A seasonal walk-a-round through your community is the best way to proactively observe and identify any potential community maintenance issues. While some walks, depending on the size of the community, can be time consuming, eye-level walks offer the best vantage point to really see the details that can be missed during a drive through the neighborhood.
A systematic route using a site map with unit identification as a guide, a list of assets, points of attention and a clipboard should get you off to a good start. Be sure to include maintenance concerns and/or requests received from the membership. Some of the areas to be considered are the entrance(s), streets and parking areas, asphalt, general and limited common areas, buildings and exterior attributes, landscape and sidewalks. Other amenities such as sport courts, playground structures, swimming pools and gate enclosures, water features, boat facilities and nature trails should be included. Owner maintenance and violations should be noted as well.
Minor maintenance issues that do not require tools, such as loose fence rails, post adjustments, etc., can be corrected during the walk if a maintenance worker or contractor accompanies the inspector. Discoveries of a more serious nature have to be noted for corrective action. A summary of the walk should be prepared for the board to review and, based on the nature of the concerns and budget constraints, a list of corrections by priority should be developed.
Some of the maintenance items will require the services of an independent contractor. It is important that communities have a list of preferred contractors that have proven their ability to provide a quality product with competitive pricing and service. Bid specifications should be distributed to approved contractors and, once they are returned from the contractors, a comparative summary report should be provided to the board for their selection process. It is always a good idea to have a third party engineer develop project specifications, in advance of the bid process, for any major projects like road reconstruction, roof renovations, or siding replacement and painting.
Charles Bricker, Jr.
CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®
Kramer-Triad Management Group, LLC
Ann Arbor, MI