Ah, the “dog days” of August—ideal for lounging around the pool, hop-scotching from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned stores and offices, or slipping away for a revitalizing vacation. Unless, of course, you happen to be a community association manager or board member whose attention is already focused on the season that lies ahead.
From the roof overhead to the pavement underfoot, condominium properties need attention now if they’re going to escape the ravages of New England winters.
“It’s important to have a maintenance checklist for the season,” says James Butler, president of J. Butler Property Management in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. “Each property is different. If you have a rubber roof, you want to clean the drains on top of the building; or you might be cleaning gutters on other properties.”
Butler’s list of preparations for the changing seasons is a long one, from winterizing irrigation systems and clearing storm drains to checking heating systems and stocking ice-melting supplies. Staying ahead of the maintenance game is always essential—but even more so when New England’s most challenging season is looming. “If you haven’t prepared in advance, vendors get bogged down because everyone will be calling them,” Butler cautions. In September and October, for example, associations want to be sure their plowing contracts are lined up. You just never know when that first storm might arrive. Remember the snowstorm on Halloween, just a couple of years ago? “I like to have all my plowing contracts signed by October 15,” Butler says.
By November, the ice-melt buckets are outside of building doors. Uninsulated pipes above carports or garages may have heating tapes that need to be plugged in. Oil burners need to be cleaned before temperatures drop and thermostats are turned up.