Sep 10, 2023

Deferred Maintenance: A Neglected Necessity”

What exactly is ‘deferred maintenance’? We all hear this term in the Condominium industry, but do you know what it means? Deferred maintenance is the postponement of building, grounds, infrastructure, and equipment maintenance. Deferred maintenance typically will happen when there is a lack of funds or when Boards must prioritize funds for other more urgent projects.

The Reserve Fund Study lays out an estimated lifespan for all the components that make up a Condominium, including (where applicable), a Shared Facilities. Deferred Maintenance could be items that a Corporation extends beyond their anticipated life expectancy, as per the current Reserve Fund Study.

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In some cases, it is perfectly reasonable to extend the life of items beyond the estimated replacement or restoration period, if those components remain in good working condition.

If a Board thinks a component could be temporarily deferred, they may want to get a second opinion from a trusted expert, such as the Corporation’s Engineer.  This would avoid unnecessary surprises. 

Some items that may get overlooked by deferred maintenance are roofs, asphalt roadways, and sidewalks.

Deferred maintenance of these components can become problematic for Corporations. These components do not fall within the building’s envelope (A ROOF IS PART OF A BUILDING ENVELOPE)  but do present unique challenges when it comes to maintenance and repair, especially with Canadian winters as a factor.

For example: A well-maintained exterior parking lot can last easily over 20 years, but if areas are neglected this can significantly reduce the lifespan and even cause serious safety issues. Contributing factors would be harsh winter weather conditions, salting, plowing, and of course the freeze-and-thaw cycle in Ontario. All of which can contribute to potholes and cracks.

An inadequately maintained parking lot, driveway, or sidewalk could cause the Corporation major complications with damaged vehicles, personal injuries, and potential litigation. A Condominium needs to ensure proper maintenance of the exterior of the property just as carefully as the interior.

GPM has a reputation in the industry for always working with reputable and competent contractors. Board of Directors, and Property Managers should carefully review their reserve fund studies on a regular basis and put in place a maintenance plan if not already within the Corporations schedule. Items still in good condition can be given a closer look for deferred approved maintenance, while items that may be failing could be given priority repairs/maintenance. GPM is committed to supporting you throughout this ongoing journey.

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