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Capital Improvements : How Choosing the Right Contractor Can Help with Market Driven Deferred Maintenance Costs

08/01/2022 11:32 AM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

By Jake Brooks, AGS Construction Inc.

Everyone wants their community to be the absolute best it can be especially when it comes to safety, security, and appearance. Some boards will do everything possible to keep their reserves robust, dues stable and special assessments from occurring. In this environment many managers find themselves being asked to delay scheduled maintenance and capital improvement projects even when it comes to life safety issues. Kicking this proverbial can down the road proves to be exponentially more costly in the future in more cases than not.


As professional managers part of your responsibility is to educate board members, provide them with expert opinions on defects, options for repair and judiciously execute actions on your community’s behalf. It is the job of a good restoration contractor to not only provide an estimate on cost of repair but to also act as a consultant and find solutions that strike a balance between maintaining a budget and addressing life safety issues and improperly constructed assemblies that may be present and need of repair in a community.


In the past few years, we have all dealt with personal increases in cost of living, food, fuel and more. The same can be said for our industry. Much of the increase in construction cost is driven by a combination of the availability of skilled labor and the materials needed to make the necessary repairs. In the past year major suppliers of coatings have had to increase prices five times, siding has increased nine times, and roofing materials have increased by more than  thirty percent! Every building component has experienced the same increase and to add to that have become harder to obtain in some cases. Unfortunately, today this trend is the “rule” rather than the “exception” and right now the forecast is that this trend will continue going forward.


To control job related costs, part of planning for any capital improvement project should include partnering with a reputable contractor that is aware of the above-mentioned supply chain issues, has access to available skilled labor, can meet the desired start/end dates, and has the experience to provide viable solutions for any type of project. The reality of what is requested and what can be provided are, in some cases, not the same. A knowledgeable contractor should be able to provide the insight it takes to produce viable solutions to overcome all these obstacles all while acting as a trusted consultant.


For most contractors there can be a lengthy delay in scheduling quality crews between the authorization of work to the actual mobilization of resources. Additionally, depending on materials selected, this length of time could be even longer. Most companies will not commit resources to a project with out a fair degree of certainty that materials will be available for work to begin. Depending on the type of restoration and time of year this could potentially extend project start dates by months due to weather patterns and conditions needed for application of certain products such as stucco, roofing, sealants, and coatings. 


The good news is by choosing a contractor that also acts as your project consultant there is a solution when moving forward with capital improvement and restoration projects. These contractors typically have in-house tradespeople, solid working relationships with design professionals, long term relationships with material suppliers, storage yards and warehousing capabilities. Having in-house tradespeople allows for better control of not only quality but also scheduling of resources to any given project. Having good relationships with design professionals allows for timely resolutions to the “known unknowns” we all encounter due to poor existing conditions. Long term relationships with material suppliers results in preferential treatment during product procurement. Having the ability to store and warehouse materials helps mitigate potential price increases and price fluctuation by being able to buy in bulk.  This also ensures there will be no lag in production due to delivery delays. Combine all these qualities and you have a contractor that can preform the repairs necessary to any community with little to no setbacks from the supply chain.


So, avoid kicking that can down the road any longer by partnering with a contractor that can educate your boards on expected price increases for the foreseeable future and help them maintain their reserves, preserve the stability of their dues, and keep special assessments to a minimum.


Jake Brooks is the Business Development Manager at AGS Construction, Inc (2022 CAI-RMC Titanium Sponsor). Jake has over 21 years of construction experience focusing on large scale HOA complexes and commercial and residential projects. Jake is experienced in building envelope, structural, civil and concrete repairs. He has an extensive knowledge of and experience with building materials. Jake is known for the creative solutions he offers for complex solutions. Jake can be reached at jbrooks@agsconstructioninc.com.

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