavirus as such. 

Should we avoid food order deliveries inside the society? 

For the next couple of weeks, it’s advised to get residents to collect food deliveries at the Society gate itself. If you must order food deliveries, use disinfectants on the food package to clean the surfaces before opening and using them. 

Are there any government guidelines that apartment societies should follow?

BBMP has shared an advisory for all RWAs in Bangalore, which can be found here. Even if your society doesn’t come under this jurisdiction, committee members of all apartment societies should share these guidelines with the society residents to help prevent the spreading of coronavirus within the societies. 


A Message From Our CEO: The Next Chapter in Our Story

I am thrilled to announce today that ApnaComplex has been acquired by NestAway, a leading provider of integrated property management services to homeowners in the country. As you might already be aware, NestAway has been a minority shareholder in ApnaComplex for more than a year and has been backing our vision of bringing more convenience to the homeowners in gated communities. With this, you should be ready to experience a much better ApnaComplex product with more capabilities in the coming months.

What does this mean for you?

On a day-to-day basis, it’s business as usual. There is no change in our existing agreements, terms of service and policies. With access to more resources and partnerships, we will be able to accelerate rolling out of more capabilities for you and for gated communities across the country much faster than ever.

What does this mean for us?

We will retain our distinct brand and will continue to operate independently with the same team and leadership.

We had an amazing last year, where we added more than 1 home every minute on the ApnaComplex platform. We will continue to focus on adding more homes on our platform and pursue our vision of making gated community living a pleasure for all stakeholders.

Our story continues…

It all started with my harrowing experience as the treasurer in my newly formed society. With an urge to change the status quo, 10 years ago, Gokul and I set out to make the life of managing committees of Apartment Societies a little less painful with the help of technology.

Along the way, we have innovated that resulted in many unique solutions that not only solved many problems of gated communities but also resulted in creating multiple sub-industries. Some of the products such as Collection Gateway, Vehicle Sentry, Guard Patrolling are a result of our relentless focus on continuous, cost-effective innovation. With our focus on innovation and data privacy, we have gained the trust of several thousands of housing societies such as yours across the country.

Joining forces with a company that is as passionate about gated communities, innovations and data privacy as us, is what takes us into the next chapter in our storybook. Stay tuned to see where our innovation takes us from here.

Thank You!

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for putting your trust in us over the last 10 years and bringing us to where we are today. We come to work every day for you. Each and every member of our team – our product managers, engineers, support specialists, field officers, accountants… everybody is driven to make the gated community living a pleasure for residents, owners, and committees. This commitment is stronger than ever during this exciting time.

Sincerest gratitude,
Raja Sekhar Kommu


Waste Management in an Apartment Complex

Waste management always comes with a golden rule: reduce, reuse, recycle. At first, this feels like a daunting prospect, like an excessive amount of effort. But in reality, this can be achieved if the issue is targeted at the root: the household.

Living in an apartment complex means living in close proximity to other. So naturally, we need to stay mindful of maintaining clean surroundings to keep it from being an inconvenience.  


Waste management in the household

Enforce a segregation rule in all the units of your apartment complex. Have every household maintain one dustbin for wet waste and one for dry waste. Make sure that the waste is also collected separately. This makes the waste easier to dispose of. Emphasize the need to drain the waste of liquids before throwing it in the bins. The liquid in the waste creates a breeding ground for pests and allows rot to settle in faster.


Waste management in the society

Once the household is taken care of, cleanliness has to be maintained in the common areas of the society. The most effective technique is to hire cleaning crews to sweep and clear the litter. It is also imperative to reduce little. install clearly marked dustbins all over your complex. Place them in all the convenient locations and spread the news urging your residents to use them. Also, urge your residents to clean up after their pets. Pet excreta should be picked up by the owners and disposed of responsibly. Disposables used for any community event should also be biodegradable. Hold regular cleaning drives and educational sessions to ensure that both children and adults are regularly reminded of the importance of clean surroundings.


