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Criterium-Dudka Engineers Blog

New Construction is Predictable. Or is it?

In fact, new construction is anything but predictable. However, we often make that ASSUMPTION. In fact, we make a lot of assumptions about new construction. That’s what this article is about, ASSUMPTIONS. By the way, the following applies equally well to renovation projects.

If you are considering having a new home built, how many of the following assumptions have you made? You may have made some of these assumptions consciously whereas others may be unconscious; you just never thought about them. Making any of the following assumptions will typically lead to unsatisfactory results and, even worse, legal disputes that could go on for a long time and consume significant financial resources. These are some of the more significant assumptions:

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Municipal and Association Responsibility

Homeowners new and old to association living question why they have to pay monthly dues or assessments, particularly for items such as trash removal and sidewalk repair. Aren’t those covered by the local municipal government? In reality, these services are quickly becoming the sole responsibility of community associations across the country.

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How to Sell the Results of a Reserve Study Without a Revolt

While the importance of associations building a strong reserve fund is no mystery to you, raising fees or assessments is often a sensitive subject with homeowners. Every association needs a long-term planning goal, and a reserve study creates an accurate timetable for all major improvements.

FIDICUARY DUTY

One of the primary business duties of community associations is maintaining and preserving property values of the associations’ common property. To do this properly, associations must develop funding plans for future repair or replacement of major common-area components.

A reserve study is a budget-planning tool that identifies the current status of the reserve fund and establishes a stable and equitable funding plan to offset the anticipated future major common-area expenditures. Being prepared for non-annual expenses allows your association to change the unexpected to the expected. Reserve studies are one of the best strategies for financial and physical health at the association’s disposal. In order to keep the replacement costs current, the reserve study should be updated (with a site visit) every three to four years.

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The Home Inspector’s Role in the Home Buying Transaction

As I have traversed this great state of MA and spoken to home buyers, Realtors, mortgage companies, and even warranty companies, the message from each group varies:

“Are you a deal killer?”

“Is the home safe and built properly?”

“Is this property/asset worth the asking price?”

“Is something going to go wrong once the deal is closed?”

Each group has their own perspective and, quite frankly a valid and vested interest to protect the role they play in the transaction.   Misrepresentation of a property affects the seller starting with their disclosure survey all the way to the buyer, and everyone in between.  And despite the root cause, everyone’s reputation takes a hit.  And we know one bad internet review can have a significant impact.

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New Construction: If It's New, Is It Good?

How good is new construction in the United States and Canada? Generally, it is pretty good, but there are some significant areas of concern.

Our goal is to provide information that will allow quality-oriented builders to improve upon the products they deliver.

The following is based on information and opinions gathered from the more than 70 offices of Criterium Engineers. Criterium Engineers is a network of affiliated offices throughout North America, in 35 states and British Columbia, Canada. The objective was to identify problem areas that have significant impact on the functional performance and quality "feel" of new homes. We asked our engineers just one question – "What problems are you finding?" An item made it to our list if we received the same response from various offices so as to consider it widespread geographically.

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DECKS AND BALCONIES - Source of pleasure and problems

 Pieces of concrete falling from above.  Party goers falling from a failing deck.  Children falling through a railing.  These are any association manager's nightmare.  But they do happen.  We've seen them.

Decks and balconies are architectural features that greatly enhance the enjoyment of single family, multifamily, and town homes, as well as most condominium complexes.  Yet we find that they are often the cause of many expensive problems.  Further, if left to deteriorate, they can be downright dangerous.

What causes the problem?  Most often, as with many building problems, the culprit is moisture.

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Seven Things You Must Know Before Conducting Your Next Reserve Study

CRITERIUM ENGINEERS in Association with Mitchell H. Frumkin, P.E., R.S

One of the primary business duties of Community Associations is maintaining and preserving property values of the Associations common property. To do this properly, Associations must develop funding plans for future repair or replacement of major common-area components. A Reserve Study is a budget planning tool that identifies the current status of the Reserve fund and a establishes a stable and equitable funding plan to offset the anticipated future major common-area expenditures. The Reserve Study consists of two parts: the physical analysis and the financial analysis.

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Building Codes - Myths and Reality

What is a building code? Is it a law? Or a guideline? Or a voluntary standard?

What do building codes mean to my home?

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Mold - Hype or Real Risk?

Increasingly, we are talking about specific kinds of mold, not just old mold. Is this a new problem or just one that our technology is now allowing us to detect more effectively?

Are we overreacting or should we be concerned? If we should be concerned, what products or actions are most effective? Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer.

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Stairways and Decks Aren’t Safe Unless their Railings Are Secure

You’re standing in the basement waiting for a friend, who is following you down the stairs.  Missing a step, your friend reaches for the railing, which breaks away from the wall.  This will not end well for your friend, who may be seriously injured or worse; a

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