Windows play a key role in the integrity of your building and should be maintained actively as part of the complete building system. Saving money through reduced energy usage and reducing maintenance is the goal of the association at large as well as individual unit owners. Ideally windows should be replaced collectively so as not to compromise the building envelope and allow for the greatest level of uniformity. Innovative advances in window products and installation provide cost effective solutions to improve your building system efficiencies, save time and money. Consider using your association buying power to upgrade resident’s windows in their units. The result will be more efficiency and lower maintenance.
Just think of the savings you can pass along to your owners if they can have buying power under the association banner? In addition to lower replacement costs, the residents will benefit from a more commercial grade installation if the contract is with one installer using specific installation design requirements. For example, specifying factory mulled large multi-window assemblies where exterior installation and a man lift to install from the outside on a 5 story condominium.
The HOA also saves when the entire building has new Low-E glazed, low maintenance finishes, weathertight openings and secure latches and locks. Today’s high-performance windows will help keep your building temperature comfortable, reduce the wear on the buildings air filter system and reduce unwanted moisture from accumulating. The HOA will also benefit from the project management support of the installer overseeing a building window upgrade project. Property managers can now reset their maintenance programs to the date when groups of windows were replaced and regain the control they had when the building was first new.
Where to Begin
Of course, the ideal window replacement project is association wide common element replacement where the board makes an educated decision to replace with quality windows and a top notch installer. However, many associations are written with by laws that dictate the homeowner is fully responsible for the window replacement. Then what? Another option is what I like to call the “Homeowner replacement program”. In this case, the board should develop a clear specification for the both the type of window (manufacturer) and specify the basic installation requirements (with the aid of a professional architect/engineer or qualified window and door professional.
Here are some tips for developing a homeowner replacement program to encourage your building owners to upgrade their unit’s windows during a finite replacement period.
- Begin with a maintenance audit: Inspect and monitor windows for leaks and energy loss. This might involve a survey to see how many unit owners are considering window/door replacement in the next 12-24 months.
- Collect the spreadsheet information for each unit such as current age of windows, energy scores, leak evidence, repair list (missing hardware, screws, weather-striping) or the data supplied by owners on their own self audit/survey.
- Obtain expert recommendations for design – installation specifications based on the condition of the windows to be removed. This is where the association may go to an outside architect/engineering firm to gain a professional recommendation on the appropriate product and installation for the project.
- Interview and qualify contractor(s) who are reputable and trusted in the industry. These installers should be vetted by the board and selected based on credentials and expertise.
- Educate residents on the benefits of new windows including savings potential of the entire building. This is often done most effectively in an annual meeting or special meeting for those owners having window/door problems.
- Newsletter, blogs, mailings announcing window replacement program.
- Sign up list of residents interested in receiving estimates for their units. Give them estimates for their single unit, 5 units, 10 units etc. Let them see the savings if they can entice other owners to upgrade at the same time.
- Get your project underway with a clear deadline for homeowners to sign up for the work!
Who would run the air conditioning in their car with all the windows rolled down? Likewise, who would leave those same windows down a crack in the pouring rain permanently creating a musty odor throughout the vehicle? You get the point. Old windows in any of your units expose the building to unseen costs.
Properly installed energy efficient windows help regulate the individual homeowner unit temperatures with insulation and reflective coatings to minimize the use of energy for heating and cooling. Leaving the decision when to replace a unit’s old windows and how many of those windows to replace to each owner. Not providing oversight beyond approving their application increases the risk to the building infrastructure and stress on systems.
Consider using your ‘association’ buying power to get better windows, save owners their hard-earned money, and improve your building efficiency with all the benefits that new high-performance windows offer.
Make this a selling point for your building ‘unlike many buildings, we believe windows to be essential building components that affect the cost of the buildings system efficiencies. Therefore, our window upgrade program utilizes innovative building products and procedures to lengthen the life of this building and promote more efficient energy for heating, cooling and air filtration systems.