Structural integrity in high-rise communities has been at the forefront of discussion for CAI after the tragic partial collapse of Champlain Tower South condominium in Surfside, Fla., in late June. A newly released report details public policy recommendations that can provide solutions for legislators addressing high-rise building safety in their districts.
The public policy recommendations cover the areas of reserve studies and funding, building maintenance, and structural integrity. More than 600 people participated in CAI’s three-month process to identify recommendations, including community association leaders, experts in numerous disciplines and technical areas, and key stakeholders from different organizations.
CAI believes these recommendations should be considered for adoption into state law to support the existing statutory framework for the development, governance, and management of community associations.
Reserve Studies and Reserve Funding
According to the Foundation for Community Association Research’s Breaking Point report, 80% of community association managers, board members, and service providers surveyed felt it was critical that their association have adequate reserves in the event of a major infrastructure failure or construction need.
Reserve studies are a planning tool to assist with budgeting for replacement or substantial repairs based on a component’s remaining useful life. CAI recommends statutorily mandating reserve studies and funding for all community associations. The full report provides details to help communities prepare for and a timeframe to practically transition to these new requirements to avoid financial strain on homeowners and the association.
The Foundation’s Best Practices Report: Reserve Studies and Reserve Management provides excellent procedures pertaining to reserve planning and funding for homeowner leaders and community managers to put into practice immediately.
Building Maintenance and Structural Integrity
Nearly half (40%) of those surveyed in the Foundation’s Breaking Point report considered deteriorating infrastructure as a top-ranked concern, while 70% indicated that maintaining property values was of primary importance.
CAI recommends additional requirements by developers during the development process and prior to transition to the homeowners. CAI worked closely with developers on these recommendations. Structural integrity is addressed through statutorily mandated building inspections starting when the building is 10 years old, another inspection at 20 years, and every five years thereafter. Inspections are based on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) published protocol for building inspections (ANSI).
Local building inspectors play a key role in the execution of structural integrity public policy. Those with the authority to provide a certificate of occupancy and otherwise condemn a building have the authority and obligation to inspect a building’s structural integrity.
These policy recommendations provide support to community association boards and urge them to follow the advice of professionals and strong best practices, especially in circumstances that are related to life, health, and safety.
CAI continues to develop additional guidance and best practices for boards, their managers, building inspectors, developers, accountants, reserve analysts, and other stakeholders. Model statutory language supported by the policy recommendations outlined in the report will be released later this month.
>> Download the full Condominium Safety Public Policy Report.
>> Find more resources to protect your community at www.caionline.org/CondoSafety.