When condominium projects are completed, they eventually change control from the developer to a Condominium Association or Homeowners Association (HOA). Along with this change of control naturally comes a shifting of the maintenance and operational responsibility from the developer to the HOA. Of course, it is no surprise that newly controlled HOAs have a ton of incentive to blame developers for many construction issues as they attempt to shift their new responsibility and cost for building issues from homeowners back to the developers. Moreover, given the fact that construction issues often come to light around the same time as turnovers occur and often become the catalyst for HOAs filing construction defect lawsuits. For all of these reasons it is crucial for developers to consider and use all of the tools available to them to help minimize these risks and try to set the stage for a smooth transition over to HOAs.

Quality Built offers a full line of Post-Construction Turnover Services to mitigate these risks. Here is a brief discussion of some of those tools.

Documentation at the time of Turnover: Depending on the size of a project, it can be several years old before assuming the responsibility to maintain. This means that a project may already have minor issues that are signs of “normal wear and tear” and cosmetic conditions. It is important that these conditions are documented at the time of the turnover. This provides you with a baseline of data that will help prove later that conditions existed at the time of turnover and to determine whether those conditions have changed over time. This may help establish that ordinary wear and tear and aging are just that and not original defects in construction.

Quality Built’s HOA Turnover Inspections provide comprehensive site observations and transition documentation of common areas and exterior building conditions before projects are turned over to HOAs, which may include:

  • Final roof covering, gutters and downspouts
  • Exterior wall surfaces, entry and garage door surfaces
  • Non-exclusive common use balcony deck coatings and railings
  • Exterior lighting
  • Sidewalks, curbs, parking area, and hardscape
  • Irrigation, drainage, and landscape
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Exterior mechanical equipment
  • Trash enclosures
  • Fire hydrants
  • Mail boxes
  • Signage and monuments
  • Utility shut-off controls
  • Report of observations/conditions including digital photographs

People often buy condominiums to avoid the time and expense of performing homeowner maintenance; maintenance that should be contracted and paid for by the HOA. It is important to communicate clearly what specific components of the structures, equipment, and amenities must be maintained – including specific tasks to complete and either a schedule to perform those tasks, or what to inspect to determine the proper time to complete each task. It is often the lack of maintenance by the HOA that leads to deterioration of a project which can then interpreted by the HOA as a construction defect. A customized and comprehensive HOA manual can support the transfer of these responsibilities to the HOA and as a result may appear as construction defects, when it is actually the lack of maintenance.

During production of the manual, Quality Built will collect digital copies of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) manuals for all manufactured products maintained by the Homeowners Association and will use the information in these O&M manuals to compile and create specific maintenance checklists and guidelines.

These checklists will provide the following:

  • Specific maintenance directives, per component, per required frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc., as applicable)
  • The means by which the HOA can track the on-going maintenance of each component.
  • An outline of the basic Preventive Maintenance (PM) procedures of the Homeowners Association.

The HOA normally has the duty and responsibility to keep common areas in a good state of repair and condition. If a failure to maintain the common elements results in damage to the property, the Board of Directors can be responsible due to their neglect.   Annual inspections are an economical way to document the aging of a project and to put the HOA on notice each year of the effects of deferred or incorrectly performed maintenance.

On an annual basis, Quality Built will perform an inspection to look for signs of structural distress or water intrusion and verify maintenance is being performed according to the industry standards as presented in the HOA Maintenance Manual. Documentation includes a report of observations/conditions including digital photographs.

With some proper assistance from Quality Built, HOAs and developers can avoid many issues before they become a real problem.

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