This Association had an ongoing problem with leaks through the walls and roofs. The leaks were reportedly being addressed, on an as needed basis, either by Handymen or by maintenance crews. These repairs added up to over $200,000 in expenses over a period of five years. The reserves had been severely drained and there was no reliable way to budget for future repairs or preventive maintenance. As the Association had no knowledge of the causes of the leaks or the weaknesses in the assemblies, it believed it was doing its best in maintaining its complex of old buildings at the least possible cost.
Oblivious to the damage caused by improperly installed retrofitted windows, the Association had also been allowing homeowners to have windows replaced without any construction details or independent oversight. By avoiding the collective expense of window replacements, and lacking any advice from building industry experts, moisture damage in the walls, due to improper installations, continued to go unnoticed.
IMPROCON first performed a free assessment of the entire property, to advise the Board members of the apparent weaknesses in their buildings. We then recommended priorities and processes for permanently resolving their building issues. The Board then informed us that one particular window, despite repeated repairs, including replacement of a large section of siding, had continued to leak for years. We also learned that one substantial portion of roofing had been patched and another section was due to be repaired in similar fashion. After IMPROCON’s assessment, it was confirmed that their past and planned repairs had failed to address the primary sources of the leaks or the full extent of damage and decay.
IMPROCON recommended an immediate, small fix in the wall at roof level. When a reputed contractor performed this at a minimal expense, the Association was convinced that it should consider alternate, proven approaches to managing their capital repairs.
After interviewing several consulting firms, the Association engaged us and allowed us to perform intrusive studies to report on the conditions behind the siding. The discoveries of concealed conditions were compelling enough to let the Association agree to let us obtain bids for global repairs. We used every available resource to minimize the overall cost of the repair project. Savings were realized as follows:
- Due to the old age of the buildings and lack of drawings available, it was critical to have as-built drawings prepared. From previous experience we knew that preparation of as-built drawings for five, large and separate buildings could cost in excess of $50,000. By negotiating and working collaboratively with a small design firm, we had these done for under $8,000, effectively saving the association at least $42,000.
- We then developed a preliminary repair scope and provided a preliminary repair cost estimate.
After preliminary approval from the Association to get firm pricing, we assembled a design and construction team. More savings were realized here relative to industry norms:
- Architectural fees saved through a rigorous process of RFPs and negotiations with four architectural firms: $80,000
- Using our experience and expertise, we avoided the typical and substantial problems with quality control and the financial sustainability of construction firms. We achieved the necessary balance by obtaining line item pricing through a reputed general contractor who was willing to reveal all costs prior to markup and allowed us to have a say in which vetted
subs could be used. To control costs in the field, it was also essential to minimize the project schedule. This was assured by in-depth analysis and monitoring of every aspect of the project.
IMPROCON projected the overall project budget at around $2.5 million. Despite the challenges of raising this much money after several previous assessments for spot repairs in the complex, we successfully enabled the Association to fund the project. To achieve this we made presentations, on three different occasions, with relevant technical and financial data to convince the Homeowners and the lender of the need, feasibility and value of these major repairs and improvements.
The construction contract was awarded on a negotiated basis after much thought was put into managing the repairs of unknown variables. As the work proceeded, many change orders arose out of necessary structural repairs in the roofing and wall sheathing. Due to close monitoring of change orders and detailed analysis of claims, we saved the Association around $140,000.
The net result was about a 10% savings in hard costs. The Association also gained peace of mind from knowing that the problems were finally solved. As an added bonus, the values of the units increased by 20% immediately following the repairs, which more than compensated for the repair cost.