How Condos Can Address Aging Infrastructure

By Pamela Babcock
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Over many conversations in recent years, members of the Foundation for Community Association Research have identified aging infrastructures—the physical structures and the components within them that community associations rely on for residents’ safety and well-being—as a critical concern for association managers, boards, homeowners, and residents.

Too often, according to Foundation members—and despite occasional inspections and regularly scheduled reserve studies—associations fail to recognize serious structural and system failures. When damage becomes so obvious that it cannot be ignored, the tendency is to make superficial or temporary repairs and postpone comprehensive, in-depth restoration.

To address this growing problem, the Foundation convened a task force comprising attorneys, reserve specialists, engineers, insurance providers, managers, and bankers, to determine what issues are the most prevalent in failing physical components, and—especially—how associations can prepare themselves to address and resolve these issues when they inevitably arise.

CAI managers, board members, and contractors in community associations across the U.S. responded in a survey to share their recent major capital projects with the task force. More than three-quarters (81%) of survey respondents reported encountering unanticipated and unplanned-for infrastructure issues over a recent three-year period.

The aggregated information and observations of these respondents revealed empirical data that can enlighten thoughtful association boards and committees, community managers, business partners and contractors, homeowners—anyone who is responsible for the investment of community assets.

»Download Breaking Point: Examining Aging Infrastructure in Community Associations. explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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Pamela Babcock

Pamela Babcock is a writer and editor in the New York City area.