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The Blue Print – April 2021

posted by MC

Letter from the President

April showers bring…water infiltration woes.  This is the time of year to focus on preventative maintenance that can minimize the potential for water infiltration.  There is a grim reality to the value of cost avoidance that proactive maintenance measures provide compared to the high cost and resident dissatisfaction with repair work.

J. Hershey Building Consultants is proud of our success in helping many management companies identify the root cause of water infiltration issues.  We also proactively include issue identification in our reserve studies and property assessments.  We showcase our superior construction and maintenance understanding in our reporting, hence our “autographed with excellence” slogan. 

As always, for all your consulting, design, construction and community association needs please do not hesitate to contact me at 844-543-7743 or 



John Hershey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, RS, CAI Educated Business Partner
“My satisfaction comes from solving complex issues and being the “go to” professional for our Clients’ needs.”

Water Infiltration/Forensic Property Evaluation

The pictures below are good examples of why advanced construction understanding and a thorough approach to any site visit is a hallmark of J. Hershey Building Consultants and a benefit to our clients.

Water has to flow across a structure, within a structure, and around a structure.  The type of brick cladding below is very commonly used.  There is an air space between the brick and the wall structure which allows water when it gets in (via cracks, mortar, etc) to flow down and exit via weep holes.  In the examples below the water would have moved down to the overhead garage door (left) and the window (right), hit the flashing and wicked out between the lip of the flashing and the brick.  Water that found an entrance would have also found an exit. However, in these examples the space between the lip of the flashing and the brick was caulked closed.  A common mistake, but one that will trap water in between the brick and the interior wall, leaving the water to find another way out and likely leading to interior wall damage.

Another example is shown below to highlight the need to pay attention not only to the path of water, but to the rate of movement.  The garage roof below is likely ponding because there is debris blocking the drain system. Note the tree overhanging the garage, which is an attractive feature, but does mean the roof drain will require more frequent cleaning to ensure water can drain easily.  Excessive ponding shortens the useful life of any roof.

Below are examples where we have proactively flagged poor ground waterflow.  In the left picture the swale is still intact, collecting water between the houses so it moves away from foundations in that area.  However, the garden feature prevents water from flowing out toward front yards.  The second picture shows the absence of a swale, and a sideways slope down toward the foundation.

J. Hershey Building Consultants has helped many clients understand their water infiltration issues.   We can observe these situations as part of a full Reserve Study or as a separate inspection.   Our site visits are followed up by a written report detailing our findings and recommendations for repair.

Reserve & Transition Studies

J. Hershey Building Consultants fully understands the importance of water movement and ground maintenance to presenting an attractive property which stabilizes and even builds property values.  Our reserve studies routinely include a thorough inspection of the grounds and exterior beyond residential structures.  Many properties now include a retention pond to offset loss of ground to absorb water as a result of building.  The perimeter of the retention pond below is not adequately edged to prevent erosion.  Over time sediment build up in the pond will require costly dredging.  If the shoreline is finished with a stone riprap,  the pond will be more attractive and erosion will be prevented, maintaining property value and reducing risk of future costs.

Continuing our examples related to water movement through property, below are examples of storm drain placement.  Inspections to ensure water flows well through the property is essential to avoid standing water issues.  These storm drains are from left to right; positioned too low, too close to a mulched landscaped bed, and in concrete without adequate control joints. These conditions which will require extra maintenance can easily be avoided.  J. Hershey Building Consultants regularly flag opportunities to reduce or avoid maintenance issues in addition to identifying maintenance to plan funds toward.

Below are examples of asphalt in need of attention. Pavement settlement and heaving are issues which contribute to safety and liability concerns.  We often assist communities with the engineering documents for pavement repairs which need to consider the resident experience during maintenance, safety, and potential phasing of repair in keeping with the reserve budget.

