Managing Your HOA’s Maintenance and Improvement Projects
Keeping your property maintained and making needed improvements are important aspects of your homeowners association’s financial health. To manage these crucial responsibilities effectively, you need to stay on top of day-to-day projects, as well as create and adhere to a long-range plan. What does it take to make those goals a reality?
Do a daily property inspection.
Your onsite facility or maintenance manager should ensure that a daily inspection of your property is conducted and that work orders are created based on this inspection. Any outstanding work orders, as well as these new ones, should then be categorized according to importance:
- Work orders that take priority. Work orders for health issues, safety concerns or problems that limit the association’s operations should be handled before others. This might include work orders for lights that are out in a common area or loose handrails on stairs.
- Work orders for routine issues. In the next category are work orders for items that affect the enjoyment or comfort of residents or that are noticeable to board members. Weeds at the entrance of your community or dirty carpeting in your high-rise lobby, for instance, would fall under this category.
- Work orders for preventative maintenance. Attending to more urgent issues first doesn’t mean you should ignore scheduled preventative maintenance. Be sure that these tasks stay on your to-do list as well.
According to Robert Meyer, director of engineering services at FirstService Residential, “Look at the number of people affected by the issue and the effect on the property if the work is delayed.” Consider the following questions to determine which improvements to do first:
- Is there a safety or security concern if the work is postponed?
- Will you face higher-cost damage if you don’t do the work now?
- Is your HOA obligated to make the repair according to the law or according to your governing documents?
- How many of your residents does the issue affect?
- Does the reserve study account for this project, or will other funding be needed?
- Do you need to solicit input for the project from residents?
Regular maintenance and inspections are important proactive steps that can prevent surprises. As Meyer points out, “In the long run, it will cost you less if you know about issues and repair them before they become more major.”