Innovation in the Condo Industry

August 2015

Industry innovation is expected to lead to greater reliability and reduced costs. This tends to happen when an industry operates according to best practices.

Being relatively new, the condo industry currently has not yet achieved a set of best practices for all to follow in achieving efficiency and cost reduction. The cost of this is paid by condo owners in the form of condo fees.

The term used in business is continuous improvement. Continuous improvement should motivate condo vendors to operate more efficiently and pass along some of the financial savings to the condo corporation. Those that do so are more likely to remain vendors of the condo corporation. Those that fail in such efforts are more likely to be replaced.

Developers, condo corporations, property management companies, contractors and service providers are continuously trying to develop best practices. Not all are successful. Condo corporations must make choices from among vendors to identify those that provide the best combination of product, service, reliability and cost.

Following are some areas where innovation has had a dramatic positive impact on the condo industry.


Computers are the single greatest productivity tool of the past 30 years. Their introduction has led to the creation of databases, word processing software and other tools. Communication among large groups of individuals is more easily achieved than in the past. Condo corporations are just recently utilizing computers in ways that have become standard practice for most businesses.

Condo Management Software

Condo management software offers the greatest potential for transforming the way condo corporations are managed.

From improved record keeping and communications to cost reduction and fewer paid employees, effective use of condo management software is expected to transform the way in which condo corporations operate.

Display Monitors

The drop in price of display monitors is transforming condo communications. Strategically placed in a lobby or elevator cab and connected to a computer, display monitors for communications tends to be more effective and less costly than paper-based communications.

Use of this technology typically requires external expertise to create effective communications. Investing tens of thousands of dollars on electronic communication capabilities provides little or no value without communications created for the medium.

Energy and Utility Management

Newer condo corporations tend to have lower per suite and building wide electricity costs than comparable buildings that are more than about ten years old. This is because of mandated individual suite metering of utilities. This leaves older condo corporations with a dilemma. They can maintain the costlier status quo of including utilities in their condo fees or convert to individual suite metering. At one time the conversion cost of doing so was prohibitive. Today, it makes sense to convert to individual suite metering in light of the financial savings and results of past conversions.

Mobile Phone

The role of concierge and security is integrated in many condo corporations. This requires that the main security desk be unmanned for periods of time. Use of a mobile phone allows security/concierge to attend to some desk responsibilities while also attending to other business throughout the building.

Online Voting Software

Online voting software can revolutionize condo elections. Allowing condo owners to vote in elections regardless of their physical location, expanding the period for voting and security to prevent manipulation of votes are just some of the benefits. Condo elections not predetermined by control of the proxy vote should lead to better condo management.


Maintaining a building’s infrastructure is costly. In condo buildings water problems may be the costliest of all concerns. Uniquely, one vendor has been quite imaginative in their approach to this problem. LEaC Shield brings the cost of dealing with pinhole leaks down from between $5,000 to $15,000 per suite for installing new pipe to as low as $80 per suite without the need for costly pipe replacement.

You can read about pinhole leaks and LEaC Shield’s solution in the Condo Archives under Condo Building Management, Infrastructure.

Printers, E-mail

The ability to print and transmit from a computer has eliminated a majority of outsourced print materials. Yet some condo corporations still spend thousands of dollars delivering budget, AGM and other material that many would prefer to receive via e-mail.

Smart condo boards don’t focus on reducing condo fees. Condo boards should strive for continuous improvement by encouraging management, vendors and residents to operate more efficiently and without waste. Cost savings and reduced condo fees will result if this focus is maintained.