The Meter is Running
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A simple lesson in planning a restoration project.
AUTHORBrian Sullivan, President of Sullivan Engineering
PAGE #p. 46
Foresight helped Sullivan Engineering predict costs and anticipate maintenance and compliance issues.
The Problem. Sullivan Engineering was retained by the Parkchester Condominium, a large complex in the Bronx consisting of 171 eight-to-14-story buildings (55 on the north campus and 116 on the south campus). Our challenge was to identify all exterior restoration that needed to be performed and to provide recommendations on effectively phasing the work in order to forecast an appropriate restoration budget.
The Epiphany. The first thing we did was assess all the buildings. We investigated reported leaks and referred to Local Law 11 reports to get a general overview of the properties and the work that would most likely need to be performed. Then we created estimated budgets to present to owners, corporate investors, the condo boards, property managers, etc. We discussed the various priorities of the parties involved, we offered information, professional opinions and cost-effective recommendations. Most importantly, we listened to the ideas and concerns of the board. We understood the desire to do the project gradually over time, and we put a plan into effect.
The Execution. The first five-year plan at the north campus has been successfully completed, and Sullivan Engineering is assisting them with their second five-year plan, while working through the first five-year plan at the south campus. Everyone involved with these projects understands the benefits of being proactive. Addressing anticipated conditions rather than tackling immediate issues allows owners to plan their budget instead of having it dictated by circumstance.
The Result. The lesson is simple: the earlier you can find out how much work needs to be done and approximately how much that work will cost, the easier it is to plan. Anticipating a compliance issue, the useful life of a building component, the requirements of the next FISP cycle (formerly Local Law 11), or the maintenance plan necessary in a particular climate allows for more effective planning. Predicting costs a few years ahead leads to better decision-making. In the end, deferred maintenance usually turns out to be more frustrating and expensive.