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Well-maintained Fences Make Good Neighbors

By Brian Dutra

Fences in common interest developments (CIDs) serve many purposes. The most obvious use of fences is to delineate spaces, such as patios, pools, parks, gardens, parking lots, etc. Fences also offer privacy and safety; and they can be a decorative hardscape component adding depth and texture to the property’s landscape. Whatever the use of your fences, it is important to know the life expectancy of these critical components so that your community can always be prepared to maintain and/or replace them when it is time.

What is the common denominator of wood and metal fence deterioration? Sun and moisture damage. But, if you follow some simple tips, you will maintain your fences and give them the long life they deserve. There is an old saying, "Good fences make good neighbors." But, in my opinion, the full version of that adage should state, "A well-maintained fence allows fences to look good and be tall for a long time; and good-looking and tall fences...

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Elevator 101 – Elevator Inspection Liability (Part 2)

Second in a series by Barry Robbins

It is widely acknowledged that elevators have significantly impacted architectural design and are an indispensable component of modern buildings, providing an efficient means of transporting people and goods between different floors. Interestingly, the story regarding the inventor of the elevator is that he never filed a patent and never realized the success of his invention, but his family name still remains one the most recognized in the world.

Elisha Graves Otis, a doll maker by profession, is credited with inventing the "Safety Elevator," which debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1853. Despite being 42 years old at the time of his invention, Otis did not live long enough to witness the widespread use of his creation, as he passed away at the age of 49. In addition to the elevator, Otis invented the steam engine, greatly facilitating the elevator’s vertical movement and making it faster.

The selection of the name "Safety...

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The Re-roofing Process

A checklist for HOAs

By Donna Vingo

Having an excellent roofing system can help protect a property owner’s greatest asset. Throughout the year, the change of seasons brings different challenges to the roof of a structure. From the sweltering summer heat to the deep freeze of winter, from strong winds or powerful rains to the wildfire dangers throughout California, having a roofing system that can withstand any of these challenges, let alone all of them, is an important protection against losing everything. This article is focused on providing the HOA board, the HOA roofing committee, and HOA homeowners with information on the re-roofing process.

The HOA board is responsible for two major tasks: making decisions and spending money. HOAs are nonprofit corporations that have as their principal asset the land and buildings in the HOA common areas, which can be valued from hundreds of thousands up to tens of millions of dollars. The HOA board is usually composed of volunteers...

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Elevator 101 – Knowledge is Control

(First in a series) By Barry Robbins

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

Elevators remain a mystery to property owners and managers even after years of operation. Elevators are elaborate systems that require specialized knowledge and expertise to understand and maintain properly. Their mechanics involve electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems requiring regular inspection, maintenance, and repair.

These complex machines rely on various components to function properly. Each component has a specific role to play in the operation of the elevator; a failure in any one component can result in serious safety concerns. Understanding the different types of elevator components can help building owners and property managers to better manage and maintain their elevators and ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants. In the articles to come, we will provide an "Elevator 101" primary education of these various components...

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Looking Beyond the Aesthetics

…and Putting Preventive Maintenance in Your Plan

By Wendy Benner Miller, CAM

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

Why is it that there is often a substantially greater demand, more community involvement, and increased interest in the timeline for new pool equipment or annual plantings in a common area space than a community-wide roof, balcony, or dry-rot inspection?

While that may seem like a silly question, it is often the one that gets the most attention when a problem arises and preventive maintenance is Beyond the Aesthetics Looking long past possible. You see, living in a common interest development often allows for residents to focus on the amenities that drew them to a homeowners’ association in the first place, be it the pool area, a clubhouse, a park or tot-lot, and, seemingly most often, the landscaping that is magically groomed by an outside source. The focus on these items, while important, often takes...

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Avoid the Collapse of Deferred Maintenance

By Andrea O’Toole, Rachel Miller, Tim Stauffer and Mary Prados Peterson

By now, most have seen the awful images of the collapsed Champlain Towers which resulted in nearly 100 deaths, countless injuries, property damage and unanswered questions about how this could have happened. While not every case of deferred maintenance has such catastrophic results, the Bay Area is not without its own examples. Six people died following a 2015 balcony collapse in Berkeley. That tragedy resulted in legislation affecting apartment buildings and, subsequently, condominium buildings. The protection of human life and avoidance of injury should be primary goals in determining why, when, and how community associations undertake maintenance, repair, and replacement. At the same time, protection of the property, and the association members’ significant investment in it, is also a key objective.

The authors of this article – a structural engineer, a community...

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