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Reserve Study Site Visits & How They Improve Your Reserve Study
With a few exceptions, Washington State community associations which have significant assets are to perform annual reserve study updates, with a site visit performed by a reserve study professional every 3rd year. But did you know how truly helpful that site visit is to your association’s reserve study?
First, it is important to note that a reserve study site visit is a limited visual review in which no testing or structural evaluation is performed. Your association should reach out to the appropriate building envelope or structural experts for assistance with these items.
Initial Site Visit
At the initial level 1 full reserve study site visit, your reserve study professional will quantify the association’s assets through measurements and counts. Component quantities are required to be included in the reserve study by Washington State statute and are the most effective way to calculate cost allowances.
The quantification process is typically not repeated in subsequent site visits as this data is carried forward throughout future reserve study updates, even if you switch reserve study providers.
Each of the association’s assets has a typical useful life and your reserve study professional is looking for visual signs that the item will last as long as average, shorter, or longer. This helps adjust the remaining useful life for that component to narrow down the timing for the project for budgetary purposes. As an example, if the average exterior paint cycle is performed at 8-10 years but the paint at your association is peeling at 6 years, your reserve study professional will update the remaining useful life for that paint cycle accordingly.
Determining Cost Adjustmnets
The reserve study site visit is also helpful in dialing in costs for your association. Absent a cost history from the association for a recent project, your reserve study provider will likely use average industry costs for the report. These costs often need to be adjusted for each specific association based on observations made during the site visit.
As an example, a fence that is installed in an area which is difficult to access will likely cost more to replace. Or, asphalt that is significantly deteriorated may need to be removed and replaced rather than ground down and overlaid, which is significantly more costly. All of these cost adjustments are made based on observations from the site visit.
By Accurate Reserve Professionals, LLC
Chapter Happenings Sponsor, November 2022
Written By: Karen McDonald, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, RS, President & Founder of Accurate Reserve Professionals, LLC
Karen is a Past President of the WSCAI Chapter and serves on several committees. Outside of the office she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, best doggy friend Zeke, and a collection of animals.
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