There are many things that a Condo Association must look to provide for its Owners. At the highest level, they boil down to the big three: safety, security, and transparency. In pursuit of this goal, there are certain key building systems that are critical to maintain. Of particular importance is maintaining Condo environmental systems, such as your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and water.
Who is Responsible for Maintaining Condo Environmental Systems?
First and foremost, this article assumes the Association is responsible for these systems. Buildings might have different policies, such as:
- Owners are completely responsible.
- The Association is completely responsible.
- A hybrid approach where there might be individual HVAC systems in units but also building HVAC for “common areas.”
- Some combination of the above.
If your Association is solely responsible for any particular system, you need to make sure you are aggressively managing these systems.
Importance of the Systems
The most important aspect of these systems is heat during cold months. Depending on where you live, losing building heat for an extended period of time could go so far as rendering the building uninhabitable, causing huge costs to the Association. Beyond this, the impacts to comfort are substantial for any of these systems. Losing air conditioning in the summer sucks in most climates. Losing hot water at any time is no fun. If these systems are down, you can expect to hear from your Owners.
One of the biggest steps you can take to ensure that you maintain high uptime around your important systems is preventative maintenance contracts. These can be procured easily from reputable vendors in your area. You should ensure that they are regularly checked. In particular, you want to make sure you are servicing them before peak seasons – for example, air conditioning before the summer, and heating before winter.
Another factor to take into consideration is if your units are approaching “end of life.” If that is the case, you should consider increasing the frequency of maintenance checkups. On the one hand, you want to squeeze every last year out of these systems before costly replacements. On the other, you don’t want them failing are the wrong time.
Stock Replacement Parts Strategically
Another trick which can help ensure high up time of these systems is to stock key replacement parts. These could be parts that can fail often or be easily replaced by your building maintenance staff to allow rapid repair. Another type of part to keep in stock is those with long “lead times” to source. Some HVAC or water systems may use proprietary or special equipment. If you know a critical part might have a week or longer time to procure, consider stocking it for rapid replacement. You can work with your technical representation to identify what parts make most sense to keep on hand.
Ensure Owners are Reporting Issues
The final key to maintaining Condo environmental systems is to ensure that your Owners are reporting issues. Management can’t be in every unit all the time – nor do Owners want them to be. But to ensure issues are fixed rapidly, they also need to be reported rapidly. Encourage Owners to report issues with HVAC or water temperature as soon as possible.
A Comfortable Environment Means Happy Owners
Maintaining functioning HVAC and water systems is a sure way to keep your Owners happy. With a little bit of planning, you can increase your uptime. Make sure you’re taking these proactive steps for maintaining Condo environmental systems, and you’ll lead a better Condo life.