Common Area Refurbishment

January 2021

Common areas are one of the greatest perks of condo living.  Building residents rely on them as an extension of their living space for gatherings, socialization and entertainment.  Better designed and equipped common areas are more popular and more heavily used.  When a prospective buyer is considering a condo purchase, few do so without first considering common areas.

Common area refurbishments are a major undertaking and large reserve fund expenditure.  Major refurbishments can occur once every decade with smaller refurbishments occurring more frequently.  Few condo directors and condominium managers have the experience to manage these refurbishments.

When it comes time to refurbish condo areas one of two approaches are utilized.

Turnkey Solution

Less experienced condo boards and condominium managers will prefer a turnkey solution.  It offers less direct involvement and accountability for individuals less likely to be intimately involved in the project.

A single individual or company is employed to manage the entire refurbishment at a fixed price under a single contract.  The contract covers all aspects of the project including design, construction and material.

Cost estimates are likely to be more precise since contractor and designer work together under a single contract.  Design revisions to meet stated budget requirements and necessary changes arising from contractor-initiated modifications are included.

There are fewer parties for the condominium corporation to deal with.  A single point of contact increases accountability and facilitates quick decisions.

Traditional Solution

More experienced condo boards and condominium managers will prefer a traditional solution.  There is greater opportunity to deliver a superior product when other experienced individuals are involved.

A designer/consultant is employed to design and furnish the new space in accordance with a budget and other criteria.  Once the design and cost estimate is finalized a contractor is employed by the condominium corporation to build out the space overseen by the designer, condominium manager and/or condo board representative.

There can be less certainty about final cost as design fees are independent of build out costs.  Design modifications may be at additional cost.  The potential for disagreement between designer and contractor is greater.

The traditional solution requires more time and effort.  It requires more experience.  Done well, there is greater control over the final product, and flexibility when adapting to unexpected changes during the project.