Contact us today at 844-543-7743 or simply fill out our online Reserve/Transition Study Request Form. With budget season right around the corner, now is the time to complete your Reserve or Transition Study so you have an accurate and detailed funding plan.  We perform Reserve and Transition Studies on all sizes of community associations from single family HOAs to high rise condominiums and every residential building type in between!

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries when cars drove into these buildings.  The accidents did present unique structural considerations vs the more usual renovation project.  J. Hershey Architecture can provide timely analyses and structural designs for the necessary repairs and permitting for your restaurant, home, or townhome.

While we certainly hope these situations remain rare, we offer the expertise and understanding to help clients with atypical structural issues. 


The Blue Print – March 2022

posted by MC

Our work has seen both ends of the association spectrum recently. We are helping an established association with $0 in reserves to prioritize and plan maintenance needs and requisite funding, on the other hand, we are also working with a board who is being very proactive about making sure their property is attractive to the next generation of condo owners by adding sound deadening elements and tankless water heaters. Both projects have been richly rewarding because the boards are problem solving and not avoiding property maintenance. Most of our clients are somewhere between the two examples above. I invite you to take a beat and reflect on where in that continuum of property stewardship your association might sit? Let’s work together to improve, no matter where you sit on the range. Your properties will thank you!

Standard Maintenance with an Eye to the Future

In preparation for the replacement of water heaters at this property, this board opted to think about the attractiveness of energy efficiency to the next generation of condo buyers. J. Hershey Building Consultants was hired to assess the existing structure and design for each type of condo unit the appropriate work needed to adapt to a tankless water heater in each space. Tankless water heaters take up less space, heat water on demand, are energy efficient, and tend to have a longer useful life.

Click on the picture to understand more about this type of tank on the website.

Prioritizing Repair Work

J. Hershey Building Consultants understands that repair and maintenance cannot all be funded at once. It is very common to have an ongoing list of property needs! Better to have a list and work on the priorities than to be unaware of potential issues until they become an immediate and burdensome expense. We identified top issues for this property which included repair to their concrete roads and safety measures around bodies of water on the property.

Below left picture shows a failing timber rail fence. This fence is meant to discourage persons from walking near the railroad tracks nearby. Below right shows a culvert which has a large, unprotected opening which is considered a life safety hazard for curious children.

Serving as the Objective Third Party, Starting with a Transition Study

J. Hershey Building Consultants frequently serve as an objective third party and collaborate with attorneys and associations to seek corrective actions or funds from developers. A transition study we recently completed identified structural and code issues with a property which recently transitioned to the association. Additional work is required to improve on the current property condition. The picture below left shows new downspouts draining directly onto pavement rather than being tied into underground drainage, creating ponding and, if frozen, hazardous footing. Below right transformers should be protected from vehicular damage.

This serves as a reminder of the importance of thorough transition studies. Soon after property is turned over from a developer to an association, a qualified and objective third party should should make transparent the condition of the property to provide confidence to the association as they move forward.

RFP form for a transition study with J. Hershey Building Consultants is on our website in our consulting dropdown menu.

External Stairs, Adapting a Design and Enabling Completion

J Hershey Building Consultants was asked to step in to manage completion of a construction project. We assessed work done to date, redesigned to meet code where necessary and worked with a new contractor to complete these exterior stairs. We were happy to partner with this association and very glad to have work completed in time for good weather!

Below left photo shows one of multiple stairs and balconies which were beyond their useful life and not code compliant. Below right shows stairs nearing completion.

What is Wrong with the Picture Below?

We try to fit in some education into our newsletters and reports, so we are adding a new section where we will show a picture and explain what is amiss. Let’s all improve our ability to spot property needs!

Answer: Rock salt on concrete is not recommended. Concrete can be a lasting material if well maintained, but can be expensive to replace. Using rock salt instead of Calcium Chloride will accelerate damage to your concrete walks, roads, and steps and create need for repair or replacement sooner. Calcium Chloride will look like little white balls or pellets rather than the rough rock salt crystals you see in the picture.

