Exterior Paint Project
If you have ever managed a construction project, then you know that what would seemingly be a basic task is actually the greatest challenge: obtaining bids with the identical job scopes. Putting together a detailed “RFP” (aka Request for Proposal) for the bidders to work off of is the first and most important step.
A board member’s function should be limited to decision-making, and the manager of the homeowners association is charged with the task of providing board members with the tools needed to make those decisions.
Second only to re-piping, an exterior painting project could very well be the most complex and the important improvement a manager can undertake. In some cases a construction consultant and or a project manager will tend to the details involved in coordinating painting projects. However, most associations don’t have a budget for such experts and the burden falls onto the property manager.
The end result of a painting project, if successful, can have a significant impact on each and every unit in the building. When the building is painted several other factors must be taken into consideration. Other repairs and maintenance, sometimes deferred, must be addressed as part of the painting project. Examples include stucco cracks, decorative wood facia and iron work.
If your building has decorative wood with dry rot or termite damage, it is important to make sure that the bidders have carefully inspected the property. The painting contract should indicate that the total cost includes all exterior wood replacement as may be necessary. This will prevent costly change orders down the line.
Vetting bidders in advance to ensure their crew is capable of these additional repairs is important. Some painting companies are not equipped to handle larger projects, and rely on sub-contractors to replace rotted wood and repair stucco. This can account for otherwise inexplicable cost gaps when comparing bids.
Job walk. There should only be one at the start with all of the bidders, board members and the property/project manager. Otherwise, it may prove difficult for a five-member board to meet all of the contractors and have initial discussions. This is a good opportunity for the board and manager to observe the contractors’ actions and recommendations as a first impression.
A bid matrix is perhaps the most important tool a board can use to make informed decisions. It should be the property/project manager’s responsibility to:
1) Identify inconsistencies in the proposals.
2) Communicate with the bidders to obtain revised proposals with equivalent data consistent with the RFT job scope.
3) Provide the board with a spreadsheet/matrix that clearly outlines matching application methods, material choices, warranty levels at each vendors’ comparable price point.
High Grade Materials.
There are three material selections that will have a significant outcome in terms of cost, work product, longevity and warranties:
1) Wood vs. composite.
Often times the decorative facia pieces being replaced are old and do not conform with today’s standard sizes, which can make replacement with a composite material a challenge. However, if a composite material is available, its durability makes it an interesting option well worth considering.
2) Elastomeric vs. acrylic paint.
Elastomeric paint has rubberized properties which can be beneficial in many ways compared to its acrylic counterpart. Advantages of elastomeric paint include reduced hairline stucco cracks over time, stronger resistance to water intrusion and a longer useful life. Elastomeric paint isn’t appropriate for all construction types, and is considerably more expensive, so consultation with an expert is highly recommended.
3) Paint selection.
Depending on factors such as Geographic location, climate and construction type this can very well be the most important decision the board can make. Within each quality brand, there are lines specific to quality as well as the type of surface being painted. Also, there are paint manufacturers who offers free project management services (e.g. BEHR).
Once the board has selected a painting company, it is essential to include language in the contract to ensure that the work is completed on time. The contract should include the following requirements:
1) Deadline. Barring weather conditions, the vendor should be accountable when it comes to completing the project on time. A daily penalty should be imposed after the deadline.
2) The contract should include language indicating the crew size throughout the course of the project.
3) Working hours should be stipulated to ensure that the vendor is doing all it can to complete the project as soon as possible. Both municipal and governing document restrictions will apply, however a recommended arrival time is 8:30 AM. If the daily completion time is set for 5:00 PM, the crew should start breaking down and cleaning up at 4:00 PM or 4:30 PM at the latest.
4) Prior to making the final installment payment, a final walk-through with all board members, the manager and the owner of the painting company should be required.