Waste Management in the long run

While immediate steps ensure waste management, you need to install mechanisms that make the job easier in the long run. Educate your residents of the importance of recycling paper and plastic waste. If possible hire a service to come to the complex to collect the recyclables. Plant plenty of trees in your society. Not only does this help clean the air of pollutants, but it also helps slowly replenish the soil while making your society look aesthetically pleasing. Also, ensure that the drainage system of your society is in good working condition. Waterlogging causes problems with mosquitos, flies and other pests. Lastly, consider installing a compost pit in your society. This can help you dispose of the biodegradables right within your society. The compost can be used as manure for your trees and gardens. Any surplus can be sold to bring a good revenue for your society.

There are plenty of other techniques and real-life examples of good waste management. You can use the ApnaComplex noticeboard feature to educate and notify all your residents. Sharing them with others can only help generate awareness and possibly action towards a cleaner India.


Why ApnaComplex is the most preferred Apartment management solution all over India?

ApnaComplex is one among several available Apartment Management Apps. Our customers have many other options that provide similar services. But what makes ApnaComplex the most preferred apartment management service in India? Allow us to tell you:

Thought Leaders:

We believe in setting the benchmark for our field. Our innovation is nearly two years ahead of any other portal in Society Accounting and Social Management. We are the first to bring Society Management to the Smart Phone Generation. We introduced India’s first and only Collection Gateway for housing societies to solve the problem of NEFT reconciliations for every Housing Society. Using Collection Gateway residents can add the unique account number allocated to them as beneficiary and automate the monthly transfer of dues.

Super High Configurability:

Life in each apartment complex is different. The requirements and expectations from each one are unique to that complex. We understand this perfectly. As a consequence, our portal is super customizable. You can configure the plan to your requirements at prices that are pocket-friendly.

Data Security:

At ApnaComplex, we understand that cybersecurity is extremely important. Your personal information is kept extremely secure and access to it is limited. No information is divulged without your express permission. Beyond this, ApnaComplex is the first portal that offers secure browsing using SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Data Security is one of our primary aims.

Data Privacy:

ApnaComplex offers the most private portal in the industry. We do not bombard you to buy from various service providers to earn commissions. There are no ADs on either our portal or our App. We dislike ADs as much as you do.

Support for Federations:

ApnaComplex is the first portal that offers support for Federation of RWAs. Federation of RWAs can add member associations and easily communicate across all. Notices posted in Federation can reach all members of its member associations providing a unified platform for the entire neighborhood. This means that it is not just about your complex who can benefit- but about the entire neighborhood!

SMS to DND Numbers:

While we understand that residents don’t wish to receive constant notifications from the app, we also understand that certain messages are extremely important. So if a committee member decides that a certain message is too important to be missed, they have the option to send it even to those numbers registered under DND.

Easy to use:

ApnaComplex offers a “Complete Accounting Package” that can be used by Chartered Accountants and Treasurers with no accounting background with equal ease. In addition, ApnaComplex supports multiple roles like Accounting Admin, Accounting Assistant, Data Entry Operator, and Auditor to delegate accounting work. ApnaComplex Accounting is designed and developed by a team with real-life experience in social accounting as committee members and treasurers so we understand what you need.

Continuous Upgrades:

Despite having the most comprehensive set of features already, we are continuously working to enhance and update our services. Quite a few enhancements are the result of customer requests for new features. So, all our customers benefit from the collective wisdom of hundreds of societies. Also, this allows you to streamline the experience to your needs.

Excellent Support:

We strive to delight our customers, period. You have live chat, email-based support, phone-based support, online help, and manuals to take care of your needs.

ApnaComplex is dedicated to making the management of your apartment complex a well-oiled machine. For that, we believe that convenience is key. To bring this convenience to your apartment complex click here to create a free portal.


