SERVICES

Our mission is to provide the best value to community associations by offering
a wide range of services and becoming the single point of contact for all
engineering and architectural related issues for an association board.

 

RESERVE STUDIES

We listen closely to client needs and work collaboratively in
defining the best possible funding strategies for our clients. 

Three Levels of
Reserve Studies

Level 1 - The first level, an initial Reserve Study, must be based upon a visual site inspection conducted by a Reserve Study Professional. Typically an association will only have one Level 1 reserve study completed.

Level 2 - At least once every three years, an updated Reserve Study must be prepared and based upon a visual site inspection conducted by a Reserve Study Professional. This is also known as an Update with Site Visit.

Level 3 - Every year, the Association is required by law to update the Reserve Study. Except as noted above, the annual updates do not require a site visit. This is also known as an Update without Site Visit.

 

Purpose of a Reserve Study

The purpose of a Reserve Study is to recommend a reasonable annual reserve Contribution Rate made by an association to its reserve account. Reserve accounts are established to fund major maintenance, repair, and replacement of common elements, including limited common elements, expected to be necessary within the next thirty years. A Reserve Study is intended to project adequate funds for the replacement or major repair of any significant component of the property as it becomes necessary without relying on special assessments. It is a budget planning tool which identifies the current status of the reserve account and a stable and equitable Funding Plan to offset the anticipated future major shared expenditures.

 

Components Evaluated for a Reserve Study

Components required to be included in a reserve study are slightly different for condominium associations and homeowners’ associations. Refer to the applicable government requirements listed below. Once the component list has been determined, each reserve component is evaluated to determine the current condition, the remaining useful life, and the estimated replacement cost. This information is combined into a spreadsheet to determine funding requirements and establish the annual contribution rate needed to minimize special assessments. All costs and annual reserve balances are shown in constant dollars, and with adjustments for annual inflation and interest earned. Ideally, an even level of contributions is established that maintains a positive balance in the reserve account over the timeline the study examines.

 

Fully Funded Balance

A Reserve Study also calculates a “Fully Funded Balance”. Fully Funded Balance is the sum total of the reserve components’ depreciated value using a straight line depreciation method.

When assessed with the current reserve balance, the Fully Funded Balance yields a Percent Fully Funded. This acts as a measuring tool to assess an association’s ability to absorb unplanned expenses. These expenses could be emergency repairs not covered by insurance, or expenses that differ from the existing Reserve Study in terms of timing or cost.

The Fully Funded Balance is neither the present replacement cost of all of the Association’s reserve components, nor does it have a mathematical relationship to the recommended reserve contribution funding plans.

 

Limitations and Assumptions of a Reserve Study

A Reserve Study is not a report on the condition of the buildings maintained by the Association, or a detailed report of repairs necessary to the building. It is also not an investigation into or comment on the quality of construction of the reserve components, or whether the construction complies with the building code or the requirements of the Washington Condominium or Homeowners' Association Act.

The observations made by RCL are limited to a visual inspection of a sample of the reserve components. Unless informed otherwise, our assumption is that the components are constructed in substantial compliance with the building code and to industry standards, and that it will receive ordinary and reasonable maintenance and repair by the Association. These assumptions include that most reserve components will achieve their normal useful lives for similar components in the Pacific Northwest, and that they will be replaced when necessary to prevent damage to other reserve components.

 

Condominium Associations – Government Requirements for a Reserve Study

The content of a Reserve Study for a condominium is regulated by the Washington State government (RCW 64.34.382 §2). The required content is:

(a)   A reserve component list, including roofing, painting, paving, decks, siding, plumbing, windows, and any other reserve component that would cost more than one percent of the annual budget for major maintenance, repair or replacement. If one of these reserve components is not included in the Reserve Study, the study should provide commentary explaining the basis for its exclusion. The study must also include quantities and estimates for useful life of each reserve component, remaining useful life of each reserve component, and current repair and replacement cost for each component;

(b)  The date of the study and a statement that the study meets the requirements of this section;

(c) The following level of reserve study performed: (i) Level I: Full reserve study funding analysis and plan; (ii) Level II: Update with visual site inspection; or (iii) Level III: Update with no visual site inspection;

(d) The association’s reserve account balance;

