Page 12 - CooperatorNews Chicagoland Spring 2022
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These   include:  • Inventory—Make sure you have an   ample supply of inventory and make note   of what has been depleted over the winter   months so you can reorder.  • Fire safety—Have all fire safety   equipment  cleaned  and serviced; send   notices to residents about changing bat-  teries in fire and smoke alarms.  •  Audit—These are  the  months that   third-party accountants conduct annual   financial audits and tax returns. Sched-  ule a shareholder or unit-owner informa-  tional meeting to report on the co-op’s or   condo’s financial position.  • Archive—Gather all of your financial   statements, deposit slips, and paid bills   for the previous year, whether in physical   or electronic form, and file them accord-  ingly. This will make the aforementioned   audit process smoother and quicker, too.  • Disaster preparedness—Communi-  cate to residents the building’s or com-  with a few fundamental facts in hand: first   and foremost, the age of the building or com-  munity, as well as any capital improvements   that have been made already, and when. This   information will give the engineer an idea of   which codes could be triggered by the work   being proposed, which agencies will need to   be involved in inspections and approvals, and   which elements might be allowed to bypass   certain requirements or restrictions because   coming into compliance might be logistically   or financially impossible.   CAPITAL...  continued from page 1  Refat gives an example of a lobby renova-  tion at one of his buildings that had to comply  specialist: a project manager, an owner’s rep,   retroactively with Americans with Disabilities  or a construction manager who will handle   Act (ADA) regulations. “The lobby entrance  everything from acquiring permits to liais-  had a little step that the town wanted re-  moved, because it impeded wheelchair acces-  sibility,” he recalls. “That sounds simple. But  course of a project.   in reality, we had to remove the entire flooring   from the lobby to where it connected with the  construction management firm EmpireCore,   sidewalk. So now we had to address the side-  walk, which had landscaping. And we had to  Jersey, and Connecticut, notes that the inter-  address the size of the doors—the width and  dependencies involved in most capital proj-  the height, and what we call the ‘clearance.’  ects require a range of knowledge, connec-  How far will the door open into the lobby?  tions, and strategies. “The value proposition   How  many  seconds  should  it  take  to  open  we bring is in our expertise,” he says. “Avoid-  electronically? Et cetera. Everything we do  ing the snags, the headaches, the potentially   now in redesigning a lobby or a hallway has  major snafus—and the resulting costs—that   become attached to some law.”  Given this complexity, it is important to  expense of hiring a project manager. We are   have a point person—someone who is in-  volved in the project from inception to com-  pletion, who can manage the various vendors  them efficiently and effectively.”  and agencies and be on site on a regular basis,   and who addresses problems or questions   when they arise. While these tasks can be as-  signed to the property manager (and often  has been laid, then it is time to incorporate   are), most management contracts stipulate  the interior designers, decorators, and/or ar-  that the client will incur additional fees for  chitects. Those interviewed for this article say   such services—sometimes on an hourly ba-  sis, sometimes a percentage of the project  point a design or decorating committee made   budget, sometimes a set fee or a combination  up of board members, owners/shareholders,   or charges. Given that most board or com-  mittee members do not have the time or the  ideas and choices and make recommenda-  expertise to be engaged in a project on such  tions to the full board.   a granular level, even though it’s an extra line   item in the project budget, it pays to hire a   ing with residents to finding innovative ways   to cut costs and create efficiencies over the   John Dimaras, COO of New York-based   which has clients throughout New York, New   can occur on most any project outweighs the   aware of those pitfalls and can preempt them;   where they are unavoidable, we can navigate   Design By Committee  Once the groundwork—and paperwork—  of permits, codes, logistics, and requirements   that the majority of condos and co-ops ap-  or both to do this outreach and to research   Gia Milazzo Smith, owner of Designs by   12 COOPERATORNEWS CHICAGOLAND  —SPRING 2022  CHICAGO.COOPERATORNEWS.COM  munity’s plans in the event of a natural   disaster or other type of emergency.   Check any updates to municipal pre-  paredness guidelines; ensure insurance   and broker information is up to date; and   register staff and board members as re-  sponders if appropriate.  • Homeowner/shareholder remind-  ers—Send a newsletter or notice to unit   owners/shareholders reminding them to   declutter balconies and terraces, clean   up pet waste that wasn’t picked up over   the winter, have air conditioning units   installed properly, and any other limited-  common-element upkeep that is their re-  sponsibility.   n  Darcey Gerstein is Associate Editor and a   Staff Writer for CooperatorNews  .  SPRING...  continued from page 10

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