For many co-op and condo owners, watching the work crews arrive and the scaffolding ascend into the sky is akin to seeing the storm clouds gather on the horizon. They can be a harbinger of dark days to come, filled with noise, dust and inconvenience.
For too many co-op and condo residents, the thought of construction brings out the gloom. And that’s too bad, because if handled properly, the inconvenience of a construction or renovation project should be more akin to a light spring shower rather than a raging summer storm. With the right attitude and the right preparation, the process can be relatively painless—and that’s good news for residents, boards and managers alike.
First off, it’s important to know ahead of time which construction jobs have the potential to cause the biggest problems for a building and its residents. The worst projects, says Patricia Garbutt of Manhattan’s Elite Construction Consultants, Ltd., are masonry and façade repair, window replacements, elevator upgrades and hallway or lobby renovations.
“Masonry is noisy with a lot of dust, and it can be a problem for an entire floor—as well as the floors above and below,” she says. Lobby renovations can cause disruption as well, with sidewalk sheds, dust, dirt and noise. Elevator repairs cause inconvenience, obviously by limiting service—never a good thing at rush hour.
“Residents need to include the added wait time as part of their commute,” Garbutt says. And while window replacements do not affect an entire building concurrently, they can still be an issue for unit owners who have to change their schedules to accommodate work crews, move furniture, and make other interior preparations for the work to proceed smoothly.