Maintenance

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Life in a Landmark

By Rebecca Fons

James Gulliver Hancock, an Australian illustrator who now lives in Brooklyn, is attempting to draw all the buildings in New York—all of them. From brownstones on Bank Street to the palatial condo buildings of Park Avenue, from the Flatiron building to Grace Church, Hancock is sketching them all. His website, www.allthebuild ingsinnewyork.com offers a guide through the city via storefronts you might recognize, iconic addresses of the five boroughs—maybe even the building you call home. Read More

The Outer Shell

By Lisa Iannucci

The old expression says, ‘put your best face forward,’ and the same goes for co-op and condo buildings. But a building façade is more than just the face it shows to the street—it’s a protective barrier against the elements and an integral part of the building’s structure. Read More

A Space of One’s Own

By Elizabeth Lent

In New York City, where space is at a premium, balconies and terraces offer co-op and condo owners a way to maximize their living space while also providing unparalleled views of the city they love. They are the small oases to which we escape for a glimpse of sunlight, the feel of a warm breeze or simply to hear the sounds of the city, reminding us of the life and vitality humming so far below. A balcony is also a place where we can look side to side and see our neighbors face to face, offering a wave, hello or intellectual discussion with the people with whom we share our walls, halls and elevators. Read More

Up on the Roof

By W.B. King

While they may seem like archaic pieces of urban art—if they’re noticed at all—rooftop water tanks serve a vital function to countless high-rise buildings in New York City. Whether made of wood or steel, the care and maintenance of these all-important fixtures falls to a handful of niche companies catering to this often over-looked industry. Read More

Keeping the Sky From Falling

By Keith Loria

Walk down any street in the city and you’re likely to go under or around one of the ubiquitous steel-and-plywood structures that shade Gotham's sidewalks, more often than not festooned with wheat-pasted posters for everything from the hottest nightclub parties to new movies opening this weekend. They’re called construction sheds, and these blue or green plywood platforms boosted up above street level by crisscrossing metal poles and girders are usually installed on buildings in the midst of an exterior repair program. Read More

Understanding Local Law 11

By Christy Smith-Sloman

It’s not hard to imagine the dire danger posed to life and limb, should debris or material of any kind fall from the facade of any of New York City’s thousands of buildings. Indeed, pedestrians have been injured and killed by bricks, stone, and other materials falling from building exteriors. And the recent winter weather brought a perilous situation to pedestrians near the new World Trade Center site as ice began falling down from its glass curtain façade onto passersby below. Read More

Keeping it Clean

By Jonathan Barnes

Living in New York City can be something of a dirty job. Thanks to the hustle and bustle of big city living, the task of cleaning off months (or years) of accumulated grime and dirt from the exterior of a residential building takes much more than just a scrub-brush and a bottle of Windex; it requires professional help. The task is not just a labor-intensive job—it also calls for extensive knowledge of building materials, cleaning products and cleaning methods. Read More

The Market Review & Forecast

By Raanan Geberer

The worst of the recession is over, and many observers believe the recovery is well under way. With the exception of some coastal areas, the city has climbed out of the worst of the effects of Superstorm Sandy. What’s next? Read More

Slip, Sliding Away

By John Stevens

Few things are worse than stepping out into the January cold and immediately slipping on icy concrete. It’s a tough decision to leave the warm environs of your co-op or condo apartment to go out into the frigid cold. Learning proper deicing techniques will help avoid bruises and potential lawsuits from slip and falls on co-op and condo property. In addition, boards and community associations must take care of icy sidewalks and parking lots as they can become a safety concern for all residents living in the building or in the condo complex. Read More

Snow Control

By Jennifer Grosser

A snowy winter is a child's dream. What's more fun than the chance to build snowmen, dominate in snowball fights and of course, relish in the pure joy that is a snow day? Oh, to be young, blissful—and mostly ignorant of the havoc wreaked by major winter weather. Read More

Tech 101

By Keith Loria

Ask any realtor what their customers are looking for in a condo or HOA and they will quickly point out the importance of the latest and greatest 21st Century technology as one of the top requests. Much like the inherent evolving nature of consumer technology, the tech needs of residents will always be in flux. In order to stay competitive in the strengthening market and keep up with residents’ demands, buildings will need to advance their amenities accordingly. Read More

Do It Yourself…Or Not?

