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Queensview Co-Op Saves $1 Million with Combined Facade and Roof Repairs Project

Emily Myers in Building Operations


The math was daunting. Confronted with major facade repairs and roof replacements, the board at Queensview Inc., a 726-unit co-op in Astoria, isn’t facing a single-building endeavor — it’s multiplied by a factor of 14. The sprawling co-op comprises no fewer than 14 buildings, with their own basketball courts, playgrounds and parking lots. Confronting mandated FISP repairs, ongoing leaks and expired roof warranties for the entire complex, the board decided to tackle these projects together. 

The logistics are complicated, but cost-wise, the decision was a no-brainer. Victor Roggia, the board president, estimates that consolidating the work will save the co-op up as much as $1 million on the $12 million venture. The savings stem from the so-called soft costs of the project, since the co-op is paying only once for sidewalk sheds — scaffolding and sidewalk sheds to protect residents during facade and roof renovations can be very expensive — and for engineering fees. Combining the work also minimizes the disruption to shareholders. “We didn't have the inconvenience of having the sidewalk sheds up twice,” Roggia explains. Filing the facade and roof projects with the Department of Buildings together on a single permit application also saved time and minimized cost. 

Queensview Inc. is managed by FirstService Residential, but the scope of the current facade and roof projects is so vast that the board has turned to a third party, the owner’s representative team at New Bedford Management, to oversee the work. “It’s really like a town on its own,” says Andras Joo, New Bedford Management’s head of owners’ representation. “The whole thing will be done in batches, because it cannot be done in one year,” he says.

Indeed, by the time the project is finished, it will have taken twice that long. With repairs happening in cycles, three buildings are being tackled at a time — the facade first, followed by the roof replacement. “We do three buildings next to each other and we put shedding up and then as the building is done, we remove the shedding and move it to the next three buildings,” Roggia says. Work on nine of the 14 buildings is now complete, the rest of the repairs will be done by fall. 

On a project of this size, surprise expenses are inevitable. More brickwork than expected has had to be replaced, and deteriorated caulking has been identified around the windows and lintels. “That became an additional cost — you can’t just overlook something because it’s not part of the mandated work,” Roggia says. Fixing minor leaks, where water was getting in through the porous brick facade and along windows, prolonged the project timeline. “Some of them are very hard to track down, so that is extra work,” he adds. 

Providing vehicle access for contractors and moving residents’ cars to create space for containers and materials is another complex process. ”It’s like a puzzle — how to create space in parking lots or rearrange the cars when work is happening,” Joo says. 

The facade and roof replacements complement the co-op’s ongoing efforts to mitigate its projected six-figure carbon emission penalties in 2030 under Local Law 97. This includes the installation of a new instantaneous hot water system to replace deteriorated hot water tanks, extensive pipe insulation, LED lighting upgrades and a planned sub-metering project. “Every project we do here has an energy-saving component now,” Roggia says. 

The $12 million project is being funded by a bank loan, which will be paid back through increased maintenance fees. Because new roof installations must meet insulation minimums set by city energy codes, the co-op is entitled to apply for incentives from Con Edison. At most the incentive will be a few thousand dollars per roof, but given the $475,000 cost for each new roof, “at least it’s something,” Roggia says. The new roofs also have a 30-year warranty, which is the upper limit for most installations. “We are hoping that in the long run it will save us money and prevent leaks,” he adds.

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