Ensuring You Don’t Over Plan Condo Association Major Projects


Planning for a major project in a Condo Association is a big deal.  You have to bid out projects, work with vendors, educate Owners, and execute.  You want the project to go as smoothly as possible, of course.  And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  However, there is such a thing as going too far when you are preparing.  If you spend hours and hours trying to plan every possible permutation of every possible problem, you’re wasting valuable time and effort best spent elsewhere.  You need to make sure that are aren’t overdoing it when you plan Condo Association major projects.  

Create Plans for Systems, Not Specifics

This would be a plan that is full of specifics, not systems.

You can’t plan for everything.  What you can do, however, is make sure you’re ready for categories of issues, and ready to respond quickly.  For example, if you know you’re going to be doing major maintenance work, make sure you’ve got building maintenance staff who know the building on site or on call at all times during the project.  If you think you may have to relocate residents, figure out under what circumstances you’ll initiate a move and how.  If you’re worried about a specific problem occurring – like a pipe breach – prepare for any sort of water incident.    

What you don’t want to start doing is planning for every possible eventuality, no matter how remote.  What if Mrs. So-and-So, an elderly resident, trips and falls on a bucket?  It doesn’t matter if she, specifically, trips and falls on a bucket, it matters if any owner trips and falls.  Make sure you’ve got insurance and good signage, and apply good workplace safety to all Owners.  If you’re worried about a pipe breach, plan for the general response, not every single pipe in the building.  If you try to micromanage everything, you’ll fail in your effort to plan Condo Association major projects.  

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy, Nor Should You

Inevitably, there will be inconveniences during a major project.  It’s the name of the game, and they’re called major projects for a reason.  While you want to mitigate whatever you can, the reality is ultimately work needs to get done.  As you are planning, make sure you aren’t going overboard in trying to micromanage vendors to the point where they can no longer do the job you hired them for.  Some good questions to consider when planning include:

  1. If this were a house and the work was being done, what would an Owner do?
  2. How long will the inconvenience be?  Will it be over by the time the Owner complains?
  3. Are there any legal rules the Association needs to consider that might change the calculus?

These types of questions will help you ensure you’re planning within reason.  Will you get some nasty letters during the project?  Probably.  But that’s ok, it’s part of the job.  

If You Over Plan Condo Association Major Projects, It Will Harm Good Will

While it might seem like you’re just doing your job as a Board, don’t underestimate what happens if you’re over-planning.   It wears on Management and vendors, and it erodes your credibility as an Association.  On the one hand, you do get some kudos for caring about your Owners.  But if you start grilling vendors on elaborate “what if” scenarios, you’ll quickly run out of good will.  You want as much good will as possible on a project with all parties involved because it comes in handy later.  If you start a project having already pissed everyone off, you’re likely in for a rough ride.  

Focus on the Big Stuff

This is the thing to focus on. Don’t lose sight.

The saying “work smarter, not harder” is one that you should take to heart when you plan Condo Association Major projects.  Work with your Management and vendors to identify major issues.  Rely upon their experience in other properties.  Control your fellow Board members from going off the deep end by trying to plan for extremely unlikely cases.  A good plan executed well is better than an excellent plan you can’t execute at all.  

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