Fire Damaged Building Before and In-Progress

J. Hershey Architecture was chosen to design the repair work and provide construction management for a fire damaged building. J. Hershey Architecture recommended improvements to the original building design such as adding roof overhangs to prevent water from running down exterior walls and taller trusses so more insulation could be added for energy efficiency. See picture below right for project in progress.


The Blue Print – February 2022

posted by MC

Let’s start our year on a more serious note. Our call to action for 2022 is a call for courage. I am asking my colleagues, my partners, and my clients to be better advocates for their properties. Less avoiding conflict, more loyalty to what the structures and grounds would ask of us if they were able to speak. It is only through the lens of current needs vs future property goals we are being fair to our roles and avoiding “kicking the can down the road” for someone else to deal with what we ignored.

I was honored to have an article published in the Wisconsin CAI Fall Newsletter titled “Learning from Disaster: A Look at Board Behaviors.”

Please use the link below to read or share the article and begin your courageous year.

Converted Commercial Properties – Codes Matter

When assessing your converted property, be sure you are working with a firm well versed on state and local codes. J. Hershey Building Consultants flagged potential code violations in a recent reserve study for a property that was converted commercial space.

Above left stairs are fine, assuming there are other access points that are ADA compliant. This building did not offer compliant access, which is a potential legal issue. Above right parking structure is in good shape, but parking space codes for commercial are different than for residential. We recommended a legal review for both issues. Note in this case not knowing is not adequate defense!
Above left, terrace areas above ground level present life safety hazards if furniture is placed near to a guardrail. Above right is a more significant issue, where we saw HVAC ducts routed through steel beams. Steel beams are there for structural support and should be respected and remain uncompromised. Addressing these issues proactively helps the Association mitigate risk.

Recommending a Less Aggressive Repair – Sometimes Less is More!

At a different property, J. Hershey Building Consultants assessed building conditions against existing recommendations for extensive balcony repair. Our findings concluded that much less work was needed to improve safety and performance without compromising the useful life of the balconies.

Below left shows that portions of the wear coating is missing and the concrete balcony surface is exposed. Concrete is a porous material. Moisture has been penetrating the concrete slab of these two balconies and passing down through the metal decking. This repeated moisture is the likely cause of the corrosion which we observed at the steel structure which supports the balconies in the pictures above.
the above right picture shows a coating present over the top surface of the concrete patios for other units in the same building. The wear coating appears to be in generally fair to good condition. It is likely that the presence of coating on this balcony has prevented corrosion as indicated by the lack of observed corrosion at the supporting structure.

These findings resulted in greatly reducing the anticipated expense for this Association, allowing them to shift funds to other priorities.

Serving as the Objective Third Party

J. Hershey Building Consultants was asked to assess a litany of complaints by a condo resident who was engaging legal counsel. An evaluation for a single unit was performed, resulting in major savings for the board as we found no evidence of significant maintenance needs. In this we were proud to be expert, objective, and thorough in reporting the needs of the property to both parties.

J. Hershey Building Consultants is happy to partner with boards and advise on the needs of the property. We walk the talk and practice objectivity and courage in our reports. From code compliance to life safety to when extensive repair is NOT needed, our deep expertise allows for solid understanding of what needs to be done.

Growing Home for a Growing Family – Progress

We are helping a family realize full utility of their home so they can stay in a location that delights them even while their needs have changed. This basement remodel will significantly increase the livable space. The picture below right shows the addition of below slab waste lines for new plumbing fixtures.

Moving forward with a High Rise Remodel

We have finalized the design and are working with the city of Chicago for permit of a complete renovation.


Learning from Disaster: A Look at Board Behaviors

posted by MC

By John Hershey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, RS, CAI Educated Business Partner

Published in Wisconsin CAI Fall 2021 Newsletter

First and foremost, my deepest condolences and compassion go out to all those who lost loved ones or were impacted by the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Florida.  We all continue to learn more and more about how that happened, but the truth is we simply wish it had not happened at all. 

