Can associations or their members do their own reserve studies or must they hire professionals?
By consulting the condominium reserves guide, associations and their members may
be able to do their own studies, although reserve studies often require some
time and expertise. In large projects, reserve studies may be beyond the
capabilities of some people. Many managing agents will do reserve studies,
usually for an additional fee to cover the time involved. A reserve study
requires three basic determinations: (i) which parts of the property are the
association's responsibility; (ii) how long will they last; and (iii) how much
will they cost to maintain, repair, or replace? Expert advice may be necessary,
but the basic reserve process should not be beyond the capabilities of most
people who have the time to do it.
The association's declaration should state which parts of the property are the association's responsibility - the "common elements." How long things will last may be indicated by the association's past experience of the life of paint jobs, roofs, etc. Books which give the expected lives of certain components are also available. Warranties which come with components may also give some idea of expected useful life. The cost to maintain, repair, and replace can be obtained from past experience or from suppliers and contractors.