Recognizing the need for revised guidelines, CAI released updated Reserve Study Standards in May to provide communities with an improved framework for effective reserve planning. Key changes and benefits offered by the latest standards include a particular emphasis on structural inspections and maintenance.

About one year ago, a task force began reviewing existing reserve study standards to address specific issues that came to light following the 2021 tragic partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. The three main issues addressed and incorporated into the newly released Reserve Study Standards are maintenance, building inspections (structural inspections), and inclusion of long-life components.

Reserve studies play a pivotal role in ensuring the long-term financial health and sustainability of communities. These studies help associations plan for future maintenance and replacement expenses by assessing the condition of common elements and estimating the funding necessary to meet those obligations.

Under the 2023 Reserve Study Standards, there is a renewed emphasis on conducting comprehensive structural inspections as part of the reserve study process. Structural components such as roofs, foundations, and building envelopes are critical elements that require regular assessment to ensure integrity and identify potential maintenance or repair needs. The updated guidelines outline the importance of engaging qualified professionals to conduct thorough inspections that provide accurate and detailed assessments of the structural condition of common elements.

The new standards also highlight the significance of proactive maintenance strategies. The guidelines encourage associations to develop and implement maintenance plans that address identified issues promptly and prevent the escalation of potential problems. By adopting proactive maintenance practices, associations can extend the lifespan of structural components, reduce the likelihood of costly repairs, and ensure the safety and well-being of community members.

The 2023 Reserve Study Standards emphasize the importance of integrating structural considerations into the reserve funding process. The updated guidelines stress the need for associations to account for structural maintenance and replacement expenses in their long-term financial planning and ensure adequate funds are available to address any anticipated structural needs.

The standards encourage associations to collaborate with structural experts as part of the reserve study process. These experts can provide valuable insights into the condition and maintenance requirements of structural components. By engaging professionals with expertise in structural engineering, associations can enhance the effectiveness of their reserve studies and ensure the long-term stability of their community’s physical infrastructure.

To emphasize the importance of education and training for community association professionals, CAI recommends associations provide opportunities for staff and board members to enhance their knowledge in structural assessments, maintenance strategies, and best practices. As a result, associations can develop an informed and empowered team capable of effectively managing structural assets and implementing proactive maintenance plans.

The release of the 2023 Reserve Study Standards represents a significant step forward in improving the accuracy, reliability, and transparency of reserve planning in community associations. They will help community associations effectively manage structural assets and ensure the long-term stability and well-being of their communities.

>>Visit to review the new standards.

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