It’s good news that the Florida Legislature and Gov. DeSantis have taken decisive action to safeguard Florida’s condominium housing stock.

The new laws requiring mandatory building safety inspections and corresponding financial reserves will ultimately make Florida condominiums safer and protect real estate values.

It’s so good that we’ve set ourselves on a course to sleep peacefully once again.

Many people did heroic work to make this possible. Dedicated condominium owners, engineers, lawyers and public officials put in long hours to hammer out the recommendations that were ultimately turned into law with the overwhelming support of our representatives in Tallahassee.

But frankly, we’ll soon learn that passing the new laws was the easy part. Making the required repairs will be much harder.

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 and homeowners communities.

Structural restoration projects at hi-rise condominiums can easily cost $5 million to $10 million or even more. One condominium I know of is preparing to spend $25 million to repair concrete on the building fašade and balconies, replace cracking stucco and install new waterproofing systems around windows, doors, the pool and the garage.

Even in the best of times, construction projects of this magnitude are hard. So hard, in fact, that most are months late, millions over budget or both. And that’s even when the projects are run by experienced developers and builders who do this for a living.

A notice stating the building is unsafe is posted to the door of a condo at Villa Bianca Condominiums on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Coral Springs. The building was deemed unsafe by the City of Coral Springs after a failure to complete its 40-year building inspection. Under a new state law, those inspections will be required throughout Florida.

Condominium association board members are unpaid volunteers who govern their community’s affairs in their spare time. So, while many are accomplished professionals in their own fields, they aren’t prepared for the complexities and problems that come with every construction project or the vast amount of their own personal time it takes to execute a project successfully.

What’s more, the current construction situation in Florida hasn’t been this challenging since the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Qualified engineers and contractors are so busy, they’re turning away new projects. Permit approvals are moving slowly through overwhelmed building departments. The cost of building supplies changes weekly. Items that used to take weeks to arrive are taking months.

Responsibility for coping with these challenges can’t simply be passed off to engineers, architects or contractors. Condominium unit owners — and their representatives on the board — are the ones with skin in the game. They carry the financial risk of a project. They safeguard a community’s limited funds, and they play the most important role in achieving a project’s success and long-lasting quality.

In its next session, the Florida Legislature should discuss and pass new measures to help condominium communities cope with the complicated implications of the new building safety mandates. Failure to do so will lead to chaos.

In the meantime, wise condominium communities will look for help. It makes great sense for condo associations to consider hiring an independent, professional project management company that will act solely on behalf of the community.

Qualified owners’ representative firms such as DSS Condo, where I work, are not a discretionary “nice-to-have” on a complex condominium restoration project. Now, more than ever, firms like DSS Condo are a necessity.

Such a firm coordinates the people, equipment, materials, schedules and money required to successfully complete a project; offers experience and subject-matter expertise in all aspects of construction, including engineering and design; and brings a deep understanding of condo association governance, politics and the unique challenges of executing a disruptive construction project in a fully occupied residential condominium.

You wouldn’t go to court without a lawyer. Condominium associations shouldn’t execute a complicated and expensive construction project without an owners’ rep guiding them through the process, helping to make smart decisions, protecting the community’s interests and saving the community money.