New enhancements in the Accounting Module

Managing Committees take note!

In our aim to serve you better, we have released new enhancements on ApnaComplex Accounting Module.

Penalty Calculation Engine:

The Apnacomplex Penalty Calculation Engine is a powerful tool that calculates penalties in case of late payments. It can be configured to support the rules against late payments in any society. However, the interplay of factors can often make it difficult to explain the final amount to the members. With our new enhancement, you can now view the detailed calculations by the engine. The user can simply click the link that is next to the penalty charge to receive a full statement. Admins can also access this during the process. The icon is available against each penalty calculation. When clicked, it opens a new window to show you the full break-up.

A new way of penalty calculation:

ApnaComplex has always supported factors like a fixed penalty or penalties based on outstanding dues. With the new enhancement, you can now charge penalties based on area (plot area, super built-up area or terrace area). This allows you more flexibility. Once you save the penalty scheme this option is also available for recurring invoices.

To experience this new option:

  1. Please go to Income ->Member Income -> Penalty link
  2. Here you can create a new penalty scheme. Identify the charge heads to which penalty becomes applicable.
  3. In Penalty Type field – select “Per sqft” – update the penalty amount for defaulters / late paying units.
  4. Update rest of the fields and save.
  5. Run the same manually (or configure recurring invoice) to calculate penalty amounts that can be directly invoiced.

These enhancements are available at no additional cost with the new update. If you have any queries on the above, please contact us at support@apnacomplex.com


Diwali Celebrations: Keep your society fireproof

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.

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.

Dos 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 in 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.

diwali dos and donts

 

Designate areas to light firecrackers:

Another important thing that is mandatory in a gated community is to light firecrackers only in designated areas. Some people love to light crackers in their balconies or just outside their flat. This is a breach of fire safety and can lead to serious accidents. It is imperative that the designated spots for lighting firecrackers are clearly marked and the entire community adheres to it.

Firecrackers should not be lit in closed rooms or balconies of the buildings. They also shouldn’t be lit in an area covered with foliage. It is also important to make to make sure that a strict time limit is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to burst crackers beyond a predetermined hour. According to a recent order by the supreme court, this limit is until 10 pm.

Beyond crackers, make sure the open flames of the diyas are not a fire hazard. Make sure they are far away from curtains, open wires, electronics, plastic or paper decoration or any other flammable materials. Teach your children basic fire safety too. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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 letterhead 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!


A 4-Step Guide to Hiring Security Personnel

The security guard is an extended member of the apartment community.  Finding the right apartment security agency for your community is very important. 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 be well on your way to finding the right one.

1. Background Checks

A comprehensive background check is extremely important while selecting a security candidate. Candidates need to be well trained with all the necessary certification. Look for those with prior experience, especially in night shifts, patrolling and log maintenance. Retired policemen also make excellent security candidates. Also, remember to look out for past performance records and any possible criminal history. The safest way to hire good security personnel is through a security agency. Ask them to provide the records of your preferred candidates and remember to follow-up regularly.

2. 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. Your contract needs to include a section demanding that all guards from the agency should be properly equipped with radios, cell phones, flashlights, notebooks, pens 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 are also extremely important.

3. Contractual Issues

It is important that the contract is drawn out carefully. The contract should make it clear that the guard and the agency will be held responsible for any damage due to negligence. Often security agencies include an indemnity clause in the contract that works in their favour. Read the contract carefully and keep an eye out for such hidden costs.

4. Log Maintenance

Log maintenance is an effective way to track the productivity of your security personnel. It should be included in your contract. The entries should be detailed and thorough. Instruct them to record everything; their patrol routes, the entry and exit of visitors or delivery agents, movement of items through the gate, etc. Not only is this helpful in case of an incident, but it also helps locate problems that may arise in the future and help avoid them.

Good security guards are a necessity for an 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. You can search through the ApnaComplex database of security agencies and find the one that meets your requirements.