A board was contemplating changing to an oil-to-gas dual-fuel conversion system and was apparently solely relying upon the suggestions of a contractor. We had certain concerns about proceeding without having an engineer review the proposed scope of work or provide specifications. We had a formal project agreement in lieu of a signed proposal, and we did not have a designated warranty. The project also lacked requirements for the oversight of the project and monitoring of critical stages, as well as payment approvals. The property manager did not have the requisite experience to supervise.
We were finally able to convince the board to utilize an experienced engineer to review the scope of work, and recommend changes regarding the monitoring of the project. We also negotiated major changes together with an extended guarantee from both the contractor and the manufacturer.
Use your professionals! This board was headed toward potential trouble in this project by not wanting to employ professionals (until we convinced them otherwise) and neglecting to have the right documents drawn up.
Contractors and managing agents are generally experienced and can coordinate the execution of a project. Nonetheless, it is recommended that the board engage an engineer and attorney to either prepare and/or review the specifications to be utilized by a contractor, especially with respect to the replacement and/or retrofitting of the existing heating plant; or to assist with coordination and scheduling with the contractor/plumbers and Con Edison; and, most importantly, to monitor and supervise the project to ensure the contractor has actually performed in compliance with the specifications and the building code. When approving requests for payment to the contractor, the managing agent may be very qualified and competent to perform the oversight services, but in retrospect is neither a technical expert nor an engineer, and it is preferable to rely on another experienced expert.