Twelve Ways an Owners’ Representative Will Save Your Condominium Association’s Money
By Adam Snitzer, CFO / Published May 2023
Condominium finances present a special challenge.After all, association board members aren’t just managing their own money.They have a responsibility to ensure that the entire community’s money is spent wisely and put toward long-lasting investments.This is especially hard because most condominiums’ financial reserves are limited, and very few unit owners are enthusiastic about special assessments.
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So, when it comes to large renovation projects, condominium association board members are caught between a rock and a hard place.On one hand, they have a fiduciary and statutory responsibility to maintain the building and its amenities.On the other hand, they’re held accountable by dozens—if not hundreds—of unit owners for getting it all done without wasting a dime.
The problem is that most association board members aren’t construction professionals.So, when it comes to major renovation projects, it’s all too easy to make rookie mistakes that wind up costing communities hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars unnecessar-ily. Without an expert to guide you…
Your construction documents may be incompleteor confusing, leading tocostly change orders.
You may choose a generalcontractor based primarilyon price without enoughconsideration for the long-term quality of their workmanship and value of theirwarranties.
You may sign a constructioncontract that inadequatelyprotects the association,exposing you to delays andextra charges.
You may fail to properly manage project logistics, resulting incostly do-overs.
You may miss opportunities to protect your association frominflation through vendor negotiations and advance purchasing ofbuilding materials.
You may accept product specifications from your engineerwithout exploring lower-cost alternatives that will do the job justas well.
That’s where an owners’ representative like DSS Condo comes in.An owners’ representative’s services are among the best investments an association can make during a large renovation or restoration project.That’s because a good owners’ representative is likely to save your association two to three times what you pay them.
How is that possible, you ask? Here’s how.
Researching options—An owners’ representative will provide alternatives for materials, labor, and construction methods that will save yourassociation money.
Networking—An owners’ representative will have a network of contactsin the construction industry that can be used to find better and cheaperways to do things.
Utilizing their experienceand knowledge—An owners’representative has a wealthof experience and knowledgein the construction industry,which can be used to findbetter and cheaper ways todo things.
Identifying opportunitiesfor savings—An owners’representative will be constantly looking for opportunities to save money, such asby identifying ways toreduce waste, streamlineprocesses, or negotiate betterdeals with vendors andcontractors.
Finding alternatives—Anowners’ representative willfind alternatives to expensivematerials, labor, and services, such as by using lessexpensive materials that arejust as effective, or by finding less expensive construction processes.
Practicing innovation—Anowners’ representative willbe open to new and innovative ways of doing things, such as by utilizing newtechnologies or findingnew ways to use existingmaterials.
Utilizing their understanding of the local market—An owners’ representative is familiar with the local marketand will find the best deals onmaterials, labor, and services.
Collaborating with theteam—An owners’ representative will collaborate withthe other members of theproject team to find the bestand most cost-effective solutions for the project as wellas to ensure coordinationamong all parties involvedin the project, which willprevent costly misunderstandings and expensivedelays.
Controlling cost overruns—An owners’ representativewill identify and mitigatepotential cost overruns byclosely monitoring the budgetand keeping all parties ac-countable for staying within it.
Managing change orders—An owners’ representative willmanage change orders byclosely monitoring the scope of the project and ensuring thatany changes are necessary andthat the cost of the changes arefair and reasonable.
Maintaining the schedule—An owners’ representativewill identify and mitigatepotential delays by closelymonitoring the schedule,ensuring that all necessaryinformation is provided in atimely manner, and keepingall parties accountable formeeting deadlines.
Enforcing contracts and minimizing risks—An owners’ representative will manage and enforce contracts by ensuring that all parties are meeting their obligations and that any disputes are resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner.
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It’s important to note that every project is different, and the ways an owners’ representative will find better and cheaper ways to do things will depend on the specific project and the owners’ needs.
But the truth is, too many board members think about an owners’ representative as an extra expense to add to a renovation project’s cost.The reality is quite different. Communities that decide to move ahead with a major renovation project without expert guidance are taking a huge and potentially very expensive risk.
The age-old adage applies: “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” In the end, with the right owners’ representative your project will cost far less.
Chief Financial Officer, DSS Condo, LLC
Adam Snitzer is chief financial officer of DSS Condo, LLC, South Florida’s only construction project management/owners’ representative firm specializing exclusively in serving condominium association and homeowners’ association communities. “What I love most about my job,” he says, “is the way we save our clients so much money.” He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about DSS Condo, visit www.dsscondo.com.
Professional Growth Through Learning
FCAP (Florida Community Association Professionals) is a member-based professional organization dedicated to training, equipping and advocating for Florida community association professionals including managers, service providers and community volunteer leaders.