ABO Developments - Fall 2013 - (Page 16)
Building Renovation Issues:
to Avoid Problems
BY: C . J AY E BE RGE R , E S Q.
Attorney C. Jaye Berger is a frequent guest
lecturer at ABO’s Registered in Apartment
Management classes, explaining construction
law and issues to managers.
y last article focused
on renovations by
the residents of
co-ops and condominiums. This article will discuss building renovations and some of the issues to
look out for.
Co-op and condominium buildings are
always either gearing up for renovations
or finishing up a project. It is a constant
cycle. It is common for boards to come up
with wish lists of everything that needs to
be done in the building, then engage in
long-range planning to determine how
and when it can all be accomplished.
Sometimes refinancing the building’s
mortgage is needed in order to raise the
funds needed for the work. Other times,
an assessment may be required to raise the
funds, especially if it is a large project, such
as window replacements or facade work.
Once the budget has been established,
the next order of business is to engage the
right professionals to design and plan the
work that needs to be done. Depending
on the type of work that is needed, that
may be an architect or an engineer. For
redecorating the lobby and the hallways,
it may be an interior designer.
I am usually contacted by buildings
when those individuals are ready to enter
into contracts with the building. There are
many topics that will need to be addressed
in these contracts, but one of the most
important is how much time the individual will be spending on observing the
work being performed. Most buildings
and their managing agents understand
the importance of this service, but others
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try to avoid paying for that time and suffer
as a consequence.
One co-op building was complaining
to me about all the problems they were
having with coordinating a pointing project in a multi-building co-op complex.
When I asked what the engineer thought
about it, the managing agent told me they
were not really using him for that and
the managing agent was trying to handle
that. I told them that was a problem and
not be “penny wise and pound foolish.” I
made them calculate the number of hours
needed to observe the work each week
and had them multiply that by the engineer’s hourly rate to show them we were
not really talking about an enormous
sum of money, especially considering the
problems that might arise without that
assistance. They followed my advice and
the project went smoothly.
It is important to have the design professional review each application for payment and whether the percentage of work
claimed in it has actually been achieved,
in order to avoid overpaying the contractor. Obtaining a waiver of lien with each
payment made is also important to lessen
the likelihood of mechanic’s liens.
Design professionals can also be
very helpful in lining up a contractor to
perform the work. Since some of them
have worked on many similar projects
and they know the contractors who have
also worked on these projects. Managing
agents have also had this kind of experience with contractors. There should always
be a list of at least three to five contractors
to interview and give bids.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABO Developments - Fall 2013
A Message from ABO Executive Director Dan Margulies
Summer Cocktail Party
Building Renovation Issues
Index of Advertisers
ABO Developments - Fall 2013