J. Hershey can provide building consulting services in all states. For projects that require design or engineer permitting J. Hershey is licensed in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. We have relationships with professional service firms who we work with for permitting in other states.
J. Hershey Building Consultants may perform evaluations for all site and building related issues. These include; but are not limited to, Transition Studies, Reserve Studies, water infiltration issues, wall cladding issues, roofing issues, site drainage issues, foundation issues, structural issues, sound decibel issues, and interior architectural Unit reviews.
J. Hershey Building Consultants and J. Hershey Architecture prepares bid repair documents with a focus on Community Associations.
J. Hershey Architecture provides construction documents for new projects and renovations for homeowners and commercial clients with a desire for custom designs to fit their unique needs.
J Hershey has in depth knowledge and experience with design and engineering for residential and commercial projects of all types and sizes. Unlike many consultants who are involved with community associations John Hershey is a Licensed Architect with training, knowledge and experience related to all building and property systems. Many competitors are not licensed professionals or are licensed as civil engineers…a degree which has a limited scope of building related formal education.
The Team at J Hershey have been involved with the design and construction administration of 100s of high quality projects throughout their careers. This extensive background in building construction techniques gives the Team a knowledge base that is lacked by many competitors.
John Hershey has exceled at solving complex site and building issues for clients. He is also an expert at resolving water infiltration issues and other water related problems.
If you are a homeowner or business owner who already has a preferred contractor then J. Hershey Architecture would be the appropriate firm with which to work. J. Hershey Architecture remains involved during construction to coordinate with the client and contractor to help ensure the work is constructed as designed.
If you are a property manager or community association that requires bids from multiple contractors then J. Hershey Architecture would be the appropriate firm with which to work. J. Hershey remains involved during the bid phase to coordinate the bidding and to perform an “apples to apples” analysis of the contractors’ bids for client review. J. Hershey Architecture may help the client with the selected contractor’s contract and continues to be involved during construction to coordinate with the client and contractor to help ensure the work is constructed as designed.
A reserve study is a long-term capital budget planning tool which identifies the current status of the reserve fund and a stable and equitable funding plan to offset ongoing deterioration, resulting in sufficient funds when those anticipated major common area expenditures actually occur.
Reserve study – Wikipedia
Without a plan, in this case a Reserve Study, it is difficult to know with any level of confidence that the money will be available at the time it is needed to maintain your property. A single-family homeowner may elect to risk not saving money for home repairs, but it is a Community Association’s responsibility to ensure reasonable funds are available to maintain the property in the condition as originally constructed for its residents.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
We recommend Reserve Studies be prepared approximately every five years. The estimated life of building components and systems may change during that time period depending on various factors including regular maintenance or lack thereof. If a major capital improvement is performed within the five year time frame we recommend an Update to your Reserve Study be prepared as the timing of the improvement may impact the reserve funding analysis.
If you live in a newly developed community association we recommend having a Transition Study or Reserve Study be prepared even if the developer recently provided one. Developers often artificially create low monthly assessments which may quickly lead to underfunded reserves. An Reserve Study contracted by the Association and prepared independent of the Developer will help to avoid this common issue.
Many Associations have never had a Reserve Study prepared. Associations are typically required by state laws to keep a reasonable amount of reserves on hand. Without a professionally prepared Reserve Study it is difficult to show your residents that your Association is adequately funded to maintain your property and in an effort to avoid special assessments.
If the property manager or Association Board consider a previously prepared Reserve Study to be inadequate or in error with its recommendations it is recommended to have a new Reserve Study be prepared. This is often considered when an Association has a change in management or Board members.
We recommend all Community Associations seek input from their legal counsel for specific requirements in your locale.
A portion of the residents’ monthly assessments goes toward operating expenses and a portion goes toward a reserve fund. To increase reserve funds the monthly assessments may be increased, a special assessment may be requested of the residents, a loan from a financial institution may be acquired, or any combination of these. Appropriately funded reserves can help to avoid unexpected expenses.
Restrictions of how assessments may be approved and increased are often outlined in the Association’s Declarations. We recommend all Community Associations seek input from their legal counsel for specific requirements.
An Association’s Declarations should identify which property components are the responsibility of the Association and which are the responsibility of individual Unit Owners. In our experience the Declarations can be vague or lack appropriate information to your specific Association. When we prepare a Reserve Study we review the Declarations for what entity is responsible for each component. Occasionally, we have determined an Association has been repairing or maintaining components which are the individual Unit Owners’ responsibility and vise versa. We recommend Associations have Declarations which clearly indicate the separation of responsibility. If they are not clearly indicated we recommend the Declarations be amended accordingly. We recommend all Community Associations seek input from their legal counsel for specific requirements.
Reserve Studies prepared by J. Hershey typically identify all property components even if they are not the responsibility of the Association. In doing so the Association is provided a clear understanding of component responsibility without the worry of whether a component was left out of the Reserve Study due to error verses it not being an Association responsibility.
Generally, the preparation of a Reserve Study can legally be prepared by anyone. It is not required to be performed by a professional with specific minimum credentials. It is up to the Association and their property manager to vet the qualifications of those proposing to prepare their Reserve Study. Not all Reserve Studies are created by equally qualified professionals.
Many firms have staff who are not licensed professionals perform site visits and prepare the reports. These employees are often college graduates with a degree in civil engineering or other professional discipline. Many jurisdictions allow the use of the term Engineer even if a person is not a Licensed Engineer. Generally, an engineer needs to be licensed if they are sealing drawings for the purpose of permitting and construction.
Many firms also have people outside of their firms perform the services. These people are identified as independent contractors who receive a form 1099 at the end of the year, which reports to the IRS how much money was paid to the contractor. In contrast, employees receive a W-2. Service providers are either employees or independent contractors; they cannot be both.
Many professionals who prepare Reserve Studies have a R.S. (Reserve Specialist) designation. This designation is given by the Community Association Institute to persons who are members of the organization and have completed a questionnaire to indicate a minimum level of competency. This designation is not a requirement to prepare Reserve Studies nor an indication of a person’s level of property components and systems knowledge.
John Hershey is a Licensed Architect with an extensive knowledge base of all site and building components of Community Associations. He and his Team not only prepare Reserve Studies but also are regularly involved in the design and construction of many projects. This gives his Team the added knowledge of how buildings should and should not be constructed; as well as, real time construction costs to reference. John Hershey also has the R.S. designation.