Sooner or later, every co-op or condo owner will have to deal with the inconvenience of living through a major capital improvement project—a roof replacement, an elevator rehab, serious exterior work, or something of that nature. No matter how carefully the project is scheduled, inevitably it will be disturbing someone. But with strategic planning and constant communication among board members and trustees, residents, management and the project crew, the hassle of the project can be significantly reduced.
Those Pesky Projects
The Esplanade Club Association in Naples, an 18-story building with 167,000 square feet of surface, went through a recent concrete restoration. The time-consuming project required multiple noisy jackhammers and, because of the extensive dust particles flying through the air, part of the building needed to be covered, leaving residents with limited access to their outdoor patios and seating.
The noise, dust, disruption and general hassle of any such undertaking is sometimes simply unavoidable. “In a facility with elevators, modernization of the equipment and controls is always a challenge as a car will be down for an extended period of time,” says Charles R. Sheppard, president of Community Advisors LLC in Jacksonville. “Exterior wall renovations can also be a problem when large sections of the wall need to be removed, structural members repaired and then the new surface, brick, stucco, etc. are installed. In this case, access for owners is usually not the issue, but the noise is.”
The noise, pollution and other impact on residents can be reduced if building administrators play their cards right and prepare both themselves and their residents adequately for an upcoming project.
Of course, the planning for any capital improvement project starts when an association makes certain there are enough funds set aside for a project. “When you want to do a project, your first thought shouldn’t be “how are we going to pay for it?” says Donna Seidenberg, the director of the Fuoco Group, a full-service accounting and business advisor consulting firm in Boca Raton. “The money should have been accumulated in a reserve fund.”