(e) The percentage of the fully funded balance that the reserve account is funded;

(f)  Special assessments already implemented or planned;

(g)  Interest and inflation assumptions;

(h) Current reserve account contribution rate;

(i) A recommended reserve account contribution rate; a contribution rate for a full funding plan to achieve one hundred percent fully funded reserves by the end of the thirty-year study period, a baseline funding plan to maintain the reserve balance above zero throughout the thirty-year study period without special assessments, and a contribution rate recommended by a reserve study professional;

(j)  A projected reserve account balance for thirty years and a funding plan to pay for projected costs from those reserves without reliance on future unplanned special assessments; and

(k) A statement on whether the reserve study was prepared with the assistance of a reserve study professional.

The Washington State government further requires the following disclosure in every Reserve Study (RCW 64.34.382 §3):

"This reserve study should be reviewed carefully. It may not include all common and limited common element components that will require major maintenance, repair, or replacement in future years, and may not include regular contributions to a reserve account for the cost of such maintenance, repair, or replacement. The failure to include a component in a reserve study, or to provide contributions to a reserve account for a component, may, under some circumstances, require you to pay on demand as a special assessment your share of common expenses for the cost of major maintenance, repair, or replacement of a reserve component."

The full Washington Condominium Act may be reviewed on the Washington State Legislature’s website at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=64.34 and parts 64.34.380 to 64.34.392 for the Reserve Study Amendment’s portions. In April 2011, the Act was amended to change the required content within the Reserve Studies, add reporting of the Reserve Study results as part of the budget summary to owners, and extend the Reserve Study requirement to condominium associations with significant assets. We refer to this as a Supplemental Budget Information (SBI) disclosure and provide an updated SBI at no additional charge if it is compiled within one year of the reserve study draft report issue date.

 

Homeowners’ Associations - Government Requirements for a Reserve Study

The content of a Reserve Study for a homeowners association is regulated by the Washington State government (RCW 64.38.070 §2). The required content is:

(a) A reserve component list, including any reserve component that would cost more than one percent of the annual budget of the association, not including the reserve account, for major maintenance, repair, or replacement. If one of these reserve components is not included in the Reserve Study, the study should provide commentary explaining the basis for its exclusion. The study must also include quantities and estimates for useful life of each reserve component, remaining useful life of each reserve component, and current repair and replacement cost for each component;

(b) The date of the study, and a statement that the study meets the requirements of this section;

(c) The following level of reserve study performed: (i) Level I: Full reserve study funding analysis and plan; (ii) Level II: Update with visual site inspection; or (iii) Level III: Update with no visual site inspection;

(d) The association’s reserve account balance;

(e) The percentage of the fully funded balance that the reserve account is funded;

(f) Special assessments already implemented or planned;

(g) Interest and inflation assumptions;

(h) Current reserve account contribution rates for a full funding plan and baseline funding plan;

(i) A recommended reserve account contribution rate; a contribution rate for a full funding plan to achieve one hundred percent fully funded reserves by the end of the thirty-year study period, a baseline funding plan to maintain the reserve balance above zero throughout the thirty-year study period without special assessments, and a contribution rate recommended by the reserve study professional;

(j) A projected reserve account balance for thirty years and a funding plan to pay for projected costs from those reserves without reliance on future unplanned special assessments; and

(k) A statement on whether the reserve study was prepared with the assistance of a reserve study professional.

The Washington State government further requires the following disclosure in every Reserve Study (RCW 64.38.070 §3):

"This reserve study should be reviewed carefully. It may not include all common and limited common element components that will require major maintenance, repair, or replacement in future years, and may not include regular contributions to a reserve account for the cost of such maintenance, repair, or replacement. The failure to include a component in a reserve study, or to provide contributions to a reserve account for a component, may, under some circumstances, require you to pay on demand as a special assessment your share of common expenses for the cost of major maintenance, repair, or replacement of a reserve component."

The full Washington Homeowners' Association Act may be reviewed on the Washington State Legislature’s website at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=64.38 and parts 64.38.065 to 64.38.090 for the Reserve Study Amendment’s portions. In April 2011, the Act was amended to change the required content within the Reserve Studies, add reporting of the Reserve Study results as part of the budget summary to owners, and extend the Reserve Study requirement to homeowners’ associations with significant assets. We refer to this as a Supplemental Budget Information (SBI) disclosure and provide an updated SBI at no additional charge if it is compiled within one year of the reserve study draft report issue date.

