Condo Media - June 2020 - 47

MORE COOKING
AND FLUSHING
But sheltering in place has also
increased the strain on building
systems. "More people are cooking,
putting items in the disposal, and
flushing them down the toilets,"
McNabb notes, and they aren't always
careful about what they are sending
down the drains. "One back-up the
other day probably wouldn't have
happened" in normal times, he says.
McNabb similarly attributes a surge
in package deliveries to people with
time on their hands doing a lot of
shopping online. The Brook House
staff is dealing with the increase (and
the need to reduce contagion risks) by
stacking packages on a cart in a secure
spot at the rear of the building. Staff
members notify owners when they
have a package and meet them at the
cart, where they can retrieve items
addressed to them.
The pandemic has required other
changes in protocols for the association's staff. "We're maintaining services," McNabb says, "but we are also
maintaining social distancing." Among
other things, that means maintenance
workers aren't handling any nonemergency work inside owners' units.
"If it's an extreme emergency" - defined
as something that affects the health and
safety of other residents - "we'll deal
with it," McNabb noted in an earlier

Condo Media article "A backed up toilet
that has water flowing from the 15th
floor down" would qualify, he explained,
but a broken light switch would not.
While McNabb hasn't closed the
on-site management office, he has
posted notes encouraging owners to
communicate with him or other staff
members via phone or email rather
than in person.
Communication, a priority in normal
times, is getting more attention. "Even
when we have nothing to report to owners, we send them messages anyway,"
McNabb says, "to let them know what
we're doing, ask how we can help them,
and tell them how they can help the
community," for example, by being
careful about what they are putting in
their drains. He also tries to manage
owners' expectations, by alerting them
to changes that may be required - cuts
in staffing, for example (not needed yet)
that could reduce services in the future,
or additional funding that may be
required to cover overtime or increased
cleaning costs.
Communication with the board is
equally important, McNabb says. "I'm
keeping them constantly updated
via email so they will be able to react
quickly if we need a decision."

for staff members, maintaining social
distance between them as much as possible (for example, by prohibiting them
taking breaks together) and barring
non-emergency work in owners' units.
"We're also restricting access to the
management office," she notes. "We're
handling all communications [with
owners] electronically."
The two communities have
"beefed up their common area
cleaning a little," but haven't made
significant changes. "The boards
aren't freaking out about this," she
says. They're just doing what is
necessary to keep their communities
operating. The communities are
generally "folding back in," she says,
"and that is probably the best thing for
now." They aren't planning any future
social activities and are delaying or
canceling non-essential maintenance
and renovation plans. "One property
was planning to bid its landscaping
contract," she notes, "but the board
decided to stick with its existing
company instead."
Major renovations under way in one
community were halted when Boston
Mayor Marty Walsh shut down all
construction work in the city. That
was a relief, Brawley says, because

"We are a community. We need to embrace
that and concentrate on helping each other."
FOCUS ON COMMUNITY
In his messages to owners and board
members. McNabb is emphasizing the
idea of community. "We are a community. We need to embrace that and
concentrate on helping each other."
Some owners are taking that message
to heart. When he asked for volunteers
who would be willing to help residents
who become ill, McNabb says, "10 or 11
residents stepped up immediately."
Brawley's experience at the two
communities she is managing has
been similar to McNabb's, although
not identical. Like McNabb, she has
implemented protective protocols

the board didn't have to figure out how
to mitigate the virus transmission risks
created by "workers from different
parts of the state and from out of state
going in and out of the buildings."
Brawley is delaying enforcement
of a noise regulation one board
adopted, requiring carpeting and a
specific type of padding in all the units.
"The regulation has been filed and
recorded," she said, but with residents
dealing with all the stress created by
the virus and stay-at-home orders,
"I can't tell them to go out now, get a
new carpet and stop making so much
noise. I just can't do that!"
June 2020 CONDOMEDIA

47



Condo Media - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - June 2020

Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover1
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover2
Condo Media - June 2020 - Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - 2
Condo Media - June 2020 - 3
Condo Media - June 2020 - 4
Condo Media - June 2020 - 5
Condo Media - June 2020 - 6
Condo Media - June 2020 - 7
Condo Media - June 2020 - 8
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Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover3
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover4
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