It is no secret that a much anticipated improvement or construction project in your community can quickly turn into a nightmare. From deadlines stretched beyond recognition to vendors going back on their word, to an unexpected lack of money, these projects can become severely stressful for your HOA board members and a nuisance to the rest of the community.
How you manage your major community project now, before materials arrive and hammers start pounding, can make all the difference between a nightmarish experience and a successful completion of the project. You should do everything you can ahead of time to ensure a smooth process.
Focus on Communication
Most problems during large projects occur as a result of a lack of communication between the HOA and the vendor. Meetings with the vendor should occur before the project is commenced as well as on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis throughout the process.
Before Construction Begins
Before any construction begins, you should sit down with the vendor and negotiate important points such as cost, time frame, and daily clean-up. It is important to remember that, at this stage, everything should be written down. If points of negotiation are not put in writing and signed by both parties then there is no legal obligation to follow through.
During the completion of the project, there should be a quick daily check-in between the vendor and a member of the board. Additionally, contact information should be given to the vendor to contact the board at any time should a problem occur.
Maintaining clear goals throughout the process is key to a successful finish. To achieve this, the construction manager and the general contractor should set aside time on a weekly basis to set goals for the coming week as well as to discuss any changes to the previous week’s plan.
It will be helpful to maintain monthly contact between the board and the construction manager to help keep on schedule and to be made aware of any delays or changes.
Focus on Finances
Finances will be a large part of the negotiations between your HOA and the general contractor. Your goal as an HOA is to complete the project within budget, in a short time, and with good quality work.
Negotiate a Payment Plan
During negotiations with the general contractor, you will decide on a payment plan. One way to ensure high quality work is to pay 90% of the total bill on a monthly basis, but reserve 10% for when the project is completed to your satisfaction.
Pay on Time
On time payments are in the best interest of everyone involved. When the contractor received payments on time, they are able to stay firm to the time frame, order materials on time, and maintain a solid relationship with your HOA.
Fully Fund Your Reserve Fund
One area that you should not be ignoring in your budget is the reserve fund. Before you start a project, make sure that your reserve fund is fully funded and ready to take care of the expenses of your upcoming project.
Planning ahead well in advance can help to keep your major community projects running smoothly and on time. By focusing on communication with your general contractor, and managing your finances well, you will be able to successfully navigate your next big project.