• Planning for a major construction repair seems to be a daunting task. If you approach the process responsibly, it will make your project successful.  Whether it be a simple deck repair, siding replacement, or complete building envelope replacement, the following steps will help your HOA successfully plan for project from concept to execution.

Concept – Your community needs to consider what the objectives of your project are and hire a design professional to assess their validity. An experienced designer will ensure the repairs you implement take into consideration the unique aspects of your building structure. It’s important the work your community invests in, provides a return whether it be in a financial or other positive outcome. If your project involves building envelope repair or replacement, hire a professional that has design expertise required to ensure the repair correctly addresses the factors causing issues in the first place. .

Preliminary Design – The designer will need to understand your main objective and understand the shortcomings of the current design or construction. This may entail removal of finishes along with visual inspections to completely understand what is happening to your building structure. The designer will then consolidate and act on this information to prepare a preliminary design that is specific to your building’s needs.

Budget based off of preliminary design –  Once the preliminary design has been reviewed and accepted by the owner, a budget should be estimated.   This is commonly known as a Rough Order of Magnitude or ROM.  A qualified contractor, who is familiar with the type of construction or repair needed, should be hired to provide the ROM. A thorough ROM should provide guidance to both the designer and owner not only for the overall budget, but also cost categories to allow greater understanding of budget during the design phase. .    Design decisions can then be modified as they fit the owners’ needs and budget using this ROM.

Preliminary Funding Approval – Often times, the owner will need to obtain financing for a major repair.   Banks will need to know your scope of work, size of the community, number of rented vs owned units, amount of delinquent payments for homeowner dues, a copy of your bi-laws and declarations, and a copy of your community’s most recent reserve study and association financials. It is important to not deplete your reserve accounts, as the lenders want assurance you have the ability to pay for any delinquent homeowner dues and have funds to properly care and maintain your investment once renovated.   Having a bank involved early in the process also allows them to identify issues that need more action and allows the HOA to resolve the issue concurrently  with the design and final steps listed below.

Final Design Documents – Final design is a more comprehensive set of construction documents which specifies and shows the details of what is taking place and how the components will fit and work together.   They should consider the current building code requirements which will be enforced by the local authority.  They should thoroughly explain the scope of work, provide elevations showing the completed design, detailing of components,  and incorporate any assumptions to be made.

Allowing for Permitting Process –  The time to obtain a building permit has grown since COVID-19.  The City of Seattle for example has an appointment time needed of several weeks just to submit for the permit.  Then several more months for review to obtain the permit.   If this is not considered in your planning it could affect the time when the project can begin.

Obtaining bids, check references and contractor selection –  Once the final design is complete then the design is used to precure contractor bids.  This usually involves a group meeting with all bidding contractors to review and discuss the work which is planned to happen at the project site.   From there takeoffs, vendor and subcontractor quotes are obtained and the project is bid by the General Contractor.    These bids are reviewed by the designer or construction manager.   Often times contractor interviews are conducted, references checked on the contractor’s similar performed work and contractor selection made.    The contractor selected needs to be the best fit for the project, not necessarily the lowest bidder.    In my 30 years plus of contracting, I have learned that not always is the lowest price the best.   The decision of contractor selection also needs to consider several factors.   1) Honesty 2) Thoroughness 3) Experience or History 4) Safety Record 5) Ability to work as a team with the owner and designer and 6)price.   The contractor is a major key for the project’s success and is why all these should be considered.

Sign contract and execute –  A major construction renovation needs a good contract for all parties, (Owner, Contractor & Architect/Designer).   Often AIA contracts are a good place to start.   It should establish the contract amounts, scope of work, duration, listing of construction documents, payment terms, insurance requirements, cause for termination, and warranty requirements as a minimum.

Taking on a major renovation in an occupied community is a big task.   Using the above planning steps will help ensure your project is set up to be successful and enjoyed by all.

  • Written by Jon Walkley, Experienced Building Envelope Repair Contractor
    • Pacific Building Envelope

Making lasting impressions on occupied communities.