If someone asked you what are the duties of a Condominium Board of Directors you might answer “making rules about noise and parking.” Condo boards do that and a lot more.
Some of the responsibilities include:
• Enforce the documents
• Establish sound fiscal policies and maintain accurate records
• Develop a workable budget, keeping in mind the needs, requirements and expectations of the community
• Establish reserve funds
• Act on budget items and determine assessment rates
• Collect assessments
• Establish, publicize, and enforce rules and penalties
• Authorize legal action against owners who do not comply with the rules
• Review local laws before passing rules or sending bylaws to membership for approval
• Appoint committees and delegate authority to them
• Select an attorney, an auditor, insurance agent and other professionals for the association
• Provide adequate insurance coverage, as required by the bylaws and local governmental agencies.
• Inform board members of all business items that require their vote
• Inform members of important board decisions and transactions
• See that the association is protected for the acts of all parties with fiscal responsibilities
When you think about it, those are all prudent things to do to keep order and maintain financial security for all owners. But shouldn’t a board also check to make sure the building(s) are structurally sound and not falling apart?
When buildings get old, there is often damage to concrete, steel, plumbing, balconies and railings that can cause very unsafe situations. Most of these problems are hidden until the damage is significant.
If you search the news for “condo structural damage” you will find real-life headlines like “Second building evacuated after more cracks found at condo” and “Condo resident injured when railing fails.” Natural erosion, rust, and just age will wear on any structure to varying degrees. Water is probably the most dangerous and the most common cause of major structural damage.
A structural engineer with experience doing inspections can find damage that other inspectors may miss. Justin Hall, P.E. has been preparing reports and when necessary testimony in court for situations where damage a construction defects have resulted in dangerous situations and the need for expensive repairs.
Justin Hall can be reached at