Get smart: using smartphone app in Hong Kong makes dealing with real estate matters that much easier
Convenience, accessibility, efficiency and potential cost savings cited as reasons for even older housing estates to promote use of smartphone app
Kendrew Leung is vice-chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Hong Kong’s board. He is also executive director, asset services, at CBRE Hong Kong. He talks about using technology in property management services.
What is the latest trend in property management services?
The most notable trend is the use of the smartphone app as the communication channel and information platform between residents and the property manager. More importantly, residents can submit and track service requests 24/7, while the property manager can achieve savings in manpower in answering phone calls and processing inquiries and bookings. For example, through the app, you can view the availability of clubhouse facilities through a centralised booking system, and reserve specific facilities in advance. You can do shopping, get the goods delivered to your doorstep, or order housekeeping, repair, laundry or catering services. You can use the app to check and read notices, and stay up-to-date with the latest announcements made by the owners incorporation and property manager. Besides new developments, I believe more older housing estates will begin promoting the use of the smartphone app due to its convenience, accessibility, efficiency and potential cost savings.
What advice would you have for developers during the design of a building to maximise cost effectiveness?
We are able to advise the developer and project team on the selection of materials, fittings, fixtures and installations, including electrical and mechanical systems, [such as] escalators, air conditioning and lighting, that can achieve cost-savings or maximise cost-effectiveness in terms
of operating expenses. Switching to LED lighting is one example that can save considerable energy costs. Drawing on our operational experience, we can help to source more durable electrical device models that will need fewer repairs and/or be more energy efficient while in use. We also know
the kinds of finishes and fixtures that are easier to maintain without compromising on appearance.
What suggestions would you have to improve the governance and professionalism of property managers in Hong Kong?
RICS Hong Kong welcomes the passing of the Property Management Services Bill by the Legislative Council last year, which initiates the development of a licensing system that will lead to quality improvements throughout the property management industry. The Property Management Services Ordinance provides for a single-tier licensing regime of companies and a two-tier licensing regime of practitioners, [such as] those who take up supervisory or managerial roles As part of the ordinance, a new Property Management Services Authority, a self-financing statutory body with licensing and monitoring roles similar to those of the Estate Agents Authority, was proposed. We believe the [authority] will help raise professionalism and service quality by holding licensed practitioners accountable. While the composition of the authority is prescribed by the ordinance, major industry bodies, including RICS Hong Kong, are working on the more detailed organisational structure and licensing criteria, which will be set in terms of academic and professional qualifications, years of work
experience and the suitability of the applicants. RICS Hong Kong will also contribute to formulating professional standards, best practices and training, making the most of the experience it has gained from working with overseas industry regulators.