Construction projects in a homeowner association require extra attention given the immense amount of coordination such a project requires. It is extremely important that you choose a construction management firm that has extensive experience specifically working with homeowner associations. Another important consideration is project staffing – many construction management firms are sole proprietorships and may not be able to adequately manage several projects simultaneously and give your project the attention it requires. Design Build Associates implements a “first chair/second chair” assignment for each of our projects which maintains continuity and stability in project management. Our 35 year history working with homeowner associations means your project will be completed in a timely and cost-effective manner, with minimal difficulty and disruption to homeowners.
Pitfalls of HOAs managing their own construction projects
When HOAs attempt to self-manage construction projects they commonly encounter significant problems. Defining the scope of work without having specific knowledge of ever-changing construction materials and methods can be a costly mistake. It is crucial to the success of the project to create an accurate and comprehensive budget. And coordinating the work of the general and specialty contractors and vendors can be overwhelming.
Some of the tasks that will need to be completed for your construction project:
- Preparation of design, engineering and budget requirements
- Analysis of the feasibility of materials, methods and other construction-related cost factors
- Coordinate of contract documents, drawings, specifications and schedules
- Prequalification and coordination of general and specialty contractors
- Conduct pre-bid conferences for the bidding contractors, answer their requests for clarification
- Preparation of bid documents which maintains consistency in the bid process
- Analysis of bids for correctness and adherence to the specifications
- Review of the construction contract and schedule
- Coordination of the contractors’ activities to meet the association’s needs
- Review of the work in progress to verify compliance with the contract specifications, schedules and invoice requests
- Review of any change orders for accuracy and reasonableness and verify the validity, the cost and the effect on the schedule
- Maintaining complete cost accounting records for all contractors and vendors
- Review of lien releases, ensure that the proper forms are used and are completed correctly
- Providing interpretations and resolutions to issues that arise
- Verifying that contractors and vendors carry the correct insurance to work in common interest developments
- Review and approval of product samples, shop drawings or other submittals
- Conducting final inspection of the project and develop a “punch-list” for completion of incomplete work
- Securing all guarantees, affidavits, releases and manuals for the association’s permanent record
Pitfalls of using a general contractor as construction manager
General contractors may offer themselves up as construction managers, however, that scenario is not in your best interest. The general contractor’s specialty and primary focus is general contracting. They likely do not have the experience and expertise required to manage all aspects and intricacies of your project, which includes interacting with architects, engineers, vendors, property manager and homeowners.
More importantly, engaging a construction management firm to oversee the work of the general contractor ensures that you have an independent advocate on your side for all construction, budget and scheduling issues. This oversight becomes ineffective when the contractor supervises themselves. A quality construction manager will ensure adherence to the plans, specifications and budget so as to complete the project in accordance with the HOA’s cost, time and quality objectives.
How a professional construction management firm better services your HOA
Working in an occupied planned unit development is a specialty that not many construction managers or contractors have. There are many unique circumstances working in a HOA that are not generally encountered during a typical construction project. Numerous precautions must be taken prior to construction, for instance, homeowners must be apprised of the work occurring in their building and especially if access to individual units is required to ensure their safety and the security of their property. We have developed a tried and true procedure for dealing with all these eventualities. We work closely with you and your general contractor to ensure minimal difficulty and disruption to your homeowners.
Planned unit developments require regular communication between all parties. We have established a detailed Communication Flowchart which clearly outlines the project communication pathways. We attend weekly jobsite construction meetings and provide copies of the minutes to the Board. We deal with the numerous communications and day-to-day minutiae between the contractor, consultants, the property manager and homeowners and provide a concise Weekly Update to the Board with highlights of the work accomplished that week.
We save you time
Most homeowners association members don’t have the experience to effectively manage all the tasks required on a daily basis. Properly coordinating the project requires a great deal of time and expertise, involving contracts to be drafted and reviewed, plans and specifications to be prepared and reviewed, weekly construction meetings to attend, various material submittals to be approved, numerous emails and phone calls on a daily basis, etc. Not to mention ensuring that the contractors carry the proper insurance and licensing, that their applications for payment and any change order requests are correct and include the required lien releases, etc. With our 30 years experience in the construction industry, you can rest easy knowing you have our knowledge and experience on your side.
We save you money
By making sure your construction project is properly managed from start to finish we streamline your project and its costs. Properly sequencing and scheduling the work, price-shopping approved materials and leveraging helps to guarantee a cost-effective project. Since we have such extensive knowledge of the types of projects HOAs are undertaking, in many instance we can suggest value engineering of materials or methods which can save the association a considerable amount of money, in many cases more than the total cost of our fees. We are well-versed in the latest products and technology, which translates to cost savings to the association.