So, where should a Unit Owner start? The answer is simple…the building’s Rules and Regs. The best one stop shop as they say, would be the Construction and Remodeling Handbook. Hard copies can be requested from the office, but you can also download them right from this website at the following link:
It contains the policies and procedures for most remodeling, including requirements for plumbing, use of the elevators and steps folks have to go through to make structural changes such as removing walls or combining units.
There are some basics though. All construction, remodeling and repairs projects within a unit need to be approved in writing by the association prior to commencement of any work. Unit owners planning a project should review the Handbook and complete the application enclosed and follow the guidelines therein for completing the proposed work. If there are any changes to the unit that are deemed structural in nature by management (such as removing walls, channeling or coring concrete, or displacing other structural elements) the association’s engineering firm will be consulted for guidance and authorization of the project. Costs of such consulting get charged back to the Unit Owner, BUT, believe me, that cost is well worth the headaches you might otherwise face down the road.
Insurance, licenses and permits may be required depending on the type of construction performed. All contractors working in the building are required to carry a minimum $1 Million of general liability coverage and $500,000 workers compensation coverage. A certificate of insurance naming the Park Tower Condo Association, its Board of Directors, Managing agent and staff as additional insured, should be presented to the management office for verification before a contractor is hired to perform any work in a unit.
And, though owners have the right to remodel, the neighbors have the right to some limits. Construction or remodeling work generating traffic, noise or debris may only be performed between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and is prohibited on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Contractors or any individuals doing work in units may not use the common elements as preparatory areas or to store tools, equipment and supplies. All work shall be done within the unit. Owners will be held responsible for any cleanup and repairs to damage caused to the common elements. In addition, each evening the area outside the unit and hallway shall be left in good condition. Otherwise, if we observe such problems, or get a call from a neighbor saying a mess was left in the hall, the cost of any cleanup or repairs shall be charged back to the unit owner.
As far as the paperwork and processing, Owners need to give Management at least 7 business days to process most requests. Longer if a lot of complicated work is being considered. No work should get underway, until you receive written approval from the office. AND REMEMBER, sometimes we are juggling multiple requests. (As an example, right now we have 6 pending requests being reviewed!!!) And depending on the nature of the work, some things should not be done without formal Board approval. Such as installing washers and dryers and new dishwashers. Also, 7 day written notice is needed for any work being done in a unit that requires the shut off of utilities such as cable, electric, telephone or water to other units, and it is our goal to give all affected units at least 3 days notice of such shut offs.
The service elevators need to be used for the transport of any contractors, tools or materials for any construction, remodeling or repairs. The elevator can be reserved to make it more convenient. The procedures are detailed in the remodeling Handbook. Otherwise, anyone doing such work shall be required to yield to all other traffic such as residents and scheduled moves and the elevator doors may not be held open. It has been our observation, that major demolition goes a lot faster, if the Owner reserves the elevator. That, and big deliveries like flooring and cabinets.
The handbook goes into all of this and more in detail. Beyond that, if owners have any questions or would like to run any ideas by us, do not hesitate to contact the office.