One good way to honor those who lost everything is to reflect on our own understanding and behaviors and face opportunities to improve.  What can we do to prevent this from happening again?   While not at all intended to suggest blame – that is not my message here – there are common problematic behaviors that we should all address right away.

Buildings and property require maintenance.  Community associations need to have boards and community managers that take a firmer stance on maintenance needs.  I have witnessed boards that avoid maintenance reality many times.  Too many.  I serve on boards myself, I get it.  We are volunteers and at the end of a long day it is hard to steel yourself to be the one to push for unpopular but necessary action items but we really need to get better at it or acknowledge that we are being negligent in our passivity.

That’s the first behavior I’ll flag here; too often, boards, HOAs, and even management companies avoid detailed assessments of the state of their properties.   There are many reasons for this but primarily there is concern that disclosure leads to liability.  There is a worry that there will be maintenance needs that are not within the budget.  There may be someone on the board with some expertise that will feel threatened if another professional is hired to review their property.  Maintenance as a topic triggers the residents to complain, etc.   Not knowing the detailed status of a property does not make it safer or less prone to decline.   Postponing maintenance simply creates a bigger problem down the road.   Do you really know what your property needs in the next 5 years, the next 10? 

The next behavior is that of prioritizing cosmetic property improvements over “ugly” maintenance.  This is another area of avoidance and where the budget really should lead.  “Ugly” maintenance can be disruptive and lead to resident complaints as compared to the new garden improvements which the residents will love.  Visually attractive property is a pleasure to come home to and the optics of these improvements serve as a good reminder to residents of an attentive management company and board.  If these cosmetics come at the cost of necessary “ugly” maintenance there needs to be some tougher conversations in board meetings. 

There is an opportunity to make sure the boards represent a diversity of life stages.  There are numerous studies to show diversity on teams leads to better problem solving and better business.  On boards, this could mean different views of investment and progress or more openness to change.  Board members that are motivated to hold assessments flat need to be balanced with those that prioritize improvements.  And for goodness sakes, if there is a bully on the board that needs to be addressed as it prevents open communication.

Finally, community management companies need to help their managers improve influencing skills and become more assertive in board meetings.   Managers might be doing a great job serving the residents, but are they serving the property?  Community Association Managers can approach board issues with a more objective lens, with experience of what other properties have done right or wrong.  I would also push here for more physical visits to the properties they manage so they are as familiar with the property as a resident as that carries weight when discussing property needs.  Property maintenance and protecting property value should be part of a community association manager job description if it isn’t already.  Management companies should work to offer more continuity with staffing against properties because history with a property enables better relationships with the board and more impact.  Association managers in board meetings should have a stronger voice and company support to do so.

Most boards, HOAs, and most CAMs do not have backgrounds that enable comprehensive and holistic expertise in structural property maintenance.  This is why property assessments should be done regularly and comprehensively by outside experts.  Experts that offer this service are doing so because they have a passion for extending the useful life of existing structures and properties and will tell you what you need to know.

 John M. Hershey is president of J. Hershey Building Consultants with over 30 years of experience in design, property evaluation, and construction management.


The Blue Print – September 2021

posted by MC

Water features on properties create visual beauty, convey openness and space between dwellings, and of course can deliver important functional benefits related to water movement and capture. These benefits do not come without maintenance and safety concerns that, if left ignored, can create extensive issues related to cost and life safety. We have assessed properties across multiple states with varying sizes of water bodies. Please read below for our most commonly identified opportunities for improvement.

Storm Drain Openings Should Have Grates That Allow Proper Water Flow

This is a situation where we really are trying to avoid disaster. Storm drains lacking any kind of screen or grate present life safety hazards. Even the grating in the top right picture below is an improvement but still not optimal to prevent a small child from accessing the drain. Ideally drain covers would look more like the photo in the bottom right which clearly allows water flow and better safety.

