STRATA RESIDENTIAL CATEGORY — GOLD
THE BINJAI ON THE PARK
AS probably the most expensive high-rise residence in Malaysia, The Binjai on the Park in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) has added another feather to its cap by bagging the Gold award at the inaugural TheEdgeProperty.com Malaysia’s Best Managed Property Awards 2017 under the strata residential category.
Developed by Layar Intan Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of KLCC Property (Holdings) Sdn Bhd, The Binjai on the Park consists of 171 condominium units housed in two towers of 44 and 45 storeys, specially oriented to offer unobstructed views of the KLCC development anchored by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
The built-ups for the standard units range from 2,228 sq ft to 3,757 sq ft while the typical penthouses range from 4,230 sq ft to 7,298 sq ft.
Two multi-level super penthouses, measuring 14,294 sq ft and 19,180 sq ft, sit atop each of the towers, each complete with an internal lift, a direct lift from the lobby and a private infinity pool offering a magnificent 360-degree view of the heart of the capital. The bigger of the ultra-posh penthouses is tagged at RM50 million today, while the typical condo units are priced from RM9 million to RM10.6 million.
The eight-year-old condo is about 60% occupied as at end-2016 not including the many foreign owners who utilise their units as one of their many holiday homes around the world.
It may not come as a surprise to many that such an exclusive project should emerge as the top winner in its category as the owners of these units would demand nothing less than the best management for their buildings.
Efficient systems and services
In line with its prestige, its developer had installed various state-of-the-art systems in the condominium such as the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, the waste collection system and the chilled water chemical treatment system, just to name a few.
Of special note is the building automation system (BAS), which monitors the building’s air ventilation, air-conditioning and lighting. There are also other systems to ensure smooth operations and energy efficiency.
All efforts have been made to ensure life at the condominium is as comfortable and easy as possible. Besides the hardware, there is also a variety of services on hand for its residents. For instance, a privilege attached to this exclusive address is the buggy service which ferries residents to requested destinations in the vicinity including to Suria KLCC shopping centre and KLCC Park.
“We had only one buggy at the beginning and the residents complained of having to wait up to 10 to 15 minutes sometimes, so we added another one to increase the frequency,” recalls Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd executive director Low Hon Keong. Henry Butcher is The Binjai On The Park’s appointed property manager.
The concierge service provided by Henry Butcher is also noteworthy. Manned by five management personnel, it delivers professional personal assistance to residents. From making appointments with service providers to safekeeping of parcels and keys to booking cabs and other requests, the service is available 24/7.
Rescuing it from the red
With a maintenance fee of RM0.74 psf per month, one may think that The Binjai on the Park is always in tiptop condition, but the eight-year-old condominium actually went through a tough period before the current property manager, Henry Butcher, took over.
When it came into the picture, the management had heaped up bad debts amounting to about RM1 million, derived from the defaults in maintenance fees, utility bills and sinking fund payments.
Once Henry Butcher was appointed as the property manager, the team began fixing the problem and the condo was rescued from a hole of debt.
“We managed to achieve a collection rate of more than 100% for maintenance fee. We recovered the RM1 million in bad debts, thanks to the effort put in by our team, which came up with instalment plans for the defaulters,” Low explains.
Currently, the maintenance fee collection amounts to about RM400,000 per month at the same rate of RM0.74 psf.
With the biggest obstacle removed, the team began preparing itself to face whatever challenges that it may encounter down the road — and there were quite a few.
One major challenge for the property management team was in dealing with certain “dissatisfied” residents. There will always be some people who are more difficult to satisfy and would nitpick about the work done by the property manager while others come up with strange requests, says Low. He recalls, for example, a foreign tenant who constantly complained about the size of the gym room and refused to comply with house rules.
“The tenant used the gym room every day, and he would switch off the air-conditioning in the room every time, regardless of other users. He argued that he wanted to sweat while he worked out,” Low recounts.
Nevertheless, he adds that the team has to constantly maintain its professionalism when dealing with all tenants or circumstances.
Focus on property management
Paying a premium for high-end living, unit owners and tenants naturally have higher expectations.
Low believes that communication is one of the keys in ensuring a property is well managed. With proper communication, the relationship between all stakeholders can be strengthened and that can contribute towards smooth management operations.
“Henry Butcher has allocated 15 staff members to take care of The Binjai on the Park. We work closely with the management committee members in the Joint Management Body (JMB),” he notes.
Low points out that the quality and capability of property managers in the country vary greatly. For the longest time, the importance of property management has been ignored by property buyers who were, more often than not, more concerned about the reputation of the developer of a project they are interested in, he says.
However, with the mushrooming of strata developments, he believes it is time for stakeholders to focus more on property management to ensure the long-term sustainability of such properties in Malaysia.
Hence, TheEdgeProperty.com Malaysia’s Best Managed Property Awards is timely as it encourages people to recognise the importance of property management, says the chairlady of the JMB of The Binjai on the Park, Cynthia Lim.
“Property management is crucial in securing the value of the property, not only for investors but also for the residents. For potential buyers, they can be rest assured that the property is well managed with transparency,” she emphasises.
Starting off on the right footing
Property developers play a very important role from the commencement of a project beginning with the planning phase of a development, says KLCC Property Holdings Bhd head of marketing and sales Terri Har. KLCC Property Holdings is the developer of The Binjai on The Park luxury condominium in KLCC — the Gold winner of TheEdgeProperty.com Malaysia’s Best Managed Property Awards 2017 under the strata residential category.
According to the developer, its job is not done even when a building is completed and handed over. It also has to ensure a property is well maintained in the future. “It is important to work hand in hand with the property manager to ensure that the common areas or facilities are well maintained and to improve the building sustainability from time to time.
“For The Binjai on the Park, we were very worried as the systems are very high-tech and we did doubt if a property manager capable enough of managing it can be found. But the result is very satisfying. Henry Butcher has been maintaining the systems at tip-top condition and delivering results,” Har says. Henry Butcher Malaysia is the property manager of The Binjai on The Park.
Har believes the award won by The Binjai on the Park will definitely boost the property manager’s image and reaffirm the developer’s commitment and reputation to ensure premium services are offered to the discerning property owners.
This story first appeared in TheEdgeProperty.com pullout on April 7, 2017. Download TheEdgeProperty.com pullout here for free.