Summer time is the season of vacations, fun and, for many Community Associations, construction. Most Managers are very thorough and knowledgeable, and have assisted Associations with construction projects. Some Board members have worked in the construction industry and have valuable insights. So why is it wise to involve an independent engineer, architect, or construction expert (here called "engineer") in your Association’s repair projects (such as painting, roofing, siding or asphalt projects)? Here are a few reasons for an engineer to be involved on repair or restoration projects in your community:
1. Leveling The Playing Field: Have a qualified engineer prepare thorough, technical and detailed bid specifications. That allows all contractors to bid on equal terms.
2. Expertise: The contractor has knowledge of construction methods and materials. The contractor’s focus is on production, cost control and efficiency. The engineer has knowledge of science and theory. The engineer’s focus is on quality, codes and standards. Working together, better solutions and approaches are often found.
3. Selection of Contractors: Not all contractors have equal knowledge or experience. It is well worth the time for an Association’s Board to familiarize themselves with the contractors that they are interested in working with. The engineer can help to identify contractors that are (or are not) capable of doing a quality job.
4. Building Code Officials Are Not Working For The Association: Don’t rely on the building code enforcers and inspectors in your area to verify that the work is being properly performed. If you want to be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for, Associations must hire their own representative to look out for Owners’ interests.
5. Managing A Construction Contract is Complex: The construction agreement, plans and specifications, and manufacturer’s instructions, require detailed and careful supervision to ensure compliance.
6. Liability: If the Manager or Board members neither have the time nor are qualified to properly manage the contract and inspect the work, they may be liable for any errors or improper payments. Do they have Errors and Omissions Insurance to cover their errors?
7. Conclusion: Many Boards think money is saved by not hiring an engineer. However, it’s an expensive gamble, and could result in a waste of your Owners’ money!