By Anne Childers

This country was founded with a heavy dose of independence and a strong “Do-It-Yourself” attitude. The DIY mindset, with roots in Europe and European culture, crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the earliest immigrants and became part of the American tradition of personal and community responsibility. Many of the first waves of settlers were expert craftsmen in their own right; they were the professionals and skilled tradesmen who wanted to build a new country literally from the ground up. Those early settlers helped themselves and their neighbors build homes, businesses and towns. Barn raisings were community events where everyone showed up to work and then to socialize. Read More

Bank on It!

By Raanan Geberer

The New York metropolitan area probably has more banks and other financial institutions than anyplace else in the country. This is after all the city where Wall Street is located. Go down any major shopping street and chances are you’ll see five or six bank branches within two or three blocks—big banks like Chase and Citibank, smaller community banks, foreign-owned banks, you name it. Read More

Live Long and Prosper

By Jonathan Barnes

Nothing lasts forever, and though you can’t predict the moment a piece of building equipment will break down, you can prepare for it. Even the toughest boiler, HVAC unit, or elevator will eventually tucker out and need major repairs, or just give up the ghost and have to be replaced. And with New York City’s penchant for hot summers and cold winters, parts of a building sometimes must be replaced more frequently than might usually be expected elsewhere in the nation. Read More

A Breath of Fresh Air

By Christy Smith-Sloman

In a multifamily building with scores, possibly hundreds of people living under one roof, cooking, cleaning, dusting and breathing, it’s no surprise that the airways, chutes and garbage rooms of these buildings can get clogged and dirty over time. Waste material, debris, and allergens can build up in a building’s airways and passages, causing everything from noxious smells to pest issues to bona fide health problems for residents. Air conditioning, climate control and proper handling of waste play a huge role in maintaining not only quality of life, but health as well. Read More

Maintaining Steam Traps

By Daniel Karpen

If you want to catch mice the simple solution is to use a mouse trap. If the mouse trap does not work, and often they don't, then you have to find an alternate solution. One good solution is to get a natural predator of the mouse to assist. The house cat is about as effective a mouse eradication tool known to man and they will accomplish the job. A simple solution for a simple problem. Read More

Waterproofing Residential Buildings

By Jonathan Barnes

Residential buildings are constantly under attack—not by barbarians or marauding bandits, but by a force far more subtle and insidious. The most tenacious enemy of a residential building is not fire or structural collapse—though a building obviously should be protected from such catastrophes. It’s water. Left unchecked, simple moisture can quietly infiltrate your building envelope and wreak havoc throughout. Read More

Elevator Repair and Replacement

By Raanan Geberer

Any building in New York City taller than, say, five stories usually has an elevator—and often, new buildings of even three stories have one. If you live in a New York-area co-op or condo apartment building, chances are that you use an elevator every day. Read More

Ain't No Crystal Stair

By Jonathan Barnes

 For some, stairwells are the dark little secret places between floors, where the  kids go to drink beer at night, or where others go to do who knows what. While  residents of most buildings will have few reasons to use their building’s interior stairwells, others always seem to find the wrong uses for the space.  And though it may seem just a minor inconvenience to the apartment owner in  need of a little temporary storage, using stairway or hallway spaces wrongly  can risk the life and limbs of everyone in the building. Read More

Deep Blue

By Keith Loria

 A beautiful amenity space just footsteps away from one’s morning coffee is a luxury most residents would love to consider when deciding  which property to call home. A well-maintained swimming pool can captivate  potential homebuyers but also increases property values in existing buildings. Read More

Laundry Room Basics

By Jonathan Barnes

 Most co-op and condo buildings in the city have a laundry room for residents to  use that is more than just an amenity; it’s practically a necessity. Nearly all of these co-op/condo laundry rooms are  maintained by laundry contractors who service the machines and collect money  from them. And when outside vendors are involved in providing a service for a  building, it behooves all residents to understand just what type of service is  being provided and the agreement under which that work is being done. Read More

Heating Oil Transition Offers Savings

By Jonathan Barnes

 On July 1st, about 10,000 New York City buildings must start phasing out their  use of high-polluting fuel oil. Under the city's “Clean Heat” mandate (a part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan New York initiative), permits are being phased out for No. 4 and  No. 6 grade heating oils. Permits required for using No. 6 oil—the worst polluter of the three main types of heating oil—were discontinued in 2012 and permits for No. 4 will be denied beginning this  summer, as boilers and burners are replaced to comply with the new law. Read More

Keeping the Grass Greener

By Anne Childers

 New York City is not exactly known for year round sunshine and palm trees. At  first glance greenery, lawns and lawn care, may seem a non–issue for many New Yorkers, but like most Americans, New Yorkers have a  long-running love affair with lush green turf. Read More

Shoo!