 

Supplemental Budget Information (SBI) Disclosure

RCL will compile a Supplemental Budget Information (SBI) disclosure at no additional charge within one year of issuing the draft report of an association’s reserve study.

RCW 64.34.308 (for condominiums) and RCW 64.38.028 (for homeowners’ associations) both require that within thirty days after adoption of any proposed budget for the association, the board of directors shall provide a summary of the budget to all the unit owners and shall set a date for a meeting of the unit owners to consider ratification of the budget not less than fourteen nor more than sixty days after mailing of the summary.

As part of the summary of the budget provided to all unit owners, the board of directors shall disclose to the unit owners:

(a) The current amount of regular assessments budgeted for contribution to the reserve account, the recommended contribution rate from the reserve study, and the funding plan upon which the recommended contribution rate is based;

(b) If additional regular or special assessments are scheduled to be imposed, the date the assessments are due, the amount of the assessments per each unit per month or year, and the purpose of the assessments;

(c) Based upon the most recent reserve study and other information, whether currently projected reserve account balances will be sufficient at the end of each year to meet the association's obligation for major maintenance, repair, or replacement of reserve components during the next thirty years;

(d) If reserve account balances are not projected to be sufficient, what additional assessments may be necessary to ensure that sufficient reserve account funds will be available each year during the next thirty years, the approximate dates assessments may be due, and the amount of the assessments per unit per month or year;

(e) The estimated amount recommended in the reserve account at the end of the current fiscal year based on the most recent reserve study, the projected reserve account cash balance at the end of the current fiscal year, and the percent funded at the date of the latest reserve study;

(f) The estimated amount recommended in the reserve account based upon the most recent reserve study at the end of each of the next five budget years, the projected reserve account cash balance in each of those years, and the projected percent funded for each of those years; and

(g) If the funding plan approved by the association is implemented, the projected reserve account cash balance in each of the next five budget years and the percent funded for each of those years.

 

 

 
 

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

We work with your community association to determine
what repairs should be completed within your budget.

There are five phases to a construction project. We can assist your association with any combination of these five phases:

1. Scope of Work – define what work needs to be completed

2. Design Specifications – clearly convey the scope of work to contractors

3. Pre-Construction – help the association find an appropriate contractor

4. Construction – provide oversight, third party inspections and protect the Association’s best interests as the association representative

5. Closure – ensure that all work is completed as contracted and to provide a final letter of compliance per RCW 64.55

We offer a full range of project management services from building inspections to project closure, and every step in between. Our services are customized to the needs of each association we work with.

Serving Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound Area, RCL .has overseen more than 25 million dollars’ worth of renovations, construction defect repairs, and the drafting of specifications for a client’s unique needs. Our experienced personnel have saved associations millions by reviewing the needs of planned projects and finding creative solutions to association’s budget needs.

We can schedule the work to meet your needs, whether multiple phases or all at once. While overseeing your construction process, we act as the homeowner representative so that the association's best interests are met. We insure that design specifications are followed and a quality job is done. Our certified inspectors fulfill the requirements of RCW 64.55 for an independent inspector who certifies a contractor's substantial compliance with the design documents for building envelope repair projects. We strive for transparency and are available to attend board or general meetings to explain how or why work is being done.

 
 

Scope of Work

 

Inspections are completed to determine what work, if any, needs to be completed. Building inspections vary in cost according to the number of building components that are inspected and whether we complete a visual inspection or an “intrusive inspection” where building components are removed to determine if there is unseen damage. Building inspections are typically the first required step so that an accurate scope of work can be determined.

Types of inspections include:

Building Envelope Inspections

Building envelope inspections are conducted in response to a water penetration problem. These inspections are intrusive and destructive, meaning the building will be cut into until the source of the problem is identified for correction. Typically several locations will be chosen around the association to be opened up. Following the inspection, the building will be sealed again. 

