Rochele painting, Body corporate painting, strata

Painting the Building

Painting the Building

One of the biggest and most expensive projects a body corporate undertakes is the painting of a building. Buildings are generally painted as part of their initial construction and the body corporate (assuming it is a Building Format Plan scheme) then takes on the responsibility of maintaining the external paint of the scheme. We have teamed up with our friends at Rochele Painting to bring you some relevant information on painting.

The importance of painting

It is not uncommon for us to hear people say things like, “the building doesn’t look too bad” or “the paint hasn’t faded that much”, which may be a fair comment, however, it is important to note that painting plays a bigger role than just making the building more aesthetically pleasing.  Paint protects and maintains the substrate (concrete, timber, brick, etc); choosing the right paint, depending on the surface, can help prevent things like concrete cancer and rusting. Ideally, painting the building shouldn’t be deferred, considering that the exterior of a building is completely exposed at all times and is therefore subject to rain, heat, bird and bat excrement, pollution,  and other harsh conditions.  These elements can be quite corrosive and over time, as a result, paint will fade, lose its vibrancy and appear dull. Additionally, the paint will peel off and degrade the building substrate.  Bearing this in mind, it is important to consider how to achieve a long long-lasting, healthy, paint on a building.  Firstly, choosing the right paint is imperative.  Paints that are washable are likely to last the longest; this is because they allow stains to be removed easier during building wash downs. Building wash downs are an effective way of removing built-up surface dirt and exterior markings, however, are usually used in conjunction before and after a professional repaint. While they are a cheaper alternative to a building re-paint, they are not a substitute and in some cases where buildings are approaching the 7-8 year mark since build, a wash down may do more harm than good. Best practice is to have building wash downs every 2-3 years, however, depending on the size, style, location and substrate of your building, it may require more frequent treatment. Taking care of these steps will help to increase the longevity of your paint and as well encourage a positive impression for visitors, customers and patrons alike.

How much does it cost?

Painting a building isn’t cheap; from the painting materials to the hired labour, it is often one of the highest capital outlays a body corporate faces. Costs range from tens, into the hundreds of thousands for bigger schemes. To ensure that the building has enough money when it comes time to paint, it is important that the body corporate has had a good sinking fund forecast that accounts for all expenses. Bigger buildings may want to consider having their sinking fund forecast updated more frequently to ensure they are still on track. Failing to raise enough money for painting of the building means the scheme either has to call a special levy from owners or, the works need to be deferred.

  The Process

 Scope of works

Choosing the right contractor for your needs is obviously important, however, beforehand, the site should be inspected as a committee. This way you can take note of issues that need addressing later on. Before seeking quotes, have a specification done. This will ensure that when you go to tender, you will understand what you’re being priced for.

A number of painting contractors will be able to provide you with the specification they quote on which can be given to any other painters quoting to ensure you have like for like quotations.

You can also have professional consultants prepare the scope for you which can be provided to the contractors for quoting.

Put the works out to tender

Once you have your scope of works they can be put out to tender for comparable quotations. Speak to your Strata Manager about which contractors they have received positive feedback from in the past. Given the size of the project you will want to put it out to tender with at least three reputable contractors. .They should have the capacity to handle the scope of the painting project, have an understanding and know-how about the type of building (commercial/residential) they will be working on and as well, have a solid reputation It may also be important to include a deadline for the tenders to be submitted by. That way you can keep everyone working towards a planned timeline.

Having a consultant compare the quotes

Even with the set scope of works, painting quotations can be difficult to compare. Occasionally, there are variations in the scope of works from different painters. Some painters will include areas of the building as additional options while others may include those areas as part of their quote so the tenders need to be read very carefully in conjunction with the scope of works. This can be a time-consuming process and we have noticed a lot of buildings are starting to use painting consultants to review the quotations on the body corporate’s behalf and to then provide them with a detailed breakdown of what they actually can expect to pay.

How can we be sure to cover our warranties on the paint

The paint supplier will usually provide a warranty on the paint but it can be void if it is not applied per the specification and appropriately maintained following application. It is a good idea to speak with your painting contractors about warranties and what steps need to be taken to ensure the warranty is upheld.

Get the owners’ approval

If you are planning to change the building’s colour scheme, it’s a good idea to get the proposed colour scheme included into the same general meeting and obtain the owners approval to change the colours.  You usually need to seek owners’ approval for the cost of the works which will vary greatly depending on the building’s size, building damage, time frame, specifications and more. For a small body corporate of 6 blocks of units, costs can range approximately from $10,000 – $15,000, whereas, a large body corporate of 50-100 units may cost in the range of $100,000 – $200,000. Some of our clients have opted for payment plans, these plans allow for the building to be painted on time but for the payment to be made over several years. These plans are flexible and tailored to suit the particular needs of the body corporate. This may not be available through all contractors so it is best just to make sure before proceeding if it is something the body corporate requires.

Should we hire a project manager?

After awarding the job, someone needs to manage the project. Some contractors will offer project management, though, at a cost. Their responsibility, as project managers, will be to oversee deadlines, ensure project specifications are met, site safety and environmental management plans, obtaining the relevant council approvals and more.


As you can see, there is plenty of work that goes into the painting of a building. From the cost, the operation itself and obviously the time spent on the project, it is a substantial undertaking. Our strata managers have guided many bodies corporate through this issue and are only a phone call away if you have any questions.