Should Community Managers or Board Members Oversee, Manage or Direct Construction, Remodeling or Renovation Projects?

managementYou would think that no one in their right mind would want to step into a construction management role willingly, at least not without getting paid handsomely to take on that magnitude of responsibility and liability.  Consider that most larger jobs are plagued with change orders because it’s very difficult to predict with any certainly how much of the old existing timber, much of which is often hidden within the structure, is going to be compromised by either wood rot or termites.  In addition, many owners and board members decide they want to make changes as the project progresses, as their imaginations take flight.  Finally, jobs often change due to building department or financial constraints.  Essentially, larger construction and/or renovation projects are fluid and ever-changing. 

Yet despite even these challenges many board members insist that their community managers play the role of construction manager or construction consultant.  They want the community manager to be there to communicate to the contractor what the board wants done.  In other instances board members themselves take on the role of construction manager, often with duties that far exceed their capabilities or authority.

Why not hire an architect or construction manager?  There are two main reasons why the lapse in better judgment.  First, many boards think they can save money by using the HOA manager.  Second, many boards think that the HOA managers’ job description includes anything and everything they ask.  Of course what they don’t realize is that community managers are not “insured” for this role.

Last year contractor law was amended by AB 2237 which required unlicensed construction “consultants” that oversaw construction projects to be licensed by the CSLB.  Thereafter concern was raised that community managers “could be” considered consultants and thus needed a contractors license for obtaining bids and overseeing construction or maintenance projects at the HOA’s they managed.

The Community Association Institute’s (CAI) legislative arm, CLAC, and attorneys Kieran Purcell and Nancy Sidoruk of Epsten and Grinnell & Howell approached the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) with this dilemma.  The CSLB agreed that community managers were not meant to be defined as a “consultant” under AB 2237.  The amendment states that “The term “contractor” or “consultant” does not include a common interest development manager, as defined in Section 11501, and a common interest development manager is not required to have a contractor’s license when performing management services, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 11500.”

So, what exactly can community managers do with respect to construction and maintenance projects at their HOA’s?  Stay tuned! An HOA attorney will help us address that question in our upcoming Winter Issue of The Maintenance Manager.

2 thoughts on “Should Community Managers or Board Members Oversee, Manage or Direct Construction, Remodeling or Renovation Projects?

  1. Interesting article. Definitely a third party consultant with expertise in construction management/project management should be retained. In many instances where buildings are involved liability issues abound, and without knowledge of these issues, there can be extra costs incurred during construction.

    Property managers or board members generally do not have this expertise, nor do they have liability insurance in case of problems down the road. An Architect or Engineer is usually the professional choice for larger projects or where the building is being altered in any significant way.

  2. Reblogged this on duanetilden and commented:
    Interesting article. Definitely a third party consultant with expertise in construction management/project management should be retained. In many instances where buildings are involved liability issues abound, and without knowledge of these issues, there can be extra costs incurred during construction.

    Property managers or board members generally do not have this expertise, nor do they have liability insurance in case of problems down the road. An Architect or Engineer is usually the professional choice for larger projects or where the building is being altered in any significant way.

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