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Façade Inspections   A Critical Component of   Your Maintenance Plan   BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  Trends in Multifamily   Building Technolog  y   Building Systems Better  BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  November 2021                             NEWENGLANDCONDO.COM  205 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 • CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED  THE CONDO, HOA & CO-OP RESOURCE  CONDOMINIUM  NEW ENGLAND  The forward march of innovation is constantly changing the face of nearly every   industry—including residential real estate. To keep co-ops, condominiums, and other   multifamily communities functioning optimally, we need to keep abreast of the latest   advancements in building systems. Here are a few of the latest trends.  Life Support System  Advancements in communication technology have led to more efficient and more   accessible ways to keep tabs on what’s going on in our buildings at any given moment.   One of the most notable in the last few years is building management systems, or BMS.   BMS software and hardware networks enable managers and building staff to moni-  tor everything from air quality to security systems, alerting them of irregularities, re-  porting in real time, and giving them valuable data on things like energy efficiency,   building access, and more. It’s almost as if the property is an organism, with the BMS   monitoring its vital signs continuously.  “We use them extensively at many of the properties we manage,” says Dan Woll-  man, CEO of Gumley Haft, a major management firm based in New York City. “It’s a   network of micro-computers that are placed on different equipment and in different   locations to check temperature, water flow, air flow, among other things. In buildings   with more complicated infrastructure, when you have this data, you can modify and   optimize all these factors; when they should run and shouldn’t, etc. You are able to ad-  just everything through an app on your phone or computer.  At some point you might   have to physically visit the components, but a system like this can cut off a disaster.”    Matt  Resnick,  an executive with AKAM Management,  with  offices  in  both  New   York and Florida, adds that “there are many ways in which properties can focus on   improving existing mechanical equipment by taking advantage of software and tech   advances. For example, installing a BMS for the cooling/heating plants. In general, we   Rebuilding Community  Social Programming    in Challenging Times  BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  Among the most unfortunate effects   of the COVID-19 pandemic  is the  chill   it cast—and is still casting—over social   activities nearly everywhere, including   in multifamily communities. So little   was known early on about how the virus   was spread that group social activities—  the backbone of many co-op and condo   communities, especially those designed   for residents over 55—were put on in-  definite hold. No more holiday parties,   book clubs, or fitness centers. No more   planned outings or tennis lessons. Heck,   even committee and board meetings were   cancelled.   Now that the pandemic appears to be   receding (we hope), and we are learning   to live with endemic COVID, how do we   bring our communities back together?   Many still live in a state of low-level fear   and anxiety; others want their former   lives back. What are residential commu-  nities doing to solve this paradox and al-  low residents to socialize safely?  The Psychological Experience  Residents of multifamily buildings,   particularly large ones, make their de-  cision to live there as a lifestyle choice.   Chances are that some portion of their   social  life  revolves  around  the  commu-  nity, whether it be interaction in a gym   or pool, membership in a book or movie   club offered through the building, or the   occasional summertime roof deck happy   hour. They also seek the convenience of a   staff to assist with the exigencies of daily   life. This concept is particularly true for   co-op and condominium communities.   Members of these communities literally   buy into a specific social setting.   The advent of the COVID-19 pandem-  In light of the tragic condo building   collapse in Surfside, Florida, earlier this   year, condo and co-op boards, as well   as rental building landlords, are taking   a hard look at their building system in-  spection policies. While all mandatory   inspections exist for a reason and should   be taken very seriously, among the most   critical is façade inspection. How often   should  a  façade  be  inspected?  Should   that inspection be done by a hired pro-  fessional? A local government official?   By a private agency? By one of each? If   something troubling is found, what re-  mediation should be required and how   quickly?  Causes & Effects  David Katz, an architect and project   manager with Katz Architecture based   in New York, says, “Most damage oc-  curs incrementally over time. If spotted   early, the conditions can be corrected,   and the damage addressed. If not, the   results could be catastrophic. Some-  thing as small as a hairline mortar crack   will invite moisture. And because water   expands when it freezes, the crack will   grow larger during freeze/thaw cycles.   Left unchecked, that crack may lead to   steel corrosion, structural compromise,   and, in a worst-case scenario, masonry   elements separating and falling to the   street.”    Giulia Alimonti, an architect with   CTL Group, also based in New York,   concurs. “It’s important to monitor the   condition of your façade to prevent   deterioration. We also must be able to   prepare for capital projects before they   become critical, and to arrange their fi-  nancing without complications resulting   from neglect.”  “In our experience,” adds Katz, “the   worst damage and deterioration has been   the result of deferred maintenance—ei-  ther due to a lack of knowledge regard-  ing city compliance requirements, or to   financial hardship. We always advise our   clients that the longer issues are ignored,   the costlier repairs will be.”  continued on page 17   continued on page 9   are seeing a trend of buildings integrating a BMS where they   can track and control equipment more efficiently and remotely.    “When we are changing out major mechanical, electrical,   and plumbing (MEP) components, obviously we’re looking at   greener alternatives, as well as more energy efficient equip-  ment,” adds Resnick. “However, retrofitting old equipment with   energy saving add-ons like variable-frequency drives (VFDs) is   continued on page 8

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