MAINTENANCE

& COMMON AREA COMPONENTS

HELPFUL and IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Maintenance in Common Areas Communities be they residential or commercial, is by far, one of the most important responsibilities of a board. Emergency, preventive, remedial and long term maintenance require different approaches which includes funding for each. Failure to perform regular Preventive Maintenance as well as unscheduled, unexpected maintenance can and will ultimately have an adverse affect on property values. Additionally, when maintenance is deferred, for any reason, the future cost of that maintenance will inevitably increase and the longer maintenance is deferred, the more exponential will be the cost increase. As the expression goes ... "Pay me now or pay me 2x, 3x, 4x etc. the cost later." Prospective buyers will notice this obvious lack of maintenance in the community and move on to the next, better maintained, community. 

Emergency maintenance requires funding in the operating budget as a misc maintenance item. Emergency maintenance can not be planned for, but is inevitable. Money must be in the operating budget. If it is a failure of a reserve item, the reserve fund may be used. All properly planned budgets should have a "misc maintenance" line item. Care should be taken as to funding this item and explaining, as a budget note, what it is intended for. It should not be a "slush fund" to be used for anything someone may wish to spend money on. 

Preventive maintenance requires planning and a desire to maintain the community at appropriate levels to maintain value and appearance. It requires adequate operating budget planning. This will help to ensure that required preventive maintenance can be performed. Some reserve budget items are also preventive in nature. An example would be the application of an asphalt seal coating on the streets as recommended by the asphalt paving experts.

Remedial maintenance requires attention to the current condition of the common elements. Where remedial maintenance is required, the funds must also be available in the operating budget to allow for this action. Remedial maintenance may be something as simple as replacing a failed valve controlling the flow of water from the pool filter to the pool. This is not an emergency. The pool can be closed until the valve is replaced. There may also be a bypass around this valve.

Long Term (Scheduled) Maintenance typically refers to Reserve type maintenance. The Reserve Study will contain a listing of all common area components which are the responsibility of the association to Maintain, Preserve, Protect and Enhance. Nevada Statute makes it clear as to what the Reserve Study must minimally contain. These requirements are basic and are fairly common across the country with professional reserve providers. They are not, however, all inclusive. Depending on the size and complexity of the Common Interest Community there may be scores of other components that should be included in the reserve study.      

This is also an area where Community Managers need to pay attention to and make an important part of their job with the associations they manage. You can only be adequately familiar with your properties IF you spend enough time, regularly, on site. This also helps to create an awareness with the owners that you care about their community. Unfortunately too many managers do not (or cannot) spend enough time on their properties to keep them thoroughly familiar with the properties and their unique assets and maintenance requirements.

Maintenance Schedule and Maintenance Responsibility Chart  With larger communities containing larger numbers and varieties of common elements having these two types of documents can make keeping track of when maintenance is due on which components or sets of component and who (owner or association) may be responsible.

Simple maintenance schedule

Simple responsibility chart

We're not pushing Lowes, but they have some very helpful "How To Videos" and here is the link .... https://www.lowes.com/how-to-library

Playgrounds can be Dangerous!!

The article on the main page raises concern regarding playgrounds and required maintenance. It is crucial that boards and managers pay increased attention to this area. We will be providing as much information as possible on this subject.

Link to Article

National Safety Council on Playground Safety

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Condo Maintenance - Who Has Responsibility for What?

(Neighborhood Link National Network & other useful links)

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TYPICAL MAINTENANCE and RESERVE COMPONENTS found in Common Interest Communities. (not all inclusive)

Access - Gate Entry Phones - Allows visitors to contact owners for permission to enter.

Little maintenance requirements but life expectancy 10-15 years depending on community size and gate use. 

Access - Gate Operators - Motor assemblies functioning to open and close vehicle gates.

We recommend that gates and operators be inspected and serviced monthly on a regular maintenance contract. Life expectancy of operators, depending on use and abuse, 10-15 years.

Access - Vehicle Gate Loops - These sensor loops are installed on both sides of the entry and

exit gates to either open or prevent closure of gates when a vehicle is present. 

Back Flow Devices - Allow water flow through pipe in one direction only.

Annual inspection and maintenance as needed, freeze protection.

