Should Your Association Hire a Consultant to Oversee a Project?

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Should Your Association Hire a Consultant to Oversee a Project?

“Often extreme weather conditions bring about the need for a major reconstruction project.  What’s the best way to proceed with the repair of a collapsed retaining wall?”

Your HOA management staff and the trades you contract with for routine maintenance and repairs may not have the expertise to handle major, complex projects. You may need to bring in specialized consultants with engineering, project management, construction, risk management and/or reconstruction expertise.

Structural and/or architectural repairs for pools, clubhouses, ponds, water wells, pumps and irrigation are some of the projects where hiring a specialized consultant makes sense. Not only can it ensure that the work is done properly and in compliance with codes and ordinances, but it can also ensure thorough project management and financial planning. A consultant will be able to identify all the components of your planned project, whether there will be other components to consider at future dates, and all related expenses. 

For example, extreme weather conditions often bring about the need for a major reconstruction project. Imagine for a moment that one of your communities has a large retaining wall near your main pool and recreation center. Strong winds and rain cause a portion of the wall to collapse, and an avalanche of mud slides down toward the pool and playground. Ordinary trades would have a difficult time providing an accurate estimate for restoration of the wall, soils, and affected amenities, and they would likely be unclear as to how to proceed with the project.

In this scenario, a qualified outside project consultant would identify and accomplish a long list of crucial steps for the association:

  1. Oversee an independent testing of the soils.
  2. Prepare the engineering drawings and specifications to solve the problem, reconstruct the retaining wall, and restore the pool and playground.
  3. Make sure appropriate permits are issued by local and state authorities.
  4. Prepare an RFQ & RFP.
  5. Gather, review and compare contractor bids.
  6. Work with the BOD to find the right contractors for the work and prepare contracts.
  7. Oversee contractor’s work, methods and process during the project.
  8. Prepare written progress reports for the BOD and management.
  9. Ensure appropriate milestones are met and the project is kept on track and meets the deadline.
  10. Review the finished project and ensure work aligns with specifications and is in accordance with the project specifications and issued permits.
  11. Approve progress payments as appropriate.
  12. Provide complete documentation of the entire project for future reference.

As you can see, this is a complex process that outside consultants can handle with relative ease, making it much more cost-effective to bring in their expertise. Then consider the liability issues that could arise if any of these steps is not properly executed.

An HOA manager with one of our communities gave a thumbs up on her experience with a consultant for a major reconstruction project.  “The project went smoothly and was completed on schedule and on budget. The association was satisfied with the project and their experience with the consultant was good. We concluded that it was worth the investment.”

Pam Grundy

Executive Vice President, AMS®, CMCA®

CMA Management
37 Years of Community. Well Served. ( Headquartered in Plano, Texas, CMA has three regional offices and numerous onsite locations providing contract management services for more than 250 residential and commercial communities, and more than 97,000 individual units. Residential Communities •Town Home Communities •Master Planned Communities •Active Adult Communities •Commercial Associations