Community associations should incorporate preventive maintenance and structural inspections into their reserve studies—the important budget planning tools that identify the components a community association is responsible for maintaining or replacing, indicate the status of the reserve fund, and provide a stable and equitable funding plan to offset anticipated future major common area expenditures. The recommendations are part of new Reserve Study Standards released by CAI.

Following the tragic partial collapse of Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., two years ago, CAI convened working groups to discuss public policy solutions to promote safer and more financially sound buildings. The working groups developed CAI’s Condominium Safety Public Policy Report, recommending reserve studies and reserve funding for all community associations as well as structural inspections and maintenance. CAI subsequently convened a task force to review and update the Reserve Study Standards to incorporate maintenance and structural integrity into the reserve study process.

“One of the primary responsibilities of a community association board is to protect, maintain, and enhance the assets of the association,” says Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, CAI’s chief executive officer. “CAI believes that a proactive preventive maintenance plan and ongoing periodic structural inspections should be incorporated into the community’s long-term planning. This will allow communities to properly evaluate and budget for the ongoing care of the common area components as well as the structural safety of the community.”

CAI urges community associations to regularly update their reserve studies to reflect ongoing changes to components and financial needs. These multiyear plans help communities anticipate and responsibly prepare for ongoing preventive maintenance, periodic structural inspections, as well as for the timely repair and replacement of common area components such as roofs, roads, mechanical equipment, and other portions of the community’s common elements.

Originally published in 1998, CAI’s Reserve Study Standards provide a consistent set of terminology, calculations, and expectations so reserve study providers and those they serve together can build a safe and successful future for millions of community association homeowners.

The Reserve Study Standards provide guidance and methodology in the preparation of reserve studies for all varieties of community association ownership types and physical configurations. These standards establish the procedures from conceptual development through report preparation. Consistent application of these standards will minimize differences in component selection and funding recommendations by different reserve study providers. As a result, association leaders will receive consistent, credible, and defensible reserve studies.

>>Access the new Reserve Study Standards at

2023 Reserve Study Standards

New reserve study standards urge communities to incorporate preventive maintenance and structural inspections into budget planning tools.

  • Daniel Brannigan

    Daniel Brannigan is CAI's Director of Publishing and Managing Editor of Common Ground™ magazine. He has been editor of CAI's flagship publication since 2010 and previously edited CAI's newsletters Community Manager, Minutes, and Law Reporter. Daniel has helped guide Common Ground to awards for feature article design and single-topic issue from Association Media & Publishing's EXCEL Awards. Community Manager picked up six awards for general excellence and newswriting under Daniel's guidance from 2007-2010. A former reporter, Daniel is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, daughter, pug, and cat.

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