New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Four Reasons to Hire a Design Professional

Joseph Fernandez, Principal
Joseph Fernandez, Architect

The Lay of the Land

There are four key issues boards should know about. First, the importance of keeping abreast of all local laws and ongoing changes to them. Second, be sure that the board has “quality plan” reviews of alteration and construction projects, either ongoing in the building or proposed by unit-owners or shareholders. Third, have quality control during the projects to make sure contractors are actually doing what was approved by the board and the Department of Buildings (DOB). Finally, and most importantly, someone should be sure that the project is completed properly and the appropriate government agency or agencies sign off on it.

Now What?

A design professional provides this support. He or she should be on call at all times, not only to assist the manager with daily issues as they arise, but also to protect the building and the infrastructure. Reviewing all renovation and reconstruction plans should be the responsibility of a building’s design professional. Additionally, when a shareholder or unit-owner is doing renovations, a design professional can oversee repairs or upgrades that will benefit the entire building, such as replacing risers.

Quality control is another issue. Is the building using DOB-approved contractors? That’s something that’s often overlooked and something that, although a burden for the shareholder, is a necessity for the building. The contractor must also provide testing for such areas as kitchens and bathrooms where there may be wet areas requiring flood-testing and also certain types of waterproofing that need to be checked and verified.
Your design professional must be on hand to be certain that the building does not have countless open jobs. That can cause problems in the future when a financial institution denies a loan because there are open and/or unresolved violations.

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