As a board member and homeowner, one of your responsibilities is to help with maintaining the common elements of the association. Don’t worry, we aren’t here to convince you to put on a pair of work pants or pick up ‘Plumbing for Dummies’ in hardcover, there are ways to make sure your community is prepared for anything without having to get your hands dirty.
More often than not we hear about maintenance emergencies when they are life threatening like a fire, but the truth is that floods, water leaks, and small fires can be just as costly as an emergency that takes the front page of the daily paper.
Scheduling maintenance and regularly documenting current conditions can add to a smoother future with less money being spent on large projects. Preventative Maintenance is an important step that consists of many smaller steps. For example an effective Preventative Maintenance programs can extend the life of a roof by years and ensures that as the roof reaches the time in which it needs to be replaced it is scheduled and known as opposed to an emergency situation that was not budgeted for.
Make use of your maintenance crew by having them focus around 80 percent of their time on preventative efforts and 20 percent of their time on current and scheduled repairs.
Here is a checklist of the Common Elements and when they should be serviced
1. Ejector Pumps: These pumps should be checked at minimum annually however quarterly documentation is recommended. In the event of an Ejector Pump failure it is important to have a backup power system to ensure that the sump pump continues to operate in the event of a power outage.
2. Outdoor Grills: Sending information to tenants about safe grilling practices will help to extend the life of the grills as well as prevent personal injuries and damages.
3. Water Pipes: When pipes are not properly insulated they have a high risk of freezing and bursting when the temperature drops. Have the pipes checked annually, including garages, vacant units and community rooms.
4. Dryer Vents: Fires often start from improperly cleaned lint traps, vents and the immediate areas surrounding the dryers. It is important to allocate time to ensure that these areas are cleaned regularly depending on use. Making sure fire extinguishers are located in area can help stop the flames from spreading should a dryer vent buildup cause a fire.
5. Washing Machines: Often one of the most used facilities in a condo these machines can easily cause a water leak or flood. Regularly checking the drain hoses and plumbing connections to the in-unit washing machines can prevent leaks from happening and stop floods before they start.
6. Aging Electrical Wires and Systems: Most fires that are started in home are because of old or faulty electrical wiring. Replace outdated electrical wiring systems and schedule regular upgrades on new wiring.
7. Water Heaters: No, they don’t last forever. The average water tank will last about 10 years so be sure to keep a record of any work the tank has sustained and be aware of when it will need to be replaced.
8. Sewers and Drain Pipes: Preventative plumbing is often overlooked but undoubtedly important to avoid a massive bill in an backup or clog. Major drain lines, sewers and catch basins should be cleaned and serviced annually.
These bills, although more frequent, will be much cheaper than a reactive bill after a disaster or emergency situation. Preventative Maintenance is an effective way to maintain and protect condo communities as well as educate and protect condo residents. Your association will be more prepared and better equipped for an emergency as well as the replacing of any common elements.
Did we miss anything? What Common Elements are on your list? Let us know in the comments section below.