01 August 2023

A Coffee with Bryan Phillips, Tideways

A Coffee with Bryan Phillips, Tideways
Tideways is a privately-owned Owners Corporation/Strata Management company based in Toorak. The team manage and maintain strata schemes and Owners Corporations for residential, commercial and mixed-use properties within the Melbourne metropolitan area. 
We caught up with Director and all-round great bloke Bryan Phillips for a chat;
Firstly, tell us a little about your path into Tideways – when was the company established and what’s your journey been like to now?
The company came to life in 2009 when our Founding Director, Stephen Pinch took on the management of a small 16 lot development in Caulfield North – fast forward 14 years and we still manage that first building!
Stephen’s passion for service quickly lead to more developers reaching out and the business flourished. I joined Stephen in 2014 after a career in financial services. New to Melbourne, I was looking for my next challenge and joined Stephen to take the business out of his home office & relocate our existing 2 staff members to start the next chapter of Tideways.
Since that first office with four people, we have grown 25%+ year on year and in 2017, Tal Sahar joined as Managing Director. We moved into our new (current) office in Toorak and have built the firm to 20+ staff managing over 6,000 lots across Melbourne.
What does Tideways stand for? What are you doing differently?
Tideways was founded on a few core principles – these remain the cornerstone of our success and differentiate us in a very congested environment.
We stand for:
·       Exceptional Customer Service
·       Transparency in everything we do
·       Quality 3rd party trades
·       Knowing our buildings inside out
Do you have a particular type of project you enjoy working on the most? What are some of the greatest misconceptions about what you do? 
The team really enjoys working on projects where there is a high number of owner-occupiers. This allows us the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with the owners who live and breathe what we do 24/7. 
A project with common amenities provides us with a platform to utilise the spaces to engage with & build community within our buildings and forge strong professional relationships with our key customers and stakeholders.
Unfortunately, the strata industry doesn’t have a great reputation – most think we are simply a mailing house that issues levies and pays bills. The truth of the matter is that we sit at the epicenter of someone’s most valuable asset and work incredibly hard behind the scenes to ensure it appears as if “everything is just working”. 
This includes managing the finances, ensuring all compliance and legislative requirements are met, arranging recurring/preventative maintenance and repairs, assisting with defects, grievances and all the other issues which arise from time to time.
The strata manager also works alongside the committee members to help drive initiatives that ultimately benefit all residents – EV charging installs, security upgrades, major façade/defect remediation, solar or sustainability upgrades etc.

What's the future look like for the Strata Management space in Melbourne? And how can Tideways help?
I think we will start to see even more technology filter into strata management. 
We are working with a number of forward-thinking developers and consultants to try to breathe new life into the common spaces within multi-residential developments. 
There are companies looking at solutions to remove keys and access fobs altogether through the use of Bluetooth, AI, and license plate/facial recognition. We’re also seeing smart lockers for laundry pickup/drop off, refrigerated lockers for food delivery, and on-charging of amenity services through the strata software being considered.

What are some things the industry could do better when it comes to strata management?
For me – we need to do a lot more to ‘humanise’ the relationship between strata management, owners, committees and third-party trades. A lot of strata managers never visit their sites, or take the time to meet the committee informally to just develop & foster that relationship. 
For us, it’s all about the relationship and partnering with our owners/committees so they see us as professional service providers who are genuinely there to assist and manage their assets in a professional manner.

What types of projects interest you the most? What appealed to you when first presented with Louise Melbourne?
Louise Melbourne presents an incredible opportunity for Tideways to further strengthen our already exceptional relationships with Samuel Property, Cera Stribley, Acre & Blair Property.
The collaboration between these firms to create a significant project in Melbourne, and our involvement right from the initial design phase, fills us with great pride.
We are grateful to Samuel Property for allowing us to be part of the initial design team and contribute to planning aspects of the owners corporation, knowing that these details will greatly impact the future residents.
Having the privilege to see these buildings come to life from the inside out and being trusted to establish the owners corporation from day one showcases the confidence Samuel Property has in our capabilities and our successful track record of delivery.

We hear you’re a big whisky connoisseur, so tell us – what are you drinking at the moment, and what’s something you’d recommend for anyone just stepping into the world of whiskeys?
Most people would say that if you have never drunk whiskey before to start with something uncomplicated - not too smoky or with a very high alcohol content. My advice is to just get out there with friends or to one of the incredible whiskey bars in Melbourne (such as Whiskey & Alement) and just try drams from different countries, with different ingredients and different cask finishes to see what you like… it’s all about the journey!
I tend to keep a number of different bottles open (depending on my mood or drinking partners), but right now I’m all about Irish pot still whiskeys – they are incredibly smooth, flavourful & easy to drink!
I am currently working my way through several - a Redbreast 15, Dingle Batch No.5 & Yellow Spot. All are highly recommended..