Residents’ Welfare Association Handover Takeover – Design Audit and other Audits explained

It is well known that in any newly constructed Apartment complex or a Villa enclave, the Builder forms the Apartment Owners Association or generally termed as Residents Welfare Association (RWA) and hands over the Common areas and amenities to the RWA. Sometimes Owners by themselves form the RWA when Builder is not forthcoming and initiate the Handover Takeover (HOTO) of the operation and maintenance of all common areas and amenities like Basements, Gardens, Lifts, Gensets, STP, Swimming pool, Clubhouse etc., and RWA will be the De-facto owners of the common areas and amenities.

How does the HOTO process work?

The Builder would have completed all the common areas and amenities as per the specifications and as per the promised list in the offering at the time of selling the property mentioned through the Brochure. The Agency conducting HOTO Audit will collect all the list of common areas and amenities and prepare an Inspection plan. Then the Work Breakdown structure is prepared along with the time schedule to complete each activity. Then Audit is started and completed in a phased manner with all clarifications and compliances. Finally a report will be shared which should be easily understood for the builder to rectify the snags and short comings.

What are the components of HOTO process ?

Main components of HOTO are

  1. Quality Audit of the facilities : ensures that all the installations are done properly
  2. Design Audit of the facilities : checks for the adequacy of the provisions
  3. Documentation Audit: ensures that all documents are handed over
  4. AMC advisory: ensures that required all Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) are in place and covering the required aspects.

In our earlier Blog we have covered Quality Audit in detail and here we will cover other Audits.

What does Design Audit comprise of in detail?

In a Project, the Builder engages an Architect, Plumbing consultant, Electrical consultant, Firefighting consultant and other specialists. All of them carry out the Design of required Building services based on project requirements and give out Drawings and specifications of the services for the particular project. This will be used by the project construction team to build the project and operate various systems and building services. 

In Design audit the adequacy of the Building services provisions are checked. Take for example, a Residential project has been provided with a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of 70 kld capacity. Which means the STP can handle 70 kilo litres of sewage per day. How are we sure that the maximum sewage discharged by that project is 70 kld under full occupancy i.e. when all the houses are fully occupied. This needs to be checked against the norms prescribed by National Building Code (NBC). If that is correct, next we have to check whether the STP installation provided at the project is sufficient to process 70kl of sewage in a day. When these criteria are met, we can be sure of facing no surprises in the future which may have to be rectified by the RWA spending the money which in first place should have been made good by the Builder if it had been discovered during the HOTO process.

Similarly Design Audit is carried out for Electrical Transformers, Diesel Generators, Water Treatment Plant, Fire Fighting system etc.

Thus Design Audit of Building services ensures that the provisions made can handle the requirements of an Apartment Complex at full occupancy without throwing surprises. 

What does Documentation Audit comprise of in detail?

Required Documents in case of an Apartment Complex can be listed as 


  • Documents pertaining to Construction process


These are required for maintenance purposes as a guide. This will help in tracing pipelines, cables or beams etc., during maintenance or repairs, as the personnel in charge of maintenance will not be aware of how things were constructed by the construction team.


  • Documents pertaining to Operations


These are required to operate and maintain the equipment. Electrical circuit diagrams, Operational manuals of equipment like Gensets, Water treatment plant (WTP), Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), etc., are necessary to operate and maintain the equipment efficiently.


  • Statutory Documents


These are required for compliance of statutory regulations. There are many documents like Building approved plan, No objection certificates from various Government bodies like Fire Dept., Airport Authority etc., which are required to be obtained and kept in records to avoid stringent (in some cases criminal action) action by Statutory bodies in case of noncompliance. 


Thus Documentation Audit ensures that all the required documents are obtained and kept in safe custody for future operations and maintenance of all common areas and amenities of RWA. 

What does AMC Advisory comprise of in detail?

The Builder would have organised Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for many equipment like Lifts, Gensets etc., where an external specialised agency on contract, will periodically check and maintain them in good working condition.

Here each contract will have to be critically examined for comprehensiveness of the coverage, periodicity of inspection, for any hidden cost like whether it covers the cost of spares, consumables etc.

It is also to be verified that all the deserving equipment have been covered with AMC and none of it is unnecessary, since the cost of AMC is an expenditure for the RWA after it takes over.

Thus AMC Advisory is a value added service optimising the cash out flow for any newly formed RWA where each AMC is scrutinised for essentiality and comprehensiveness.

In conclusion a newly formed RWA should have the above audits performed to conduct the affairs smoothly without hitches or statutory violations and ensure that a frugal resource of money is well utilised.


Author : R. Suresha, COO