         Southern Nevada Health District - Types of backflow devices

                                                                Backflow Protection Program

                                                                Cross Connection Terms and Definitions

         North Las Vegas - Backflow Prevention Program - Backflow and Cross-Connections

                                       Ordinance 1125

Building Exteriors (clubhouse, fitness center, guard station, etc) - Includes stucco, wood siding,

paneling, masonry, brick, wood trim, etc. Whether the building exteriors are maintained by the association or the owners regular painting and other maintenance should be performed per the schedule in the reserve study to insure the protection of the building surface as well as maintaining the aesthetics of the community.

Building Interiors - Can include painting, floor coverings, wall coverings, built in and movable

furnishings and any other components within the walls of the common facility.

Concrete Block Walls - Maintenance, water damage, retaining wall drain holes.

Nevada statute requires the association maintain perimeter walls if the association documents do not state otherwise. Owners should also be responsible for damage to perimeter block walls from landscape irrigation on their lot.

Bore holes should be drilled in block retaining walls to allow water to drain from the lot.

Ongoing water damage causing continual efflorescence will eventually cause those areas of the wall to fail. Simply painting over the exterior of wall to cover the damage will serve no purpose as the damage will still be ongoing from the owners lot.

Informational Resources: Water-Damaged Concrete Block Walls

Concrete - Walks, paths, tree roots, liabilities

Concrete walkways have always been a source of liability due to nearby tree roots, irrigation sources, etc. Tree roots lift walkway slabs, excess standing water on and around the slabs can cause sub-surface soils to compact and as a result, slabs settle. All of this can and will cause a tripping hazard. These can be mitigated either by replacement or by a company that can do concrete grinding.

Desert (drought tolerant) Landscape - Usually describes landscape designs that do not

incorporated grass and utilize more efficient irrigation systems. Drought tolerant L/S systems should not necessarily be looked upon as low maintenance.  These designs can often more more labor intensive and costly to maintain.

Drainage Systems - Annual maintenance, clearing

Many properties, due to its location, have drainage swales and/or channels on the property which must be kept clear of debris. At least annually a major inspection and clearing should be performed. Best doing this before and after any predicted heavy rains.

Fencing - Metal fencing (rust prevention and mitigation) ...

wrought iron, vinyl fencing, wood fencing, tennis court fencing ... All types of fencing can be included in the reserve study.

Fire Hydrants - Annual inspections ...

Hydrants require annual inspections which includes and functional test. Only qualified licensed contractors may perform these inspections.

​Fitness Centers - Equipment maintenance and inspections ...

All fitness equipment should be under contract with a licensed supplier of fitness equipment and receive regular monthly inspections and any maintenance needed of the equipment.

Floor Coverings - Interior floor coverings can include carpet, wood, ceramic tile, sheet vinyl, 

Gate Systems

Routine maintenance and safety inspections should be conducted monthly on all gate systems. It is best to have a contract with a qualified gate company to perform these inspections.

Grounds - Slope & Drainage Maintenance - Many developments have open space within the

property which may run through the property from one extent to another. Often times these are actually flood channels that have been converted in to open space with trails, paths small play areas, etc. All of these single or multi-use drainage/flood channels should be inspected and cleaned of debris regularly.

Slopes, depending on size and location, can be potential areas for failure and should be inspected at least annually for any signs of weakness or failure. 

HVAC Equipment - Common area heating and air conditioning equipment should be under contract

for maintenance and maintained as needed. 

In-ground - Above Ground Utilities - : It is important to note that the association may be

responsible for some or all above ground utility boxes, junctions, wiring, etc., where these do not belong to a public utility. In addition, the association also may be responsible for certain in-ground electrical, water, sewers and storm drains within the gated areas to the point of connection with the public utility where ever that connection may be made.

Kitchen Appliances - Can include commercial as well as residential grades of stoves, ovens,

refrigerators, microwaves and any other equipment found in the common area kitchen. 

Landscape Soft-scape - 

This component typically applies to shrubs, trees, turf and other similar plant or tree items. Landscaping can be included in the reserve budget.

Landscape Irrigation - 

Typically irrigation components such as stand-alone clocks, central irrigation controllers and computer systems, in-ground pipes and wiring can be included in the reserve study.

Lighting Systems -

Lighting system can include street lights, landscape lighting, lighting mounted on common area buildings, interior lighting in common area buildings.

Painting -

Regular painting of buildings, fencing, walls and other amenities should occur as recommended by the reserve study.

Parks -  Community parks can be a small grass area in the community entry. It can also be winding

paths throughout the development with connected parks distributed throughout the community. Those parks may contain children's play structures and other play equipment. They may also contain tennis courts, basketball courts, dog parks, park furniture, BBQs, lighting, drinking fountains, etc.

