Capital Improvement Projects Planning a Success Story

It doesn't matter what type of building you live in or where it is located, eventually it will need some capital improvements.

Unfortunately, there's more to it than deciding that the work has to be done and finding a contractor to do the job. Long-range planning, knowledge of funding options and selecting the best project team can help guarantee that your capital improvement project is a success.

The best way to look at a project to determine whether or not it was a success, says Irving Spodek, director of operations at Queens-based Kaled Management, is if there were no complaints after the job was finished, the project benefits the operating budget, the building gets J-51 tax abatements and the project itself went smoothly. If you can say yes to all of these, then you've had a successful project.

Planning and Funding

Most everyone will agree that the first step in planning your project is to think ahead. With proper planning you can predict what work will need to be done in six months, one year or five years. The first thing a board has to do is to identify possible capital needs in terms of a long-term program, explains Doug Weinstein, director of operations for the Manhattan-based management firm Akam Associates. The managing agent should have a five- to ten-year capital plan for the building. This should include knowing the useful life of the various building components. For example, the average life expectancy of a boiler is 25 to 30 years. If your building's boiler was installed in 1970, then you can project that it will need to be replaced very soon. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to not only plan for the replacement but for the funding and financing of the project, explains Weinstein.

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