In addition to basic life safety, the addition of inlet protection to these drains should be considered to help with silt management, because that carries added benefit of controlling sediment and silt flow into the waterways, which enables better ongoing performance of water level management on the property. There are covers specifically designed for this purpose.

Retaining Walls Should Have Guardrails

Retaining walls are frequently employed to transform a slope to a flat area or to contain erosion. These features are very common across all types of properties. At a certain height these walls should include either guardrails or deterrent plantings such as hedges or bushes to prevent falls.

While both walls below are visually attractive, the wall on the right as a hedge which adds safety.

Walls around bodies of water are especially hazardous as it is natural to want to peer over into the water at any age. The picture above right shows a fence which, while optimally would have smaller spacing, does add a deterrent to potential falls into the water below.

Ponds and Lakes Should Be Edged to Prevent Erosion and Increase Safety

Erosion into a pond or lake can throw off the balance of water nutrients which can result in an unsightly algae bloom. Erosion can also clog waterways and prevent rainwater from draining in time, causing flooding. Either stone rip rap or deep rooted natural plantings can maintain shore integrity and discourage easy access to the water.

The photo below on the top right shows stone rip rap lining a storm drain swale to a body of water. Stone controls erosion and deters children from walking or playing near the water as stone is not easy to walk across.

Maintenance planning for bodies of water on community property, of any size, should be as relevant in property management and reserve planning as evaluations of building structures. The entirety of the property should be regularly assessed, maintained, and improved.

J. Hershey Building Consultants has the expertise to evaluate community properties in their entirety: internal and external review, water movement and containment, roadways and pavement. Our focus is always on a quality solution that minimizes cost and homeowner disruption while protecting property value.

While it may seem like red tape, permits and building codes are meant to keep us safe. Not having a permit before work begins can lead to a host of problems which can include having the city request work done be removed. J. Hershey Architecture has been engaged often to help get building and repair work on the right side of the law. Some examples from the past year:

  • J. Hershey Architecture spoke to a municipality on behalf of an association to accelerate the permit process so construction could begin.
  • When balcony repairs were performed without drawings and a permit we successfully coordinated with the local building department to provide balcony repair documents for permit.
  • In a similar situation, masonry privacy wall repair work was done without a permit. J. Hershey Architecture coordinated with that local building department to evaluate work and provide documents which resulted in a post facto permit.

There are also many occasions when J. Hershey Architecture h as worked on behalf of Associations with local municipality and influenced those building departments regarding existing code to the benefit of the client:

  • J. Hershey Architecture pointed out national building code requirements to a city building commissioner which resulted in interpretation changes regarding roof insulation requirements. This benefited a client who otherwise would have had to modify roof insulation work.
  • When the retention ponds in a community association were not draining properly, J. Hershey Architecture ultimately determined there were blockages in the storm drain, met with local planning officials and pointed out this was the city’s responsibility. The city cleared the drains at their own expense.

We are proud to offer this expertise to our clients. You’d be surprised how often this understanding is needed!


The Blue Print – August 2021

posted by MC

It’s balcony season! Or, more appropriately, it’s settlement season! Now is the time of year we see many balcony and foundation issues as the ground dries out to reveal soil settlement and erosion. As with the quality of materials, design, and workmanship in the creation of a built structure, the quality of soil matters. In many ways this remains a blind spot with boards and community associations.

From balconies to retention ponds to parking pavement, J. Hershey Building Consultants offer experience beyond standard reserve studies. There are few in the industry with our breadth and depth of experience in residential construction. We are thrilled to help our clients build and maintain their communities.

