Prepare for the Future with a Reserve Fund Study

November 23, 2016

Many condo boards and strata councils are consistently faced with unexpected building repairs that can be costly and inconvenient for tenants. Having a properly conducted reserve fund study (RFS) in place is an ideal safeguard for a condominium’s well-being. Routine reviews of a building’s envelope, components and systems can reveal future underlying building issues and information that would otherwise go unnoticed. This information is invaluable to a condo board or strata council and allows them to determine the proper funds needed for future repairs.

When a reserve fund study is needed?

An initial RFS is required after the first year of the condominium is registered and subsequently updated at least every five years. The five-year review is required by law to ensure that reasonable funds are provided to meet the future needs of the condominium for the repair or replacement of major items. If there are building deficiencies observed in the first year of a building’s existence, it is recommended that the issues be quantified with the help of a consultant. This allows concerns to be documented and communicated appropriately with the developer and property manager. There are various warranties that help cover deficiencies, including home warranty insurance that is mandatory for a developer or builder to carry that covers building envelope items for up to five years.

What a reserve fund study looks at?

An RFS is a review of the number of funds that should be made available to a strata council or condominium board. A physical review of the building envelope and other building components helps establish the total amount of finances that should be in reserve when the time comes for any maintenance or repairs.

Reviews should look at a building closely and how each of its systems works together to protect a building from heat loss and water movement. Building reviews observe roofing, walls, windows, penetrations and foundation systems. Often, other engineering disciplines and services contribute to the RFS and can provide the condo’s governing body with additional solutions regarding current or potential problems. These disciplines typically include structural, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering services. Working with a consultant that understands the significance of how each of the systems work and how they should work together provides owners and the buildings’ governing body a well-rounded level of expertise.

Engineering consultants can help with annual reviews and provide direction when it comes to building maintenance and repair. As a provider of consultant of engineering services, Williams Engineering educates a building’s governing body about current or potential building issues and confirms everything is performing as intended, which helps provide building owners and tenants the peace of mind they deserve.