These are typically done prior to major remediation work by the association to determine the scope of work that needs to be done to alleviate the water penetration problems. The inspection will include a list of repairs that should be made, both immediately and in the following phases, to create a plan of action.

 

Preventative Maintenance Plans and Inspections

These create a specific plan of inspections and services to be completed on a regular schedule. They may include daily, weekly, monthly, or annual tasks performed by the association and its employees, or by vendors and consultants. This process typically includes production of an annual schedule of maintenance, repairs and inspections, along with instructions for each task to be performed. Individual inspections are to determine the current condition of a building component, the need for repairs, and the rate of deterioration. Inspection and service reports should be reviewed over time to determine the best schedule to effectively maintain the building. These reports provide a record of the maintenance being conducted. Types of tasks to be scheduled could include annual fire safety inspections, gutter cleaning or landscape inspections. We also recommend annual homeowner surveys be conducted.

Government and commercial facility managers have long embraced scheduled preventative maintenance programs to ensure that inspections and routine tasks are completed on time, and that the most cost effective schedule of repairs is completed. Residential building managers have only recently adopted this practice. Preventive Maintenance programs help ensure that buildings are maintained in a manner that preserves the appearance and integrity of the buildings. It can also protect warranties provided by the developer, contractors, or manufacturers. Some new associations have these implemented to ensure that the association’s obligation to provide routine maintenance is completed, and the developer’s obligations are not compromised.

 

Maintenance Priority Report

A Maintenance Priority Report provides the Association with clear and obtainable maintenance goals. The report takes the information gathered in an inspection and provides the Association with a list of work that we recommended be completed

  • immediately,
  • within the current year,
  • within the next year,
  • within 4 – 5 years and
  • at the end of the component’s life cycle

 

Turnover Inspections when associations assume control of buildings

This is an inspection intended to identify maintenance and construction problems in existence at the time the association assumes control from the developer. This scope could vary from creating a “punch-list” of minor repairs for the developer to correct, to identifying construction defects similar to a warranty inspection (below), to identifying maintenance activities the association needs to immediately start performing to keep the buildings in good condition. Often this is used to document known problems that the developer is still responsible for completing. The scope of the inspection may be to document each specific repair task (as in noting every location that paint needs to be touched up), or could document typical construction details that need attention, with the expectation that they would be resolved at all locations that they occur. An outside construction professional may be asked to give an opinion about what items the developer might reasonably be expected to fix, and what represents sound engineering and construction practice.

“Punch-lists” might also be prepared by unit owners through use of a questionnaire; association members might walk around and document minor problems; or a construction professional may be called in to complete such an inspection. This is sometimes done with the cooperation of the developer who is trying to make a clean transition in responsibility from the developer to the homeowners’ association.

 

Warranty Inspections of New Construction or Major Repairs

A general inspection of the condominiums intended to provide an opinion as to whether the buildings are constructed in compliance with the Washington Condominium Act. RCW 64.34.445 requires that the building are: free from defective materials; constructed in accordance with sound engineering and construction standards, in a workmanlike manner, and in compliance with all laws applicable at the time of construction; and that the buildings are constructed consistent with the Public Offering Statement or other written plans and specifications provided by the developer at the time of sale of the units.

This type of inspection would review known problems identified by the homeowners’ association, and investigate the building for common construction defects typical for that type of building construction. This is primarily a visual inspection, with limited destructive testing to inspect the integrity of the building. Where specific problems are suspected or commonly found, extra attention is expended. Because thorough inspection involves damaging the building, a balance between the damage made and the additional information expected to be found must be struck. This inspection is intended to sample pieces of the building to provide some assurance that the building either conforms or does not conform to the requirements of the statute.

A warranty inspection requires expertise in both law and construction. This type of inspection must be completed prior to the warranty expiration (typically four years from the date the first unit is sold). If sufficient problems are discovered from a general review of the building, additional specialized investigation may be required at the direction of an attorney to identify every possible defect in construction. Inspections on individual building components may be required by separate experts who can credibly testify in court on that specific building material and construction practice. These inspections are frequently completed under the direction of an attorney.