Solving for Settled Balconies

J. Hershey Building Consultants was called in to investigate balconies that were not level. Our inspection identified multiple concrete pier foundations that had settled, causing balconies to shift. Due to the number of pier foundations that had moved, we recommended soil borings to check stability of the soil. This inexpensive practice ensures the correct repairs are made. If the soil is not stable as can frequently happen with “fill” soil, balcony instability and repair will be a constant battle and can create a cost burden. Soil borings reveal the soil condition so balcony repair can move forward as needed while taking direction from the soil borings learning. An ounce of prevention!!

Above pictures show concrete pier shifts such that balcony support is no longer plumb, causing balcony floor movement. It is likely that the piers shifted due to soil “organics” created by tree roots and decomposition. This is fairly common but when multiple points of shifting occur the soil composition should be evaluated.

Leveling the Floor of a Single Condo Unit

Old warehouses converted to condos is a great re-purposing of existing structures and make for living spaces with character. However, on this occasion the building was not re-engineered to consider what is deemed acceptable by a homeowner for a level floor. J. Hershey Building Consultants collaborated with a structural engineer on a plan to level the floor without significantly impacting existing plumbing, saving the association from more costly repairs.

Our collaborative design also enabled the floor to be raised incrementally over a series of days rather than weeks or months, which can reduce project time, cost, and homeowner disruption considerably. Above left you see final I beams installed to support the raised floor that do not impact existing utilities. On the right you see the final leveled floor.

Foundation Repair Single Unit in HOA

This foundation showed significant cracking, potentially a result of being located on a man made slope adjacent to a retention pond.

J. Hershey Building Consultants collaborated with a structural engineer for a solution that involved installation of steel piers to stabilize the foundation. Rebar, sealant, and an epoxy injection were used to remedy the cracks and deliver an attractive resolution. J. Hershey provides a full range of services including competitie cost bidding and construction managment.

J. Hershey Building Consultants is happy to partner with boards to problem solve single unit issues such as the examples above. Our focus is always on a quality solution that minimizes cost and homeowner disruption. The repair work for this project was completed within one week.

Rebuilding After Fire Damage

Thankfully, everyone evacuated safely from this condo building when the fire happened. J. Hershey Architecture has been contracted to help this association rebuild the fire damaged portions of the building. When something like this happens there is need to first make sure what remains is structurally sound. Additionally, the impacted spaces cannot be rebuilt as they were, they must be brought up to current structural, plumbing, mechanical, and life safety codes. J. Hershey Architecture is adept at working with local authorities to meet code requirements and get proper permits to rebuild. We look forward to featuring completed project pictures in a future newsletter.

Location, Location, Location!

When a family is outgrowing a home but love the area they are in J. Hershey Architecture has been happy to assist in building onto the existing home structure. See a few before and after examples below.

section two


The Blue Print – June 2021

posted by MC

A Note from John

What are you passionate about? I count myself very fortunate to have a job that truly interests me and lets me help others. Built structures, large or small, protect what we care about, such as families or businesses, while being art forms. I’ve been interested in building construction and design from a young age, and have been working in this always-evolving field for a long time. 33 years ago I designed both my first single family home and my first multifamily townhome building. Back then I used a pager on my belt and a bag phone in the car. Since then I have worked with clients on all manner of living spaces across the U.S. from California to New York and from Michigan to Florida. I remain curious and interested in all forms of built structures to this day – but now you can reach me on a cell phone!

J. Hershey Building Consultants brings both passion and experience to our projects. There are few in the industry with our breadth and depth of experience in homes and buildings. We are thrilled to help our clients build and maintain beautiful built structures. THANK YOU to our clients for the opportunity to work with you every day.

From a home renovation client: “We cannot say thank you enough for all of your help and guidance over the past year and more.” -K.B.

From a condo board president: “Thank you for keeping us on track and for your patience.” – J.T.

From another condo board president: “You are remarkable.” – E.D.

Water Infiltration/Forensic Property Evaluation

This case study has a happy ending. Our client thought they were facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in water infiltration mitigation and repair work. J. Hershey Building Consultants were called to help identify specific sources of water infiltration and recommend the appropriate repairs.

