Coop Home Owner Association IT support

Hello friends, I am hoping to create a user specification for what is needed in a cooperative home owner association of an estate, block for flats, street or member run organisation. I was hoping you could help me find out what would be missing or might be redundant. This is what I was able to brainstorm with another member of the committee.

And hopefully after that be able to find a good coTech coop that can help support it.

Background

Community Land ownership or property is rare but there are some historical places [1] where the developer made it into the lease that they had to be resident owned and resident managed from the start.

This adds a bit of a complication when these buildings are Listed buildings and there are imposed restrictions on them on what things can or can’t be done.

Also there is the specialisation of labour involved. For example: knowledge on H&S requirements on fire safety, garden maintenance, … making it very tempting to just delegate the full work to an external company making it defeat the point of self managed solutions.

Some people want to simply use the space, and pay for the service and be on their way. Others really want to be involved and “Get it”.

Requirements

  • Email. To keep things separate from personal emails. And to ensure hand over. so Secretary@ …, treasurer@…, chair@…, garden@…, maintance@…, design@…, IT@… committee@… resident@… We decided against having email address with individuals names as we wanted there to be hand over. having one common email for a standard email can work as login for certain services that need to be accessible to all residents but not to the general public and stop people from having to remember yet another password. An alternative would be flat1@… flat2@… but seems to be too much
  • A Shared Calendar that would allow to schedule meetings and contractor visits so that they don’t run into each other. Also so people can see on the website when works are happening.
  • Storage (online) with different tiers of access so that people can share files with membership rather than attaching files. Also to have less proliferation of files in people’s computers.
  • Online file storage : A place to store files with different view, and editor tiers.
  • Online Office suite: In some of these associations and community groups or small startup charity seem to concede to give people one off licences of office suites because “I only know how to use MSoffice”. Which is fair. The issue of having to co-edit at the same time is less of an issue. The big issue is more related to the proliferation of documents in people’s separate computers. If online office suite is not used probably document syncing on each computer is needed which creates the issue of showing people how to use it.
  • Forms or surveys. I have found these to be really useful to remove the need having to distil the information needed from emails. Some things are routines. Combined with a spreadsheet in the back you have a form of issue tracker you can filter by category and track progress and notes.
  • Web site. Static web page will do. But it is also useful for other residents to know is currently doing what and what door to know. But those people would rather it not be in the open web. This could be solved with the online storage thing above making documents available to those that sign in.
  • Legacy. needs to be simple enough to make sure that someone non technical can take over or a bit of a service to give a bit of technical help. minor handing over to others.
  • Community chat. This, in my experience, seems to be separate from the committee. Just use something that people are already using. Sadly this might mean proprietary solutions. Yes, I did try to get people to join signal and yes there was discussion of having a forum in the member only area of the website. I have left this out of our deliberations.
  • Accounting this one falls similar to the office suite one. People are new used to xero, sage, … given that people are volunteering their time it would be great to use something that they know how to use. What would happen in a hand over though? I have left this out of our deliberations because most of the time accounting services are hired out so you kind of use what they give you.

What we thought so far.

  1. Easy way out: wordpress.com site and we point the domain to it. google workspace or office365 suite £5 a month per user,
  2. What we have found so far as alternative: nexcloud.com £3 a month per user, email service with 10 emails for £3 a month move the domain registration to this service. Create a static site using gitlab (for free) and have the domain point there.
  3. Option 2 but bundled up all in a nice package by a local service provider. Better for hand over as it would be just like having our trusty roof cleaning company, electrician, and accountant.

The concern is, as always, the price and the fear of change or known. Everybody knows google and microsoft and while there is mistrust many people seem to consider it the standard and steering away from it “unsafe” or “DIY”.

Personal Reach goal

I am a facilities manager who is learning to be full stack developer and have found some solutions are needed for small organisations. I have gone through using spreadsheets and then extending using appsheets to look after assets, inventory and doing issue tracker with google forms. I was tempted in using snipe.it for a while and I have worked with proprietary asset trackers as well. But I wanted to find something (or customise something) closer to what the main goal is. I have doing a bit of a “literature review” as I would like to avoid the roll my own. I would be happy to hear from anybody else that might have solutions.

Two projects that seem too big:

And this one is the only one I found which is more fitting:

This one makes sense to be extended to add maintenance:

Edit:

Accounting

this is another reach goal. We need to find a way to do budgeting, and were wondering if a solution like https://opencollective.com/ or https://www.invoiceplane.com/ would do the trick.
Online spreadsheets might hold us up for a while but not the best solution.
I would consider gnucash using a cloud service to sync the data but that seems to be the engineering equivalent of duct tape.

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Hey @amunizp
How are you?
I’d be happy to help, we currently provide theses services to another housing coop.
World you have time for a chat this week?
Thanks
Liam.

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We also provide quite a few WordPress, Nextcloud and Email hosting setups for organisations of this type, our prices are here and all the Ansible roles we have written to install and configure these services are available at our GitLab instance and are released under the GPL.

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