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