Whether you are looking out over New York City from New Jersey or looking out from New York City towards New Jersey or Long Island, the skyline is lined with high-rise cooperatives and condominiums—the majority of which are now close to 30 years old. Subject to the harsh environmental conditions common along the coast, age, natural wear-and-tear and lack of maintenance, co-op and condo boards are now faced with upgrading and repairing their plaza decks.
A thorough understanding of the issues and challenges that can arise during a plaza deck restoration project, as well as the basic steps in the repair process, will help ensure that the project is bid correctly from the onset and monitored properly throughout the process.
Bidding the Project
Plaza deck restoration projects are usually awarded based on a competitive bid process. The co-op board or condo association hires an engineering firm that performs a detailed survey of the plaza deck, quantifies the deterioration, analyzes the structural integrity of the base structure, provides a set of plans and specifications for competitive bid, chooses the bidders, holds a pre-bid conference and analyzes the bids.
The board usually then opts to bring in the three lowest bidders to see if they understand the project and determine if there are any further reductions in price. It is at this point where a plaza deck restoration project will choose its fate as to whether it will be successful or end up in the legal system with a bunch of unhappy shareholders or unit owners, who just spent a huge amount of money for a leaky, problem-riddled, "new" plaza deck.
Unfortunately, most co-op or condo boards choose the contractor based on a financial decision. After all, the contractors that bid are all called "restoration contractors" and selected by the engineer. But are all restoration contractors equal? Do all restoration contractors share the same culture in safety, quality, management and financial stability? Is the restoration contractor a small company where the principal does the sales, estimating, project management, billing, etc.? Will the contractor be around during the warranty period if a problem should arise? Does the contractor have enough resources (manpower, equipment, knowledge) to handle any unforeseen conditions or delay?