Maintenance

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Heat Without Hassles

By Jonathan Barnes

Cleaner skies, healthier lives and a shinier Big Apple are some of what the much-talked-about changeover from No. 6 and No. 4 fuel oil is intended to accomplish. Read More

Windows to the World

By Keith Loria

One of the defining architectural parts of a New York City building are its windows—whether it’s an ornate decorative window, one designed for energy savings or a large window that envelopes the side of a structure. Read More

Maintaining a Healthy Building

By Anne Childers

It was January 1977 when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) first identified and isolated a previously unknown strain of bacteria found breeding in the cooling tower of a hotel air conditioning system. The bacteria, subsequently named Legionella, caused an outbreak of what is known as Legionnaires Disease, and the world first became aware of the concept of 'sick building syndrome.' Read More

Don’t Let the Bedbugs—or Other Critters—Bite!

By Greg Olear

Pests are a part of life. Wherever there are people, vermin of one kind or another are sure to follow. This is particularly true in an ultra-dense urban environment like New York City, where our rodents and cockroaches are practically legendary. These urban pest animals are not merely gross, however—many of them pose threats to humans, pets and property, so controlling or eliminating them is a major concern for all boards and managers. Read More

Squeaky Clean

By Lisa Iannucci

Everyone wants to live in a clean building—that's a given. Back in the day, a bucket, mop and a bottle of bleach or ammonia were pretty much all that a superintendent needed when it came to cleaning entry halls, stairwells and other residential common areas. These days however, harsh chemicals and noxious fumes are frowned upon for a variety of reasons—and their place has been taken by an array of more eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning supplies. Read More

A Winterizing Maintenance Guide

By Jonathan Barnes

In terms of wear and tear on buildings, winter is the harshest season of the year. Snow accumulation and ice damming on roofs can be a major headache, pipes freezing and bursting could spell disaster, and just about any accumulation of water means trouble. Read More

Keeping Cool

By Keith Loria

After the devastating winter the New York metro area just experienced, summer couldn’t come soon enough for many of Gotham’s co-op and condo residents. But don’t be surprised when people start forgetting about the cold and start complaining about the sweltering heat that usually heads our way in July and August. Cooling an entire building can get very expensive but no one wants a long, hot, miserable summer—so it’s up to your building’s administration and residents to devise a plan that allows for both comfort and thriftiness. Read More

Swimming Pool Maintenance 101

By Danielle Braff

As we hopefully move into warmer weather, lucky New Yorkers living in condos or co-ops with pools can spend all day tanning and swimming in the indoor or rooftop pools housed in their buildings. Read More

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

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