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The Blue Print – August 2023

posted by MC

The weather extremes have made for an “interesting” summer, haven’t they? Any weather should remind us to be proactive with our properties. For properties that have been experiencing high heat and drought let’s keep an eye on our foundations and balcony supports. Uneven settlement can happen when the ground dries out and cracks. For properties experiencing heavy rain let’s check and be sure those flat roofs aren’t holding puddles and that the property site is successfully draining. Those challenged with smoke from wildfires should be aware that when windows have to stay closed, AC stays on so let’s make sure AC unit condensation is not creating issues. Like the old saying about the mail deliverer, neither smoke, nor heat, nor rain can stop us from diligently maintaining properties!

Transition Studies Pay for Themselves

J. Hershey Building Consultants regularly conducts transition studies which help negotiate fair expectations for developer completion. A recent transition study found multiple areas of failed or missing landscaping which impact the overall appeal of the property and can add up to significant costs.

Pictures below show examples of trees and shrubs found to be dead, unhealthy, or not adequately supported. With over 1000 planted trees, replacement can be costly.

A transition study highlights those last items to be addressed by a contractor and saves the Association from spending unnecessary dollars.

Preventing Balcony Failure

J. Hershey Building Consultants completed a balcony evaluation for an Association concerned about the state of their balconies. Findings from the study pointed to cost efficiency by fully replacing balconies and stairs instead of doing repairs in pieces which would ultimately have cost more. Below left pic shows the balcony and stair design for over 25 homes. Below right shows one of the balcony floors, clearly weatherworn with a bowed front rail and warped deck boards.

Above left picture shows a split and warped step, which is a safety concern. Above right shows multiple split rails which lead to unstable handrails, also a safety concern. Ultimately a majority of components would need replaced such that we recommended full replacement, which would also allow for improving some of the construction details.

Reserve Studies Should Include Bodies of Water

J. Hershey Building Consultants conduct reserve studies on all types of properties and encourage any reserve study to include a review of all bodies of water on the property. Importantly, if a property has water accessible to residents the Association and management company should speak with legal counsel to understand life safety issues any liability to the Association.

Our review of the property below identified sand and sediment along the shorelines, which could ultimately flow into and impact the storage capacity (important for detention and retention ponds) of any body of water.

Sandy beaches on a property often lead to frequent dredging. For homes immediately on lakes or retention ponds we recommend implementing standards for residents to limit the number of sandy beaches as well as lawn chemical treatments from flowing into the water.
Remember, reserve studies should have a 10 or 20 year view – reducing future maintenance is as important as identifying immediate needs.

What is wrong with the picture below?

Let’s continue to improve our ability to proactively maintain our properties!

Answer: Fire hydrants need to be fully accessible with at least a 3 foot clearance. Note this includes any snow accumulation! Click on the hydrant to go to the National Fire Protection Association to review relevant codes and save the link for future reference.
NFPA 1, Fire Code, 18.5.7 Clear Space Around Hydrants.

Rebuilding a Garage After a Fire

Thankfully, nobody was injured in this garage fire. J. Hershey Architecture is working with the Association and Property Management to update the original garage plans to provide permit and construction drawings. The bottom right picture shows the fully cleared space ready for new building to begin.

Our easy online Request For Proposal Forms can be accessed at the top right of the JHersheyGroup home page.