Editor’s note: Phnom Penh’s property market is racing towards the future, especially in terms of hardware. However, the software side of the market cannot be overlooked if truly international standards are to be achieved. The Post invited CBRE Cambodia property manager Simon Griffiths to explain the purpose of property management and describe the current state of property management in Cambodia.
Everywhere you look in Phnom Penh you see green netting around the construction of new buildings or the renovation of old buildings. Phnom Penh is modernising and moving toward its future after a period of only modest growth following the global financial crisis. The skyline of Phnom Penh will have drastically changed by 2016.
While I would love to write about all the exciting developments which will spring out of the ground in coming months and years, it is important to understand that these buildings must be managed well. Services must be provided which ensure the ongoing safety of the users of the building and customer service that allows these spaces created by developers to be utilised to their fullest.
Property management, albeit not the sexiest topic in the world, is an essential service which should be going on behind the scenes to ensure safety, cleanliness and customer satisfaction. Without good property management, the aesthetics of a building, customer service, maintenance and repairs, internet provision, cleaning and security all suffer. Facilities such as lifts, gyms, spas and swimming pools can deteriorate, creating health and safety risks. Effective property management will always benefit a building and is a good way to retain tenants.
In Cambodia it is common for developers to seek short-term profits and neglect effective property management. Invisible to the untrained eye, this puts users of the buildings at risk. For example, elevator maintenance can be neglected, proper evacuation training not provided to the users or staff of the building, proper evacuation signage or firefighting equipment not provided or electrical equipment not properly maintained. These are unnecessary risks.
The situation is not all doom and gloom though. With very little in the way of regulatory controls or governance, the market is stepping in and raising standards. As new developments open and new businesses are established in Cambodia, people are demanding higher standards. Developments which can deliver these high standards in property management – whether they be condominiums, serviced apartments, offices or shopping centres – are increasingly gaining a competitive advantage. Consumers, (effectively you, the users of these buildings) are coming to expect higher standards, better safety and excellent customer service, and that is driving up standards across Cambodia. Progress is being made in the unseen world of property management.
CBRE Cambodia has been working hard on bringing international property management standards to Cambodia for the last four years and continue to do so by partnering with De Castle Royal as their property management agent to provide international property management standards to this premium luxury condominium development in Phnom Penh.
We want to see more though. CBRE Cambodia adopts international property management practices as part of global CBRE practices and calls upon experience from Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok, but property management in Cambodia is almost entirely self-regulated. There is a lack of training, experience and knowledge in the industry. Coupled with a lack of regulation, this has an impact on both developers and property management.
Hopefully, market forces will continue to raise standards and quality in important matters such as fire prevention and health and safety. Ideally, developers will increasingly view property management as a way to extend competitive advantage to buildings, and not just a way to make short-term profit. But regulation and guidance are the keys to providing the safest and highest quality built environment for Cambodia. Much needs to be done, but a lot can be achieved and we hope that property management standards will continue to improve across the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The Post thanks Simon Griffiths for his contribution. CBRE Cambodia’s Phnom Penh office can be reached at 023 964 099 or through its website at www.cbre.com.kh.