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Proper Building Maintenance Can Avoid Catastrophic Failure

Mitchell Gerskup
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Article Summary: 

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Miami has raised questions about proper building maintenance in condominiums. Neglecting timely reviews and maintenance of aging buildings has been a common contributing factor in catastrophic building failures. To ensure building integrity, condominium managers and boards can take several steps.

Reserve Fund Studies are a crucial starting point, requiring comprehensive assessments every three years to identify maintenance needs. While reserve fund planners aren't required to be licensed architects or engineers, they have a good view of the building's aging. Boards should pay attention to follow-up study recommendations for critical systems and engage qualified architectural or engineering professionals for in-depth investigations.

Regular assessments of critical building systems, based on the building's specifics, should be performed by professionals every ten years. Paying attention to major repairs outlined in the Reserve Fund Study's financial analysis and component inventory is vital. Managers and boards must listen to and act on the advice of professionals in terms of recommended actions and repairs.

Having a contingency plan is also crucial. Despite diligent inspections, unanticipated repairs can arise. A contingency plan outlines the steps to follow when unexpected repairs are needed, including seeking accurate cost estimates for repairs. Effective communication with owners and residents about necessary actions and potential financial measures can prevent delays.

Building failures often result from years of neglect rather than sudden collapses. Proper planning and maintenance are essential to prevent the financial and quality-of-life repercussions of deferred maintenance or secondary damages like water damage and mold growth.


Building maintenance, Condominium governance, Catastrophic failure, Reserve Fund Study, Aging buildings, Timely review, Deferred maintenance, Professional assessments, Critical building systems, Contingency plan, Communication, Financial measures, Secondary damages, Water damage, Mold growth.

Source Citation: 
Mitchell Gerskup
Proper Building Maintenance Can Avoid Catastrophic Failure
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