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Subject: Components/punch list/contracts
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JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


08/31/2017 5:04 PM  
General question.

Most board members are not experts on reserve study components and exactly what they should check when hiring contractors to perform the work, problems that could arise etc. It would appear that with the number of HOAs that there would be a written guide on every major component in any reserve study. i.e. if there is a need to replace a deck what specific questions need to be asked.

Outside of reserve study items if storm drains needed to be cleaned, what does the board need to know about cleaning storm drains?

Are there any written guides developed by any boards or management companies. Would seem this would be down to a science.

Thanks!
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1446


08/31/2017 5:28 PM  
It's not down to a science, but there are standard guidelines and national cost estimating guidebooks that someone doing a reserve study will consult. Often local vendors are also consulted for guidance.

Boards should at least have a passing knowledge of reserves, why they're needed, how they're calculated (estimated) and how they should be funded.

"Most board members are not experts on reserve study components"

That's an understatement.
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


08/31/2017 6:30 PM  
It is about the maintenance to be performed as opposed to the reserve study itself. What needs to be considered i.e. if the reserve study dates that decks need to be replaced in the next 1-2 years. Check list that apply to these and other maintenance needs. I can paint the entire interior of my house but I am not a paint expert. So if interiors of multi family condos needed to be painted what should be considered. If replacing carpet what needs to be considered? Would steps & sub-flooring be a concern and need to be inspected at the same time.

My objective is that all boards could use some standard guidelines. Amazed they do not exist.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14509


08/31/2017 6:43 PM  
Perform an internet search on hiring contractors HOA and there are a fair amount of articles that may help.


If your talking about updating your reserve study (an annual requirement in Virginia), simply ask contractors the Association has already used to assist in evaluating. Many can do that with a simple walk around. Most contractors you have a relationship with are happy to do that.


With buildings, contact me and I will give you the name of a home inspector working within northern Virginia that actually wrote some of the Virginia building codes. You will pay for his time but he will give you a ton of info (verbally - I used my phone and recorded everything that was said).

If you are really unsure, then hire a reserve specialist to do the work for you.
They have the contacts to get the info they need.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:1889


08/31/2017 6:45 PM  
The Community Association Institute (CAI) has several books and brochures on various issues - I don't know if they would have anything specific on HOA components since that varies by community, but getting information on what the reserve studies are, how they're prepared and how they influence the budget would be a start.

Beyond that, there's a bunch of information on home maintenance, such as how often to inspect a roof and what to look for. It's not about being an expert on everything (board members may not be roofers, plumbers or HVAC technicians), but you can start with the care and feeding of a single detached unit and extrapolate to the entire community.

For example, your reserve study might say storm drains may need to be replaced every 10 years, but during that time, you may need an annual inspection to check for problems. Or, you should apply rootkill to your sewer cleanout at least once a year. Those maintenance tasks could be put in a comprehensive schedule - every month, do this, every 3, 6, 12 months, do something else. Start with your property manager, if you have one and see what you come up with.

In the same vein, there's information on what to look for when hiring a contractor - you could check with your local consumer protection bureau to see what should be done, and if you have a property manager, he or she can do a lot of that legwork for the board and then they can review it to make a decision. Put those steps in a board resolution that will mandate what needs to be done (e.g. all contracts must be in writing, at least three bids must be obtained for work costing more than X amount, where appropriate, all contractors must have a current license and performance bond, etc.)
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


08/31/2017 6:48 PM  
Have not seen any requirement to update the reserve study annually? Do you have this law? I know every 5 years is a requirement. Thanks for the info. Will surely keep that in mind.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14509


08/31/2017 6:59 PM  
Virginia Statutes [emphasis added]

§ 55-514.1. Reserves for capital components.

A. Except to the extent otherwise provided in the declaration and unless the declaration imposes more stringent requirements, the board of directors shall:

1. Conduct at least once every five years a study to determine the necessity and amount of reserves required to repair, replace and restore the capital components;

2. Review the results of that study at least annually to determine if reserves are sufficient; and

3. Make any adjustments the board of directors deems necessary to maintain reserves, as appropriate.



Example: We own the roads. Hence we set aside funds for milling and paving. Yearly, I contact the contractor that performed the work last time and asked what was the current cost per square yard. This cost is then used to update our Reserve Study to ensure we set aside enough funds for the actual cost when the work is done (vs. what the cost would have been 5 years ago).
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


08/31/2017 7:05 PM  
Thanks.. get that (review) annually. Always reviewing it.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1446


08/31/2017 7:16 PM  
They do exist, but as you say, most people do not posess the necessary expertise and experience to evaluate all those considerations. Most places will hire a firm that specializes in reserve studies. Those firms have people working for them who know how to estimate replacement costs and everything that goes into them such as paint formulations, sub-floor requirements, wear & tear on the roads, roof replacement needs, etc.

You can do it yourself but if you're off significantly with your estimates of remaining life and/or cost estimates then you could run into problems. The heart of a reserve study is its estimates, to be sure, but reserve specialists are probably going to do a better job of estimating than you would be able to on your own precisely for the reasons you state.
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


08/31/2017 7:38 PM  
Thanks Geno.. We have a reserve study. What I am seeking is a kind of standard operating procedures manual by maintenance item(s). exceptions, considerations etc. If you need to replace intercoms>everything to consider before doing that. I realize this may be in many standard contracts but there are things that can get ignored. I can research intercoms and many other maintenance needs. Looking to simplify the process. It does not have to be this time consuming nor should any volunteer board have to second guess or back track to accomplish what they need to get done.

That is the major problems with HOAs. They complicate what should be a straight forward process. Some things may fall outside of this but they should be the exception.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:237


08/31/2017 10:09 PM  
Getting recommendations from your state contractors licensing board is another place to start.
This way you'll get a properly licensed contractor, and one that is specialized in the work you need done.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3355


08/31/2017 10:09 PM  
Joyce ... Geno gave great advice!!! The issue is that all HOA's greatly vary in scope and size. While a large HOA may need to hire someone to do a reserve study ... a small HOA such as mine will do it ourselves. The only major item we have is our irrigation system which is easy for us to estimate and we have estimated on the high side. Potentially what you are looking for if your HOA has been around for awhile can be found via your past records. An Excel spreadsheet can be set up and past information input to help determine from past costs and your reserve study for future costs to note when certain items need to be addressed. You have to keep in mind all of this is just an "estimate". Sometimes circumstances change, such as change in weather which in turn can change any "estimate" for future maintenance. There is no exact science ... we just all try to do the best we can with the information we have.
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:101


09/01/2017 11:52 AM  
Thank you all for the responses. Your time is appreciated.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Components/punch list/contracts



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