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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.