Window replacement is a major undertaking for any condominium project and calls for a construction manager and design team with significant experience. Native Technologies has worked with several AOAO’s in Hawaii to undertake successful window replacement projects.
Window replacement projects can be particularly contentious in an AOAO setting. Due to prevailing weather conditions, some units may have window frames that are significantly more degraded than units on other elevations. Those owners with window frames that remain in relatively good condition may challenge the validity of the replacement project. For this reason, the opinion of a qualified and experienced licensed structural engineer regarding the condition of the windows property-wide is critical documentation to have in hand prior to embarking on a replacement process.
The potentially contentious nature of window replacement projects requires a clear and transparent competitive bidding process for each stage of procurement. In particular, this applies to the procurement of the design team and the contractor. Board members should as much as practical avoid any appearance of possible favoritism and/or a potential conflict of interest. Having an experienced Construction Manager like Native Technologies ensures that each stage of the bid process is thoroughly documented by a reputable third party.
Most associations will find that a bank-funded construction loan is the most appropriate financing option and most will require AOAO approval to obtain one. Remember that this process can take several months. The voting process can be run concurrently with the design process, but a reasonable construction budget is required so a maximum loan amount can be set. Native Technologies has existing relationships with local banks and can facilitate the acquisition of a construction loan on behalf of the AOAO. Having a professional construction manager in place to manage your construction budget is considered advantageous for many banks when considering a loan application.
Windows are not as simple as they may seem. There are numerous design and manufacturing-related factors that need to be considered when choosing the type of window to be installed in a high-rise condominium setting. Think ventilation, fire code, wind loading, missile impact rating, air and water penetration limits, thermal resistance, acoustic resistance, reflectivity, expansion factors, single glazed, double glazed, material and finish selection… and the list goes on and on. Likewise, the installation process itself is filled with complex details. These include fastener & anchor specifications, shim tolerances, backer rod specifications, rough-opening repair specifications (possibly spall repair), and of absolute importance – sealant and the performance testing regime throughout the installation period. All these factors and more need to be carefully considered by a qualified and highly experienced design team and included in the construction documents.
As noted above, the scope of work for the design team is complex and involved. The procurement of the design team itself requires careful planning, comprehensive bid documentation, and a rigorous selection process. Native Technologies works closely with the AOAO to procure and contract with the design team. Selection of the design team should almost always be a best-value proposition, as experience on similar successful projects in Hawaii is extremely valuable.
A negotiated warranty and an associated care and maintenance process agreement should be included in any contract where the AOAO agrees to purchase windows. Window manufacturers understand that with increased window washing frequency and more labor-intensive washing requirements, components of their supplied window systems are less likely to experience any type of degradation issues. Therefore, your time to negotiate the warranty and the care and maintenance frequency is prior to executing the contract. Remember that simply increasing your window washing frequency from two to four times per year can be a costly requirement over the lifespan of a new window system.
As with any major project undertaken in an occupied residential condominium, resident coordination is a vital component to the success of the project. Depending on the size of the window system and contractor labor resources, window replacement can potentially disrupt individual unit residents for several weeks. Having an experienced construction manager and an experienced contractor’s resident coordinator who are attune to the wide variety of needs and expectations of residents is crucial for resident satisfaction. Personality and interpersonal skills matter in this role. Native Technologies interviews proposed resident coordinators of the contractor as part of the contractor selection process and includes the outcomes of those interviews in our contractor selection recommendations. We also work closely with the contractor’s resident coordinator throughout the construction period to ensure that each unit is closed out successfully.
Window selection and installation is far more complex than meets the eye. Our services pay for themselves by guiding you through the project process from start to finish and helping the AOAO avoid the many potentially costly pitfalls that pop up along the way. Call us for a no-obligation discussion as to how we can help you with your upcoming project.