 

Specialized Individual Component Inspections

This is an inspection and evaluation of an individual building component or problem area. Typical of this would be roof inspections, or leak investigations. The goal is usually to determine the exact causes of the problem so that remedial repairs can be made. Often a construction professional will not be called in until several attempts by contractors have failed to solve a known problem. Sometimes an assessment of different repair or replacement alternatives is completed, with a recommendation to the association

This work is usually performed by a consultant with expertise and experience with the specific building component. The primary goal is usually to correct the problem. Sometimes this type of inspection will be used to enforce warranties from manufacturers, contractors, and developers.

 

Construction Inspections for New Construction or Major Repairs

This is an inspection of work typically performed during or at completion of construction by a contractor. Occasionally, the inspection is performed just prior to the expiration of the warranty period offered by the contractor or manufacturer. This is done to help ensure that repair work contracted for by an association is completed as promised and in compliance with industry standards. Frequently roofs are inspected during installation both by the association, and also by a manufacturer who may be providing a warranty.

These inspections are usually performed by a consultant with training, expertise and experience with the specific building component. The primary goal is to ensure that the work is done correctly so that it will perform well over time. Sometimes fees for these inspections are based on a percentage of the cost to perform the work, other times it is done on an hourly basis. Photographs and detailed reports are often used to document the work performed.

 

Performance Inspections

Some associations require an annual performance inspection of different components of their building. They typically survey a specific part of the building, such as the building envelope system and any major interior systems such as elevators or plumbing lines, to assess their condition. Afterwards, they recommend changes to the maintenance plan based on the observed condition of the different components. Follow up reports will also determine whether or not the recommendations were being followed.

 
 

Design Specifications

 

Once an inspection has been completed and maintenance priorities defined, design specifications can be compiled to provide a single, comprehensive scope of work for a contractor to follow. When multiple contractors bid a price to perform this work, they all receive the exact same information on what work is to be performed. 

By having the same baseline for work, the bids remain competitive without confusion over what work is to be performed. Any questions the contractors have during the bidding process are answered by us and distributed to all of the contractors.

A great deal of construction defects have to do either with poor specifications, undeveloped design or not building according to the contract documents. It is therefore very critical to find the right professional to do your design and your oversight to ensure that the work is done completely and correctly.

Benefits of using RCL:

  • Guarantee that contractors are bidding on the same scope of work
  • Prevent contractors from cutting corners
  • Custom design work that fits your needs and budget
  • Specifications for particular products and methods of construction
  • Get the most out of your money when the job is done right the first time

Included with our Design Specifications

  • Permit drawings
  • Waterproofing details
  • Building code compliance
  • Specification of materials
  • Assist contractor with getting building permit

 

 
 

Pre-Construction

 

The pre-construction phase is a critical component to getting the construction process off on the right foot. We will provide an analysis of contingency budget to balance a contingency budget that is appropriate for your association’s unique needs.

We also assist with selecting a contractor. The Design Specifications provide a specific guide for contractors to bid from, which will ensure the contractors are all bidding the same scope of work with the same level of finishes. We will issue the bids, collect the bids and produce a bid spreadsheet for association to review and choose. We will also assist with verifying contractors’ insurance and bonds.

 
 

Construction

 

Once a contractor has been selected, we will act as a liaison with the contractor's assigned point personnel. We will typically visit the site one – three times per week, depending on the work being performed, to monitor compliance with the contract documents. Our site visit will assure that the design being built according to the design specifications. We will maintain a photographic and work log of progress and prepare weekly meeting reports.

Our interaction with the contractor includes payment requisition review and disbursement procedures, change order approval, analysis and review. We will review partial waivers of liens and testing reports. We will also track the percentage of work-in-place and funds available to complete the project. We will act as the homeowners’ representative in dispute resolution.

 
 

Closure

 

We work with the contractor to ensure that the project is completed before closeout. We will generate a “punch list” of items the contractor needs to complete before closeout and follow up to be sure each item has been adequately addressed. We will issue a final letter of compliance per RCW 64.55

We have expertise in a wide variety of projects

  • Siding repair and replacement
  • Windows replacement
  • Roofing repair and replacement
  • Deck refurbishment
  • Plumbing replacement
  • Painting
  • Asphalt repairs or replacement
  • Fire damage restoration

For a free project management bid, we initially need to know specific details about your project which are best communicated verbally. Please contact us at 206.523.3248.