Pavement Systems - Asphalt ... Requires regular ongoing maintenance. This type of pavement will

deteriorate rapidly if not maintained regularly as recommended. Ongoing maintenance requires short term (usually every 3-6 years depending on environment, type of application and other factors) slurry seal and repairs and long term overlay or replacement. The overall long-term cost of maintaining asphalt will rapidly increase if proper and timely maintenance is not performed. 

Time-lapse video of repaving of a portion of a large parking lot. ... very interesting.  Watch now

Various videos on You-tube showing different asphalt paving operations ... Watch Now

Additional Paving Videos - Watch SPS | Milling & Paving Process ... Watch Now

Playground Systems - Regular monthly inspections ...

It is critical that the association have any and all play structures/equipment inspected monthly and all required repairs and maintenance be performed as needed. There are specific national and local code requirements for children's play areas.i

Plumbing Fixtures and Equipment - Sinks, toilets, hot water heaters, water coolers, etc.

Pools & Spas - Pools and spas are generally constructed of a concrete basin with either a colored

plaster surface finish or a tiled surface. Plaster surfaces require re-plastering between 10-14 years. The interval between re-plastering depends solely on the quality of the surface installation and the level and quality of water quality monitoring and maintenance. If the chemical balance is not properly maintained in the pool and spa, the surface will deteriorate more rapidly. 

Pools & Spas & Equipment - Maintenance and regular inspections ...

All pools and spas have licensed pool companies performing regular maintenance and inspections of association pools and spas and associated equipment. Maintaining water quality and balance is critical for maintaining the longevity of the equipment and pool and spa linings.

Pool Decks - Types, maintenance and inspections, replacements.

Various types of surfaces such as concrete pavers, concrete tiles, slate, bare concrete, coated concrete and Kool-Decking. Kool-Deck coating is by far the most common. It has a relatively long life expectancy (about 10 years) depending on use and abuse. It is a thick non-slip coating which can be repaired and painted over if needed.

Roofing - Common types, maintenance. All roof types should have an annual inspection with any

observed issues being addressed promptly.

- Concrete tiles

- Asphalt shingles

- Flat built up

- Foam

- Metal

- Metal tiles

- Wood shake (illegal in most areas)

- misc 

Signage - Typically includes community entry sign monumentation, street signs, informational signs,

common building signage, condo building signage and numbering, emergency signage, etc. 

Types of informational signage can vary from stamped metal street signs to laser cut monuments at community entrances. Although many don't realize the importance of maintaining signage in the community, the lack of maintenance of this component can have a very negative effect on the appearance of the community. Little things like this can negatively affect property values. 

Tennis Courts - A welcome asset or cursed thing to maintain since no one uses them ...

Most tennis courts are constructed of asphalt with a coating similar to a slurry seal applied to asphalt pavement. It is a finer surface and the coating is designed for tennis courts, but life expectancies are very similar. The integrity of tennis court surfaces depends heavily on initial construction and ongoing maintenance. Some minor cracking is common, but if installed on a poorly prepared base, cracking can become severe resulting in replacement of the court with a new surface and the base properly prepared this time.

If courts are not used, the association must still maintain the courts unless the owners vote to remove or not maintain them. The CC&Rs will indicate what the voting requirement is. Often it includes the lenders if the vote is to remove an asset.

Walls - This can include, concrete block walls, split face block, retaining walls of various methods of

construction. Depending on the size, slope and scope of retaining walls, they should be inspected regularly, especially following heavy rains.

A potentially serious problem which occurs on many perimeter block walls surrounding HOAs and owner back yards is called efflorescence. In most cases, where it is present on HOA block walls, it is caused by water penetrating the wall on the inside (owner side) of the wall. Many times it is because the owner built up ground and landscaping against the wall, which is not designed as a retaining wall.  Ground moisture, usually due to irrigation, is the cause. 

Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick, concrete, stone, stucco or other building surfaces. It has a white or grayish tint and consists of salt deposits left behind when water evaporates. In addition, efflorescence can appear as a powdery substance on floors and walls and requires special care to treat.

* * * * * * * * * 

This list, of course, is not all inclusive. There are many more types of common elements depending on the location, size and purpose of the Association. Some of the more uncommon common elements can include lakes, dams, bridges, boats, water falls, restaurants, fitness centers, theaters, airfields, theaters, etc. We will continue to improve this section as we are able to. 

 
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