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COAs and HOAs: When and how to hire an inspector

As every homebuyer knows, hiring an inspector to evaluate a potential purchase is well worth the time and investment. The same is true for residential developments. It's important for HOAs, COAs and property managers to know when - and how - to enlist a trusted expert.

A knowledgeable construction law attorney can help identify qualified inspectors. Associations should also rely on legal counsel for guidance on when it's wise to involve an inspector, and for what specific issues.

In general, however, there are two critical junctures when associations typically hire an inspector:

1. During turnover

During the turnover/transition process, developers are required by law to provide a detailed inspection report signed off by a licensed engineer or architect. However, the task of interpreting that report - and determining whether there are any gaps - is best left to an expert. This is especially true if owners have noticed issues that aren't addressed in the report.

2. Following major repairs or improvements

Construction defects aren't limited to new construction. They can - and do - frequently arise from repair and improvement projects. Consider enlisting an expert to supervise the work and review it once completed. This is particularly important for projects involving structural elements or critical systems such as:

  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Fireproofing

What to look for in an inspector

Because so many common elements in condo and residential developments involve structural components, it's prudent to hire a licensed, professional engineer to perform inspections. A lawyer who knows the local construction industry can help you find someone who has experience doing this type of work for residential communities. By making the right decision upfront, you can lay the foundation for a prosperous relationship down the road.

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