Like people, co-op and condo buildings come in all shapes and sizes, and have different personalities and tastes. Regardless of size however, all buildings face similar challenges – coping with ever-increasing numbers of deliveries, for example, or facilitating communication of service requests and important community information. Technology can offer solutions for these everyday needs – but the technology developed to address those needs is not always easily adaptable to smaller communities. A 200-unit high-rise with a plethora of amenities most likely has a staff with doormen, handymen, etc., while a 12-unit building with a shared backyard and one charcoal grill almost certainly does not – and may not even have a full-time super. Many management-tech packages available today are designed with larger buildings with permanent staff and even on-site management in mind, leaving smaller communities to muddle through on their own – but fortunately, that's changing.
What Do Small Buildings Need?
Neil Golub is the Director of Sales for Carson, a technology firm that specializes in serving small co-op and condo communities. They partner with BuildingLink, a management and administrative tech platform scaled more for larger, fully staffed buildings. According to him, the operational differences between small and large communities are sharpest when it comes to managing deliveries, though amenities, communication, monitoring Airbnb use, security, tech implementation/integration, and staffing also require special consideration in a smaller environment.
“People may not realize that living in a smaller building can be more challenging than life in a larger building,” Golub says. “I've also heard property managers say that the smaller buildings can be much more difficult to manage, despite having fewer residents.”
And why is that? “For starters,” says Golub, “there tends to be less staff on-site. Larger buildings are typically staffed with a doorman, live-in superintendent, maintenance porter and have daytime janitorial. Really large complexes also feature a management office on premises.”