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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.