Associations are now on notice that they must follow the (ever changing) rules of the game, or they will find that they have little or no recourse against the manufacturer, installer or builder.
It is of course, cheaper to inspect and repair small problems before they become big problems.
Bill Leys of Central Coast Waterproofing shares his experience with dealing with defective product and installation of waterproofing membranes on condominium developments.
As a contractor, I have seen the costs of replacement and rebuilding for Associations who failed to maintain and inspect their decks rise dramatically.
A small crack in a deck that might cost $500.00 or even $1,000.00 to get properly repaired, left unrepaired for several years, ends up costing $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 to tear out the deck and rebuild framing damaged from water intrusion.
Add in the angry resident, the overworked HOA manager and all the disruptions and the costs of inspection and repairs become practically irrelevant.
Builders need to carefully consider their options when it comes to selecting deck coatings. The cheapest bid should not be the primary factor in picking what will be put down.
Careful review of all the terms in the manufacturer's warranty and maintenance requirements need to be implemented into the CC&R's and specific disclosures should be made to the Association during the transition when turning the Association over to the owners. By demanding higher quality, longer lasting materials, builders will reduce their exposure to liability.
Installers need to develop standards and checklists before just showing up at a job and slapping down materials.
They need to become very familiar with other trades work, reviewing the other trades work, recognizing and calling out deficiencies and notifying the builder to make repairs first. Woe to the contractor who shows up at a job and installs decking over unblocked plywood, negatively sloped framing or improperly nailed substrate, they will end up holding the bag for a failed deck.
The Association will have to maintain their decks as specified or
suffer the consequences. If the maintenance instructions say to reseal
the deck every 3 years, and the Association fails to do so, the
installer and manufacturer of that product will be free from liability
if the deck then fails.
The Association must maintain a log of their decks inspections, inspect their decks as per the instructions, CC&R's or warranty requirements.
The burden of proof for defects is now squarely on the Association and failure to maintain will void their warranty.