There is an adage that says, “The only thing more expensive than a professional is an amateur,” and nowhere is this truer than in a condominium setting. Every dollar spent on repairs, consulting, and legal advice comes out of the owners’ collective pockets and we are all trying to keep the cost of living manageable.
The increasing willingness of boards to try and have people that are not industry experts complete tasks is understandable, but misguided. Having non-expert people completing tasks is certainly cheaper at the onset, but history has a way of pointing out mistakes. It is often more expensive to have an expert come back after paying an amateur to clean up a “mess.”
Recently, violations of the fire code have become the norm. After hiring approximately 300 inspectors, who often can’t agree on the interpretation of the fire code, the fire department in Toronto is on a hunt for non-compliant buildings and properties. Once again, if history is any indication, surrounding municipalities will soon follow suit. Once this happens, condominiums across the province will be facing the same violation problems.
It’s easy to say the manager or the super or groundskeeper should correct all violations to the code; however, these people are not qualified. Nowhere in the licensing requirements of condominium managers is there any reference to being a fire code specialist, let alone supers or groundskeepers. And in the end, do you really want someone without proper credentials playing around with life safety systems?
With proper budgeting and a long term focus on the operations of a condominium, the board of directors can factor in the required expenses and ensure peace of mind when it comes to life safety systems.
Murray Johnson is an organizing committee member for The Condo Conference. For more information regarding The Condo Conference, visit condoconference.ca.