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Facts About Aging Multifamily Properties

Building and their internal systems and physical components age, how can the community associations that own them best prepare to meet the unexpected and necessary financial demands. Over the many years, the physical structures and the components within them that community associations rely on for residents' safety as a critical concern for association managers, boards, homeowners, and residents. When the damage becomes so obvious that it cannot be ignored, the tendency is to make superficial or temporary repairs and postpone comprehensive restoration. More than three-quarters (81%) of survey respondents reported encountering unanticipated and unplanned infrastructure issues over a three-year period. Below is a list of aging infrastructure facts that property owners should know.

No Surprises

Water intrusion in windows and siding, deteriorating balconies or fences, or failing pipes or roofing, among a variety of other problems. Most of the participating communities encountered ongoing situations that initially were addressed with minimal work because they did not fully understand how long the problem existed and the extent of deterioration. Major repairs often were initiated when liability, the life, and safety of the residents became concerning. Negligence on the part of the board or property managers to allow ongoing issues, cleanups, and restorations to be done can also lead to additional unknown costs.

Education and Property Knowledge

Infrastructure damage was discovered often during repairs or regular inspections, and water intrusion was the most frequent indicator of serious damage. Property managers tend to schedule major repairs based on the level of emergency or the cost. Issues may affect elevators, termite infestation, and plumbing or electrical systems. We recommend the following:

  • How to evaluate and hire qualified engineers, architects, and contractors?
  • How to implement comprehensive inspection and maintenance programs?

Protecting Aging Infrastructures

Reserve studies are at the core of planning for the long-term maintenance of building structures and the systems within them. Most experts agree that America’s infrastructure needs an upgrade. Some say it needs a complete re-think. More than half of America’s natural gas transmission pipelines were installed before 1970, government data show; the same holds for pipelines that carry hazardous liquids such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Property managers and building owners should do the following:

  • Designate more money to reserves
  • Conducting more frequent studies, hire an engineer, pest control, or other construction specialist to review
  • Create more formal project plans before commencing work
  • Listening to and communicate with homeowners and residents regulary
  • Educate residents on their communities, financial and maintenance needs.