As you can see from the pictures below, stained and cracked stucco wall cladding led our client to believe there was a serious water infiltration issue with the building.

We worked with a contractor partner to cut small areas open to assess condition between the exterior wall cladding and the interior wall. In doing so we observed no signs of significant water infiltration issues. However, we did observe multiple issues that allowed water to come into contact with the wall cladding that are much less expensive to rectify.

It turned out that surface water, or water frequently flowing over or splashing onto the wall cladding was the cause of the staining and cracking. Recommendations included adding roof overhangs and properly sized gutters and downspouts. Our report included diagnoses and recommendations to prevent water infiltration in the future and address the need to move the water away from the stucco wall cladding. We will be working with this property management company to assist them as they prioritize and execute needed changes. This client is happy to be spending much less than they anticipated!

Reserve and Transition Studies

This next case study points to the importance of having a partner that understands association responsibilities vs city responsibilities and experience in navigating local government. An association had multiple retaining ponds that were routinely filling up more than they had in the past. This was causing some basements to take on water. J. Hershey Building Consultants was called in to help address the drainage issue.

These ponds are designed to flow through the property and are built to handle varying levels of water. However, recent offsite developments have increased the flow of water on this property.

J. Hershey Building Consultants is working with the city to review and plan for drainage improvements that will benefit the association. Our client is happy to lean on our legal and city understanding to resolve this issue.

J. Hershey Building Consultants is happy to partner with boards to problem solve. We were recently contracted to help an association out of a situation resulting from balconies being repaired without first acquiring city permits and was facing daily fines by the city. Not all repairs need a permit, but all associations do need to engage with an experienced professional who knows what is required and when. Ultimately, this saves money in fines which is the last thing any of us want on that balance sheet! We frequently help clients by handling the permitting/submission for variance as part of our work.

Now is the time to complete your Reserve or Transition Study so you have an accurate and detailed funding plan to improve or maintain your properties. We perform Reserve and Transition Studies on all sizes of community associations from single family HOAs to high rise condominiums and every residential building type in between.

J. Hershey Architecture has been awarded a remodel/renovation project for a condominium in a high rise on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. We look forward to an incredible before/after in a future newsletter.

We have also been contracted to assist in a roofing project at a midrise in Illinois, to include both resident accessed roof terrace and mechanical roofing. (before pictures below)

J. Hershey Architecture provides custom home designs including modern, traditional, and eclectic for our friends and family.


The Blue Print – March 2021

posted by MC

Letter from the President

The Spring renewal this year feels more significant and bittersweet than ever before, for obvious reasons.  We are all eager to return to something that feels more active and normal, but cautiously as we do not want to forget the lessons of the past year.  With deep respect for those who have been impacted by the pandemic, I wish for you all a healthy and happy Spring.

As we continue to serve our clients we have expanded to become business partners in 10 CAI chapters and have updated address locations which can be found at the end of this enewsletter.  As always, for all your consulting, design, construction and community association needs please do not hesitate to contact me at 844-543-7743 or 



John Hershey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, RS, CAI Educated Business Partner
“My satisfaction comes from solving complex issues and being the “go to” professional for our Clients’ needs.”

Ice Damming and Water Infiltration

This winter’s weather created ice damming across many parts of the country.  The freeze/thaw cycles enable ice dams to force water up under shingles and can cause water to leak into attics, ceilings, or walls.  Ice dams can damage roof shingles and gutters or worse, they can create drop hazards. 

Now is the time to proactively review property conditions for any existing damage and plan to prevent future problems with improved insulation, ventilation, and other techniques.

J. Hershey team members have an extensive knowledge of residential design, engineering and construction.  This allows us to provide our property management clients with a range of services that many others do not offer, including evaluations of water damage to identify the source.

