Every community management company have their idea of what a big job is. If capital monies are being expended, that’s one definition. Another is a job that does not get done more often than every five years. Another is just a dollar amount. Either way, a Homeowner’s Association Board would be unwise not to call in an expert at some juncture.
It would be effective, but costly to use an architect to design, bid out, and supervise the work. Hiring a consultant to draw up bids specifications, review the proposals, and perhaps a final walkthrough may be cheaper.
What would be community management solution?
Using a trusted vendor’s specifications to seek alternative bids is unfair, but very much the industry’s practice. We used to have an architect on staff but did not have enough significant work to keep him busy. The single most important arena is the bid specifications.
Proper specifications save a bundle in change orders. If they are prepared professionally with all the workmanship and cleanup, warranty and payment options included, it leaves less miscommunication. For instance, many a proposal asks for more than 10% of the initial contract price upfront. It is illegal, but many associations are paying in advance of work done.
We came across a roofing contract where there were three buildings. All the material was neatly stacked on one roof, and no work was done before a bill was presented for preparation. At the time, we were not the Community Management Company but were on-site to propose management when we pointed out that the materials were visible from the street. The bill was promptly denied, and we became the Property Management for that community.
The filing of liens is something to be careful about also. When it comes to painting projects, hiring a paint manufacturer to draw up the specifications can be invaluable. The company will examine the work in progress to validate the manufacturer’s warranty.
Checking the work in progress is essential, especially if the contract seeks partial payment at the end of certain contract stages. It has been my experience that a general contractor, site coordinator, or licensed professional not involved in the project but hired to supervise it to whatever degree the associations choose is worth their gold coin weight.