Transitions: You Only Have One Chance to Get it Right!

Oct 22, 2015

Transition, to community associations and building owners, represents a timeframe and series of processes when the Developer or Sponsor passes ownership, governance and responsibility to the Association.  Transition is a time when the Association has the opportunity to uncover potential deficiencies before they become the complete responsibility of the Association.  These issues can be related to construction defects, monies owed or legal matters.  Having qualified professionals on your transition team will result in a better outcome.  While an accountant and attorney are equally important, this article is limited to the construction aspects of your community. 


Construction defects or other issues must be addressed through negotiation or other pursuit of the developer and homeowner warranties; however, every community is different, and the common elements and limited common elements will vary based upon the governing documents.  The transition process is the only chance to remedy construction defects in your community before they become your responsibility.  Obtaining a qualified and thorough transition report is paramount in determining the issues at hand. Less qualified or inadequate reports can result in a severe detriment to the community.  The qualifications and experience of your transition team are directly related to the results achieved during this process.


The transition period is perhaps the most crucial time for an Association to retain the services of a qualified professional engineering firm.  Transition is a time when the Association has an opportunity to uncover potentially large, costly, issues, often before they become obvious to the untrained individual. For reasons stated below, qualified inspectors are essential in determining these issues.


The report should tie all construction defects to a standard.  Providing a “punch list” of issues or concerns is not enough.    Code violations, approved design plans and manufacturers installation guidelines are examples of these standards.  The deviation from standard provides back up for the repair recombination.  Excerpts from the code or other standard should be included in the report.   


There may be additional testing or destructive inspections that will need to be performed to better analyze a suspected condition.  The developer should supply the association with a complete set of design plans, as approved by the municipality.


The report should also include recommendations for proper repair of any deficiencies found.  Punchlist-style reports are not adequate.    The deficiencies should be corrected prior to the transfer of ownership to the Association.


Your engineering firm should have qualified and experienced staff to perform the inspections and prepare this report.  The firm should have a proven track record of investigation and resolution with respect to transitions.  The firm should have experts in all of the fields needed to analyze all aspects of your building or community, including adequate litigation support and experience should it be needed in transition negotiations.  Obtain a sample of your transition team’s work product, and be sure to check their staff qualifications and history. Your Association should be wary of proposals offering less than adequate service, as the transition process is a seemingly short timeframe in the grand scheme of your community’s wellbeing. Missing or overlooked conditions are often only fixed if brought to the Developer’s attention prior to the complete transfer of Ownership, and transition inspections performed by an under qualified firm or team can ultimately determine your community’s aptitude for safety, security and success years into the future. 


This post reprinted by permission from CAI Diamond Partner The Falcon Group: Engineering, Architecture & Energy Consultants. Thank you to The Falcon Group for this article.  

Contact The Falcon Group at: | | 800.839.7740 



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