New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

How to Communicate With Key Players During a Gas Shutdown

The Challenge

A Con Edison representative was performing a weekly meter reading at a 2,000-unit building we manage. He noticed a strong gas odor and detected a leak from the main gas line. The building was immediately “red-tagged,” cutting off the gas supply. Fortunately, the building does not use gas to provide heat or hot water, so those services were maintained without interruption. However, gas is necessary for the kitchen stoves and the laundry room dryers. Some 400 residents lacked essential services. In such situations, Con Ed requires that the entire system be pressure-tested.

The Solution

Management immediately contacted the board and then arranged to meet with a plumber on site. A notice was posted and sent on the internet-based building communication system advising residents of the situation. A similar notice was also sent to the insurance broker and carrier. The rental tenants were informed via the owner of their units. The building’s lender was notified, since the project could cost a substantial amount of money that would both deplete reserves and necessitate a drawdown on the line of credit. The following day, management, the plumber, a board member, and a Con Ed rep met on site to survey the needed repairs.

The Lesson

The key points to this type of emergency are: communication (all of the interested parties were informed); staff (the super and staff had the training to perform some of the necessary apartment work and supervised any work performed by outside vendors); financial (the lender was notified to ensure that access to funds would not be an issue); and management (Maxwell-Kates knew how to deal with this situation).

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