Don't Neglect Essentials Maintenance Items That Can't Wait

 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.  

 Many building administrators are looking for creative ways to save money and  build up their bottom line, so it’s no surprise that many are taking a hard look at their maintenance and building  improvement wish-lists—and making some tough decisions as they try to determine the projects they can  afford to undertake, and which ones they need to put off until later.  

 Absolute Essentials

 It’s safe to say that any physical issues that require attention must be addressed  in a timely manner, regardless of how much it hurts. If an item is more  cosmetic in nature, there may be greater latitude in deferring its maintenance—although most pros agree that poorly maintained aesthetic elements can quickly  have a negative impact on the perceived value of a building. Other than that,  deferred maintenance on a building’s structural or mechanical elements will inevitably result in higher costs the  longer they are ignored.  

 According to Doug Weinstein, director of operations and compliance with AKAM  Associates, Inc., a property management firm in Manhattan, the following  maintenance projects must be performed annually in order to ensure the proper  operation of the building: Burner overhaul before the heating season, roof tank  cleaning, elevator inspection, backflow preventer inspections, fire  extinguisher inspection and re-charging, sprinkler system inspection, and  proper commissioning of the air conditioning system for cooling season.  

 “Signs and symptoms of an impending maintenance crisis that boards and managers  should never ignore or put off include cracks in exterior walls, roof and roof  tank leaks, excessive chimney exhaust, elevators that don’t level or otherwise operate properly and heaving sidewalk flags,” Weinstein says. “These problems must be addressed immediately in order to avoid major problems  and repair or replacement expenses.”  

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