by Adia Walker / Published June 2014
As the rest of the country begins to warm up during the spring and summer months, community associations in Florida experience a decrease in occupancy and activity. Snowbirds head north to reconnect with family and friends, and the stream of vacationers weary of snow and cold temperatures slowly dries up. Experienced community association management teams often anticipate this annual trend and plan to take advantage of the season by tackling a to-do list of work projects that can be accomplished more easily in the summer.
Many vendors are also aware of this cycle and are prepared to handle the increase in certain types of business that often occur. “We start filling our summer months with work as early as January as a lot of our clients prefer to complete their surface treatments and roadway work once their winter residents return home for the summer,” says Connie Lorenz, President, Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, Inc. “This makes it easier for everyone as there are less people to inform and work around as well as more parking options.”
“Summer is easier to tackle some of your roadway and parking lot projects as there is less traffic on your roadways and, therefore, less opportunity for damage to your new asphalt repairs and surface treatments,” continues Lorenz. “We have some communities that truly respect our work zone, whereas others seem to be oblivious to our orange safety vests and heavy equipment and make our work area quite dangerous for my team. I can honestly say my crew prefers the slow season and warmer weather as to the cooler weather and heavier traffic.”
The decrease in residents is not the only reason to wait until summer: the warm temperatures and longer days also create advantageous working conditions for a variety of tasks such as painting, landscaping, roofing, and other exterior maintenance jobs.
Utilizing the summer months to accomplish work around the association should not be a last-minute decision. In most instances, there are many steps that must be taken in order to successfully implement a project from start to finish.
“Knowing that the summer season is approaching, some boards of directors pre-approve certain maintenance agreements to commence throughout the summer,” says David Burman, President of Aegis Community Management Solutions, Inc. “Having a sequential roster of projects underway will help take advantage of the favorable weather and longer days of summer.”
By obtaining early approval and setting timeframes for each project, associations can accomplish their summer work goals in an organized fashion. Conducting research, identifying the right company, and making the necessary preparations can take some time. And, as Lorenz indicated, some businesses begin filling their calendars as early as January. Collaboration between vendors and association management can often be a lengthy process.
“We are very excited about our summer projects as we are working with an amazing community, Spruce Creek Preserve in Dunnellon, Florida, on treating their roadways with our proprietary asphalt rejuvenator PDC,” says Lorenz. “We have been working with this board since January, and once we were awarded the project, we have been working with their board on creating an asphalt maintenance program to help them get the most out of their current asphalt cap. This board is very educated, and we have learned a lot from them about how to work with communities this large. Their manager, Steve Butts, has been an amazing asset to the project, and I am very excited to see this project completed! It is so amazing to work with a board that has nothing but the best interest of their residents and community in mind!”
While summer can be a great time to tackle a lot of necessary work around community associations, it is not always the best time for certain projects. Some materials and processes are best applied in cooler temperatures, and many maintenance jobs require access to residents’ units.
“Central Florida enjoys a dense population of seasonal residents, and many units are empty over the summer season,” says Burman. “When possible, maintenance during these months is usually limited to projects that do not require the coordination of unit-by-unit access. Exterior painting, elevator refits, paving, and roofing projects do not generally require access to the units and can be accomplished during the months when the highest number of units sit empty. Projects such as dryer duct maintenance, HVAC drain cleaning, and life safety system certifications are simpler when more owners are available to coordinate access.”
Understanding the extent of your projects can help you decide which ones can easily be accomplished during the slow season. By talking to subject matter experts and asking detailed questions to your vendors, you will be able to make an informed decision that will benefit everyone involved. This information should be gathered before you start the planning process to ensure maximum success.
“The downfall of waiting until summer is that depending on what type of surface treatment your community is applying will determine the success of your project,” explains Lorenz. “Water-based emulsions aren’t really best applied during the summer months due to the summer rains and heat, whereas our asphalt rejuvenator performs best in the summer months as the rain helps our process cure faster.”
Taking the time to research all the steps involved in whatever project your community association needs done will increase the likelihood of success. Careful consideration of expert advice will also contribute to attaining your goals.
“We make a recommendation to our clients to complete their asphalt repairs in the winter and early spring to allow them more curing time before applying a surface treatment in the spring and summer,” says Lorenz. “Our asphalt rejuvenator can be applied year round, whereas water-based sealcoats might be best applied in the fall, winter, and early spring months.”
As the saying goes, there is a time and a place for everything. We hope this summer is a great time for a wide variety of summer projects in your community.