Annual maintenance planning for condo corporations
When it comes to maintaining or enhancing property values, it’s critical for condo board members and property management to align on a preventive maintenance plan and execution. Too often, maintenance is deferred or not fully executed. This causes condominium corporations and owners to either spend additional funds or lower the value of their homes.
The benefits of annual maintenance planning
A maintenance plan is a great tool for organizing and discussing a condo corporation’s property repairs and maintenance. How the plan looks depends on the building type and age, as well as the corporation’s finances. Maintenance plans come in a variety of different formats, from brief outlines to comprehensive multi page reports. You can also have seasonal maintenance plans that outline specific tasks that should be performed ahead of the winter season and summer seasons.
Regardless of the situation, an ongoing plan for preventive maintenance can extend the effective life of the property and increase its value by:
Increasing the life of building components
Improving a community’s visual appeal
Increasing residents’ pride of ownership
What goes into a maintenance plan?
There are two main components of a maintenance plan, required maintenance and regular maintenance.
This includes anything your condo corporation must do to be compliant with the Ontario Safety Authority and government authorities, such as your city or fire department.
This is maintenance that is not legally mandated. Most people think of it as preventive maintenance. It also enhances curb appeal.
Examples of required maintenance
Condo corporations are required to annually test their back-flow prevention devices. This helps ensure that they are functioning properly to prevent water from the building flowing back into the city line. Cities in Ontario have become increasingly stringent about enforcing testing requirements.
Fire & life safety/elevators
A condo corporation must perform a variety of testing under different frequencies. Contractors provide a copy of test results that the building may have to provide along with proof that they have fixed any defects to fire inspectors upon request. Recently, inspectors have focused on parking garage fire doors and storage areas because of their susceptibility to fires.
Some buildings have emergency generators that typically can provide emergency power for lighting and one elevator. The last thing community residents want to discover during a power outage is that their generator is not functioning properly. Condo corporations are expected to test and check their generators, which is recorded in a log kept on site.
These safety devices, which are attached to the building exterior, are used by trades such as window washers that require fall protection equipment. Roof anchors need to be certified by a specialized company each year and its best practice to post the certification at the access point of the roof.
This equipment requires a wide range of inspections. A unique requirement is the testing of CO2 sensors, which are located in the parking garage. These turn on the parking garage fans if the CO2 level from car exhaust becomes too high. Condo corporations must also maintain and test the communication links between the fire panel and exhaust fans.
Examples of regular maintenance
Painting & mill work
When it comes to painting, prioritize the building’s front entrance and lobby. These are the areas that have the greatest impact on property values. Rotate the painting of hallways so that, for example, north hallways are done one year, and south hallways are done the next. Although mill work is often forgotten, it’s important to budget for repair of the wood trim in the lobby and common areas.
Power washing & parking garage cleaning
It’s a good idea to pressure wash the front of the building at least once a year. Hot water pressure washing can remove items like gum. Parking garages can be cleaned by pressure washing or power scrubbing. A great option for dusty parking garages is performing a mid-year power sweeping.
An annual walk-through with the condo corporation’s landscaper can help identify issues that may affect the corporation’s maintenance plan. Have your board members considered artificial turf? The main benefits are that it needs less maintenance and is dog friendly.
Remember to consider budgeting for both regular and deep cleaning. Deep cleaning includes items such as scrubbing the garbage room, thorough cleaning of stairwells, and detailed grout cleaning. A way to reduce costs is to encourage residents to sort waste correctly and break down boxes they are discarding so the janitorial staff don’t have to do it for them.
Carpeting & flooring
Regular vacuuming not only helps maintain carpets but may extend their life. On average, a condo corporation may want to have its carpets cleaned once a year by a professional cleaner and spot-checked quarterly. For tiled areas, cleaning out grout regularly and having it sealed at least once a year can reduce cleaning costs.
Dryer vents can be cleaned from the interior and exterior. It’s important for the condo corporation to create a policy on who is to conduct the interior cleaning of the dryer vents. As fire codes become stricter on cleaning frequency, more corporations find it worthwhile to take responsibility for interior cleaning.
Most condo corporations have their windows cleaned a minimum of once a year. Two methods to wash windows are with a tucker pole that extends to about 50 feet and allows cleaning from the ground, or by hand washing using a bosun chair or ladder. Give residents a set time to report deficiencies once work is complete.
The role of the property manager
Every condo corporation is unique. So, it’s important that the board members and owners discuss their vision for what should be included in a potential maintenance plan. From there, your property manager can work with your board to create a plan that reflects your directives and particular maintenance focus.
A professional management company will ensure the following:
Useful life expectancies are identified
How the maintenance systems are currently serviced is reviewed
Reserve funds needed per the reserve study is assessed
Operating budget and service contracts are analyzed
It goes without saying that the maintenance of a condo corporation never stops. But with the help of a professional property management company and a solid maintenance plan, you can keep on top of important tasks and enhance property values.