By Hannah Fons

 There are a few things that New Yorkers just take for granted as part of life in  Gotham: Traffic is one. Noise—whether from the street outside or the neighbors upstairs—is another. Read More

Don't Neglect Essentials

By Keith Loria

 While recent reports point to signs of economic recovery, many co-ops and condos  are still feeling the financial burden that has accumulated over the last few  years due to increased operating costs, residents in arrears, defaults, and now  repair costs in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Read More

Keeping Your Facade Protected

By Jonathan Barnes

 Residential buildings are constantly under attack—not by barbarians or marauding bandits, but by a force far more subtle and  insidious. The most tenacious enemy of a residential building is not fire or  structural collapse—though a building obviously should be protected from such catastrophes. It’s water. Left unchecked, simple moisture can quietly infiltrate your building  envelope and wreak havoc throughout. Read More

What Lies Beneath

By W.B. King

 It’s true that a building is as only as strong as its foundation—and while New Yorkers don't have as much active concern about the foundations of  their buildings as residents of an earthquake-prone area like California might  have, it's still important for boards and managers alike to be aware that their  building’s foundation does require a certain amount of attention and maintenance. Since  it's literally underground, your foundation is easy to ignore, but its health  is crucial. A little bit of education from the professionals can go a long way  toward raising building administrators' awareness of the importance of a sound,  well-maintained foundation. Read More

Keeping the Rain Off

By W.B. King

 After the four walls of a given structure, the roof is sometimes referred to as  the “fifth plane”—and just like the walls that hold it up, the roof is an all-important structure  that can make or break a building’s performance. The tri-state area’s changeable climate—which as we all know ranges from sweltering hot and humid summer heat to  bone-chilling cold in the winter months—often exacerbates trouble spots. If not properly maintained, even a minor roof  problem can lead to costly repairs. Read More

Post-Winter Maintenance

By Pat Gale

 While residents may breathe a sigh of relief when winter and its piles of snow,  slushy puddles and blasts of arctic air finally exits the scene, co-op and  condo buildings can’t always shake off the ravages of the season so easily. Read More

Let Me In?

By Keith Loria

 Everyone wants to feel secure and have peace of mind when they lock their doors  each night, but in a multifamily condo or co-op in New York City, you can’t always control who enters your building. Management may have service people  come in, other residents can allow guests, and even you yourself may hold the  door for someone you don't personally know. Read More

Romancing the Stone

By Denton Tarver

 If you want to make a good impression, nothing quite says luxury and elegance  like a vast expanse of polished marble—particularly in the lobby of an upscale condominium or co-op building. Marble  has been used in palaces, temples, and homes for thousands of years, and is  prized for its beauty, durability, and variety of colors and patterns. Stone  floors need maintenance, however, and knowing what they need can make them look  better and last longer. Read More

Inventory Control

By Hannah Fons

 Regardless of whether you live in a co-op or a condo, or whether your community  is a small, self-managed one or a sprawling development with hundreds of units  managed by a professional property management company, there is or very well  should be a system of checks and balances in place to help the administrative  side of the operation run smoothly. Read More

Breathe In, Breather Out:

By Liz Lent

 Few things are as important to our health and well-being as the air we breathe,  especially inside our own homes. That is why it is so important for individual  homeowners as well as management to stay up-to-date on issues of indoor air  quality and ensure that everything possible is done to provide a healthy  environment, especially in the winter months when so many of us are spending  time in the warmth of the indoors. Read More

Notice to Cure

By W.B. King

 Despite the due diligence of boards and property managers, building code  violations can occur during routine inspections—be it a faulty pipe, broken step or rusted fire escape. It is the speed and  accuracy of addressing these infractions which is critical, although frequent  problems are often overlooked, leading to costly headaches. Read More

Smart Buildings, Smart Boards

By Greg Olear

 If phones can be “smart,” why not buildings? With the ever-expanding array of consumer technology  available today, it should come as no surprise that residential buildings are  incorporating more and more cutting-edge technology into their communications,  security, and operations systems than ever before, and unifying building  operating systems so they can be monitored and run from a central location by a  building staff member, or by residents themselves with smartphones and iPads.  Many of these innovative systems are being installed from square one in new  construction, but also in the form of upgrades and retrofits in older  buildings. Let’s take a look at the state of the industry. Read More

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