Standards, Best Practices, and Public Policy Following Surfside Condo Collapse

Standards, Best Practices, and Public Policy Following Surfside Condo Collapse

[ Blog/News ]

Standards, Best Practices, and Public Policy Following Surfside Condo Collapse

The past two weeks have been devastating after witnessing the partial collapse of the Champlain Tower South condominium in Surfside, Fla., learning of the lives that perished, and seeing the tragedy’s impact on survivors and those in the immediate community. An investigation into the cause of the condo collapse is ongoing; standards of practice and legal requirements related to ensuring maintenance and structural integrity of condominiums understandably are coming under scrutiny.

While community associations have been in existence for more than a century, the rise in condominium developments began in the 1970s and has remained steady ever since. Condominiums are home to millions of people in the U.S., and government officials at the local, state, and federal levels have started pondering what changes need to occur to prevent a similar building collapse from happening again.

CAI’s Government and Public Affairs Committee recently convened a special meeting with guests who offer a broad range of expertise to discuss current best practices, standards, and public policies related to condominium structural requirements. This working group will help CAI establish guidance and model language for CAI’s state legislative action committees as well as considerations for state legislators. Below are the overarching themes of the discussion:

Building Inspections & Maintenance:

Several counties in Florida have inspection obligations that require a structural and electrical engineer or architect to conduct a building inspection and certify the safety of the building. New York City and other localities have similar requirements. CAI is studying these requirements to help develop standards for condominiums and other high-rise residential buildings.

Reserve Study Planning:

Reserve studies for condominium associations are currently required in nine states: California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state. Washington statutorily encourages associations to have a reserve study performed every three years unless doing so would impose an unreasonable hardship. Florida statute does not require a reserve study but requires a reserve schedule for repair and replacement of major components.

The Foundation for Community Association Research has a Best Practices Report on reserve studies and reserves management that was updated in 2020. CAI is reviewing reserve funding best practices and requirements to determine if changes are needed.

Funding For Maintenance, Repair, & Replacement of Major Components:

Condominium associations are required to have reserve funding for maintenance, repair, and replacement of major components in 11 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, and Oregon. CAI will be exploring tax benefits to incentivize association reserve funding as well as for special assessments and loans used to fund component maintenance, repair, and replacement.

Insurance:

CAI is reviewing best practices and standards for adequate insurance coverage for condominiums and individual units.

CAI is uniquely positioned to lead the conversation on these standards, best practices, and policy changes to benefit our more than 42,000 members, the 73.5 million Americans living in community associations, and the millions more living in community associations around the world.

We will continue to engage in conversations with members, experts, and stakeholders in the community association housing model to strengthen existing standards and public policy in these areas.

If you have comments, opinions, or expertise in any of these areas & would like to contribute to the conversation, please email government@caionline.org. End Of Article

Condo Safety - Structural Integrity, Maintenance, And Reserves - Community Associations Institute - Click to Go to CAI's Web Page

Right now CAI is providing information & resources to help concerned residents and board members understand structural integrity, maintenance, and reserves.

  • Porter Construction Inc - Building With Integrity - www.porterci.com
  • Condominium Law Group, PLLC - General Counsel & Collection Services - Partners Ken Harer & Valerie Oman - Phone: (206) 633-1520 Website: www.condolaw.net
  • Barker Martin
  • Newman HOA CPA - Banner Ad
  • Rafel Law Group - Banner Ad
  • The Copeland Group - Banner Ad
  • HUB International NW - HOA And Condo Solutions - Web Ad

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Replace Your Plumbing At 50 Years? 60 Years? Not So Fast…

Replace Your Plumbing At 50 Years? 60 Years? Not So Fast…

[ Blog/News ]

Replace Your Plumbing At 50 Years? 60 Years? Not So Fast…

You may have been noticing an increase in the frequency of plumbing system replacement, at very high costs. Now that a significant portion of the housing stock we serve within Washington Community Associations has reached or is near the 50-year mark of life, expect that trend to continue. But what do you plan for in terms of timing, and cost? Why isn’t total replacement typically in your reserve study?

Answering the last question first, reserve studies are limited to exterior visual inspection and research, for budget purposes, guided by National Reserve Study Standards that state:

  1. must be common association responsibility;
  2. must have predictable useful life;
  3. must have predictable remaining life;
  4. must be significant in cost.

It is the hidden and unpredictable nature of plumbing that often keeps replacement out of the reserve study, unless there is a higher level of evaluation underlying the projected timing and costs. There are so many other issues that associations know about and can see every day, that cause plumbing to go out of view.

It is also a challenge to plan for, because there are many types of plumbing systems, configurations and site conditions that can lead to full replacement in as few as 15 – 20 years, or as far away as 75 – 100 years[1]. There are different material types, grades and wall thickness of piping, water chemistry, fittings, etc. As reserve study providers who regularly track actual expenses in our region, we have noted replacement costs around $10,000 per unit, to recently over $90,000 per unit factoring: asbestos, tight in-wall install conditions, currently high inflation and extensive unit interior repairs.

So again, what do you do? We suggest that you begin by hiring a reputable engineering consulting firm to thoroughly evaluate your particular system conditions, providing recommendations for both near-term care and the most likely timing and rough order of magnitude cost, specification options as basis for planning. This is our approach as proactive reserve budget consultants.

At the end of the day, it is better to have an idea when this large expense may be coming, than continuing to let it slip from view, to someday turn into an even larger disruptive and costly “surprise”. End Of Article

[1] Source: Kent Engineering

By Association Reserves Washington, LLC

By Association Reserves Washington, LLC

Chapter Happenings Sponsor, May 2021

Written by Jim Talaga, RS

Learn more about Association Reserves WA at: www.reservestudy.com

  • Condominium Law Group, PLLC - General Counsel & Collection Services - Partners Ken Harer & Valerie Oman - Phone: (206) 633-1520 Website: www.condolaw.net
  • The Copeland Group - Banner Ad
  • Porter Construction Inc - Building With Integrity - www.porterci.com
  • Barker Martin
  • Newman HOA CPA - Banner Ad
  • Rafel Law Group - Banner Ad
  • HUB International NW - HOA And Condo Solutions - Web Ad

Search WSCAI


Search Business Partners Directory


Diamond Sponsors

  • CIT - Community Association Banking - Logo
  • Transblue - Logo
  • CAU - Community Association Underwriters - Logo
  • Rafel Law Group PLLC - Logo
  • Superior Cleaning & Restoration - A COIT Service Company - Logo
  • RW Anderson Services - Logo
  • Association Reserves WA - Logo
  • HUB International NW - Logo
  • SageWater - Logo
  • Columbia Bank - Logo
  • Agynbyte - Logo
  • Newman HOA CPA - Audit & Tax - Logo
  • ServPro Of Seattle NW - Logo

Chapter Magazine

Journal July-August 2022

Jul/Aug 2022 Issue

Journal Advertising Partners:

  • Newman HOA CPA Audit & Tax
  • CIT Group Inc. - Logo
  • Rafel Law Group PLLC - Logo
  • The Copeland Group - Logo
  • Bell-Anderson & Associates - Logo
  • Community Association Underwriters - Logo
  • Ruff Construction - logo
  • Charter Construction - Logo
  • Popular Association Banking
  • SSI Construction
  • Sagewater
  • RW Anderson Services - Logo
  • Pacific Engineering Technologies, Inc - Logo

  • Pacific Western Bank - Small Ad
  • Association Reserves of Washington - Ad