Good plans shape good decisions…
Community Planners (CPLLC) begins many of its engagements by providing communities a long term capital plan and reserve study…what we refer to as a “Facility Plan” or “Plan”.
Facility Plans are the most important work Association (HOA) Boards undertake.
They provide a plan for:
1. The replacement of common elements for which a community is responsible,
2. Raising the future funds to pay for that work, and;
3. Building community consensus that the Facility Plan represents sound choices about maintaining community property over time.
Perhaps of more importance, CPLLC also sees the Facility Plan process as a stage from which to communicate a host of ideas – the Board’s vision for the community today and tomorrow…the cost of ownership over time…a very public conversation about a community’s business/buying practices…and more. These ideas define the community’s culture, governance, resources, and value for many years to come.
The Plan, once complete, provides the stage for a never ending, on-going discussion about the future of the community in an ever changing world.
While the Facility Plan process is extremely hard work, once complete, the Plan bestows incredible value to a community…demonstrating to Owners (present and future) that the community will be maintained and that there are resources for that work to happen.
There are three essential phases to our Facility Plan process; Information Gathering, Plan Draft and Community Presentation.
Knowledge starts with Information.
While consultants bring experience and training to evaluating the physical condition of a property, it is the Owners who are the experts about their community. They have a distinct perspective concerning how the property functions; and, can provide unique insights and information regarding property conditions past and present. Community Planners (CPLLC) listens.
All CPLLC Facility Plans begin with a thorough on-site inspection of building components, a review of original construction drawings and maintenance records as they are available, as well as quantifying Community site and building elements.
The intent of this work is to:
1. Establish the quantity of each common element (i.e., roofing, pavement, etc) for which the Association is responsible;
2. Estimate the remaining useful life of each common element; and,
3. Estimate repair and/or replacement costs for each common element today…as well as in the future.
In order to achieve a full understanding of the community’s needs, and establish a historical perspective of the property; CPLLC may also perform resident surveys, interviews with management/staff responsible for upkeep or repair of the property, and archival research with local building departments.
Finally, in those instances where clients require more in-depth studies that address specific concerns, CPLLC will also provide structural reviews of buildings(conducted by a licensed, Professional Engineer), water damage surveys documenting damage and damage prevention, and building code compliance.
Regardless of the origin of the information, all of this work and information contributes to CPLLC’s understanding of the physical condition of the property and how the property conditions have evolved over time.
CPLLC can now prepare a Facility Plan Draft.
You write your first draft with your heart…and you rewrite it with your head.
Planning is a process that moves from general to specific…and preference to necessity…requiring thought and discussion. CPLLC embraces that fact.
When CPLLC writes and presents a draft of the Facility Plan (or “Plan”) to a Board for review and approval, always has three basic elements – a Narrative, a Schedule of Annual Projects and a Schedule of Cash Outlays.
The Narrative provides an overview of the community, instructions for using the plan, observations, pictures of existing conditions and assemblies, and CPLLC recommendations.
The Schedule of Annual Projects sets forth the details and timing of anticipated replacements or repairs to site and building elements – i.e., their quantity, cost, their anticipated year of replacement, their cost today, their projected cost when the work is to occur, and construction details that define the intended construction purchase (warranties and system performance information).
The Schedule of Cash Outlays sets forth the community’s long-term financial projections over time…usually a 10 or 20 year Plan. It also details the amount of funding required each year, the source of the funding, and the amount of reserves the HOA has at the start and end of each year.
Once the Board has approved a Facility Plan, it needs to be presented to the community – a Community Presentation – where it can advance the Board’s leadership agenda; and, more importantly, inform and benefit owners.
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
Communities are “big ships”…and developing mutual understanding and support of a Facility Plan is no small task. Therefore, the important information of the Facility Plan – the what/when/how much of the plan – is best delivered to community owners in a public meeting…providing the opportunity for owner inquiry and input concerning the Plan and its details. Depending upon the size of the community and the complexity of the Plan, Community Presentation of a Plan can occur in one or a series of meetings.
In terms of meeting content, Community Planners prefers to present these materials as a handout supported by a Powerpoint that addresses task areas – site, roofing, windows, etc. – supported by pictures of existing conditions and architectural details, and other information that support the Facility Plan findings. The Powerpoints can be made available to owners unable to attend presentations.
Once complete, a Facility Plan provides information to Boards and owners – present and future – concerning property preservation, a guide to the sequencing and cost of capital improvements in the community, and building community reserves.
It also provides very important information to owners – present and future – regarding the cost of ownership over time…which is ultimately, the information owners, and potential owners, really want to know.
Although the needs of the property drive the final configuration of any Facility Plan, this document is a good example of the general content our plans contain. In this instance, the plan led to a large scale capital improvement project which was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2010.
The analysis of the buildings conditions – and the context this information provided concerning the cost of ownership over time – proved invaluable information to the community as they reviewed (and discussed) project details and financing options relative to planned capital improvements in the community.
View sample plans on the Resources page.