Someone recently asked about capital planning and budgeting, so I thought I’d post it as a topic in addition to the initial reply since I thought of more information afterward. There is no absolute method, but here's how I do it ...
When creating an annual operating budget, it is wise to create and update a separate capital budget with at least a 5-7 year outlook.
You can find this budget either though reserves if the finances permit, through an assessment (which looks better than raising maintenance), or through raising maintenance (Which is not recommended since it is capital funding), through refi/cash out, etc… .
Create two lists.. needs and wants.
You may need assistance with the needs list as it would contain the following:
1. Local Law Inspections & work (FSIP)
2. Mechanicals (cooling/HVAC/Water Towers)
3. Boiler & Machinery
4. Plumbing/electrical Systems
6. General building condition – roof, stairwells, etc..
7. Abatements (asbestos, lead, etc..)
I have a company that does complete building inspections & budgets; an engineer and other professionals required for some portions.
Pricing and required timelines are next
Organize this list not by price, but by priority as it relates to liability.
Then create and merge your list of desired improvements or projects with priority order being the value add of each item… One may offset another, such as duel fuel conversion to a boiler with a bad burner may aid both categories.. this is what I mean by the value add…
With every item on the list now having a priority number and target date attached, you can back into the finances and how you will fund it.
There are many different ways to go about finding the monies and funding the projects, and in the beginning it may look intimidating, but it gets more and more rewarding as time progresses… It is great when your building gets to a point where you are working only on what improvements you would like to add that year!
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