Someday has come, now what?
As communities age there are major real property components that need to be addressed and cared for by professionals. All of these items have a useful life and need to be repaired and or replaced. Nothing lasts forever, thus we aid our boards to plan and budget for the future replacement of large reserve items via our reserve study. Each association saves for the future replacement to happen “someday” the best they can with their resources. Someday is now here! Every day Managers older communities like you are now faced the “how” to address the large replacement projects in addition to their day to day work load. Should you take this all on your shoulders as the manger and say “don’t worry board I will take care if it. Although “yes” is what we like to say to our boards when they are in need, here is a checklist to a “successful yes” before you and your board blindly dive in to a large projects take a time out, read on and review this checklist.
Don’t mange the project manage the expectations:
You are the can do manager, recognize you may have past experience with the project at hand however you as the manager are more than likely you are not the expert for these large replacement projects. A key part of our management expertise is to recognize when you are not the expert and establish this expectation with your board. While you are not the expert for the project you can place them in contact with the proper expert or consultant beyond the contractor that will do the work.
Learn plan and grow:
Different projects call for different experts at different stages of the project, such as a landscape architect working with your board and landscape contractor to plan and specify the needed upgrades or replacements to your communities landscaping while helping to fix longstanding drainage problems. Experts such as this can also aid your board in generating specifications and schematics for your project. You are armed with the information form the boards expert and can use them for collecting proposals from service providers. Detailed specifications given to your contractors and service providers when bidding the project eliminate guesswork on behalf of the contractor which allows him or her to be very accurate and competitive with pricing while at the same time streamlining the bidding process for that beloved “apples to apples” bid result. Recognize, anytime there are major unknowns or unidentified details your are asking your contractor to forecast or guess, the cost of your large detailed projects will be much more expensive as compared to working with an expert to eliminate unknowns and give specific instruction and specifications to your contractor.
Almost there, be prepared.
The expert has helped you plan out each detail of your project and the association obtained competitive bids from a qualified contractors to execute the work. Is it time to dive in and get started and dive in? Give your self a second time out and work on the next part of your checklist. Who will oversee or manage the large project while it is underway and address the items that come up and don’t go according to plan. For example do you see yourself standing over the edge of your 32 story building directing replacement of your buildings roofing system replacement as the supply cranes swing overhead as you are surrounded by the flashes of welders and sparks blast into the air from gas torches cutting into steel as you return e-mail on your iPhone? Again give a successful “yes” to your boards and help them understand the team of experts that may need to be required to execute the project such as a structural engineer or construction manger to oversee the roofing system replacement on your high-rise roofing system and work with your contractor to quarterback unforeseen items that come up as nothing goes 100% as planned. This expert can help you and the board ensure quality control of the outcome.
Close the loop and educate.
The list of experts is growing and your board is now concerned about the potential cost of the experts. Take the last step of your project and educate your boards. In your budget for your large project you may find your expert fees are minor when compared to the cost of the entire project. Share with the board not cutting corners and working with experts is a wise investment as well as helping your boards exercise good business judgment by relaying the advice of experts, our “golden” rule.
With clear expectations established by your board based on the advice of your team of experts you now have eliminated some of the major hurtles on “how” to address your major repair or replacement as the manager and given your boards that successful yes to help them accomplish what they need.
This all sounds fantastic in theory so lets apply this to a relateable real life scenario for a large and expensive replacement project that your aging association may have undertake some day soon.
Your community association is in need of a new roofing system The current roof is beyond its useful life and well beyond repair. You have applied your basics of community management knowledge and helped the board obtain multiple cost forecasts via your reserve studies. Now the board asked you, how do we replace our roof. Stop, recognize you are not the roofing expert let the board know this with a successful yes that will allow you to help them find their experts they need for this project. You know contractors that can help you with the replacement however your project is complex and you suspect some hidden problems with the supporting roof structure because the age of your building(s). With complex and very detailed projects it may be prudent for your board to work with a professional consultant who has no conflict to gain financially from the project other than the time he or she charges for her expertise, such as a architect or engineer. Consultants such as this can also aid your board in generating specifications and schematics for your project. Detailed specifications given to your contractors and service providers will help them when they are generating their bids. This approach for a costly and roof project helps to eliminate guesswork on behalf of the roofing contractor which allows him to be very accurate with his pricing. The consultant, or a project manager may also need to retained to work with the roofing contractor during the execution of the project to help quarterback the unknowns such as heavy rust found on support beams or dry rot in wood once the roof has been deconstructed. Not every project requires special consultants such as an architect or engineer however you will find it is money well spent when dealing with a large and expensive projects to help your association invest in success. These large projects may only come around once a few decades working with the right experts and professionals to help guide the boards project may prove to help reduce the overall cost while ensuring the best possible outcome for all the professionals involved and most importantly the community.
This method can be applied to all your major projects for your aging community.