A recent client project regarding water infiltration provides a good example of why deep construction expertise enables better understanding of cause.  The unit in the photo below had ongoing and constant dampness in the ceiling. The association was considering replacing the roofing and siding.  John identified the cause as the furnace condensate line not being properly attached, which meant the furnace moisture was getting as far as the hose end at the wall, and then draining into the wall just above this ceiling.  The J. Hershey team was able to bring clarity and a low cost solution to what the Association thought was a roofing issue.

Please use the links below to listen to John’s podcasts on water infiltration.  J. Hershey Building Consultants have helped many clients understand their water infiltration issues.   We can observe these situations as part of a full Reserve Study or as a separate inspection.   Our site visits are followed up by a written report detailing our findings and recommendations for repair.


We are presently providing Construction Administration services to clients across Ohio, Illinois, and Florida for residential and commercial properties. 

Our community association clients typically engage us once we have made recommendations following a site visit or reserve study.  We then assist the Association with the preparation of bid repair documents as needed for bidding and permitting.  We offer coordination and preparation of these documents for all site and building related issues.  

After bidding is complete and a contractor has been hired we perform construction monitoring on behalf of the Association to observe that work is being performed in accordance with the contract.  Our site visits are followed up with easy to read written reports and color photographs so our clients know how the repair work is progressing.

The above photos are of a property with four similar multifamily buildings. Exterior courtyards  had cracking and leaning concrete in stairs and retaining walls which had become unsafe.  We engineered modifications to the storm drain system, new concrete structural retaining walls and maintenance free aluminum guardrails.  The new design will have a longer life expectancy than the original.

We are assisting the above property with a balcony repair project.  This project includes a concrete coating to protect the balconies as well as code compliant, maintenance free guardrails.  This project will be phased over 3 years to stay within the capital improvement budget.

As evidenced by excessive ponding, the above roof was beyond its useful life and did not drain well.  We provided drawings and specifications for a new roofing system with tapered insulation, new curbs, flashing, and ductwork.  Additional to returning functionality to the roof, we specified an easy to maintain product that was cost competitive.


J. Hershey Building Consultants prepared a Transition Study for this recently developed property near downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Below is an historic building located in downtown Chicago, Illinois.  J. Hershey prepared the Association’s first Reserve Study, drawing on both deep construction understanding ad architectural history knowledge to deliver a study that considers the unique aspects of the building.

Contact us today at 844-543-7743 or click here to fill out our online Reserve/Transition Study Request Form. With budget season right around the corner, now is the time to complete your Reserve or Transition Study so you have an accurate and detailed funding plan.  We perform Reserve and Transition Studies on all sizes of community associations from single family HOAs to high rise condominiums and every residential building type in between!

Our residential clients are realizing bespoke home additions or builds and utilize J. Hershey Architecture for everything from coordinating bids to checking in during construction to make sure all is to plan.  We are proud to assist these clients in creating their dream spaces.

The need for more space comes with growing families.  As shown above, we teamed up with this family to seamlessly design additional 2nd floor space and give the exterior a makeover.

We not only perform water infiltration evaluations for community associations but also for individual homeowners.  This home has had ice damming issues since it was built in 2018.          J Hershey Architecture is working with the owner to implement corrective modifications.


08/15/19 The Blue Print August

posted by Jen

The month of August brings the return of school for many of our family members, clients and business partners and is also the start of budget season for our community associations and property managers! Our most recent issue of the The Blue Print highlights the services we offer to community associations so they may keep us top of mind while budgeting for those capital improvement projects and features the renovation of a 1922 bungalow style home in Chicago.  Click here to read!


07/31/19 July Blue Print

posted by Jen

Our July issue of The Blue Print is packed full of great information including recent testimonials from J. Hershey Building Consultant clients as well as an update on current projects from reserve studies to building evaluations! This issue also features progress on a maintenance garage we designed for an Association in northern Illinois and showcases all the Community Association Institute Chapters where John Hershey has been an invited speaker this year. Click here to read!