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Vinyl Siding or Not?

Perhaps you are on the Building Committee which has been charged by the Board to recommend a replacement siding material for your 35 year old condo.

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Got Cracks? An Intro to Foundation Forensics

Cracks in foundations are by far the most common structural complaint raised in either 

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Solar Panels - Are they right for your Homeowner's Association?

Solar panels may be an option for your community.

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How to sell the Results of an Association Reserve Study

While the importance of associations building a strong reserve fund is no mystery to you, raising fees or assessments is often a sensitive subject with homeowners.

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June Marks the Start of Hurricane Season

 

The engineers at Criterium encourage residents, homeowners, condo/apartment owners, and commercial property owners to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season which begins June 1st.

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5 Key Steps Before you Build or Renovate your Home
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Define What You Want To Do

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Check Your Deck Before the Guests Arrive!

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10 Maintenance Tasks that Building Associations Should Repeat Every Spring

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6 Considerations When Adding on to Your Home Spring and summer are the times that many homeowners consider adding on the their houses.
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6 Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Reserve Study to Avoid Underfunding or Overfunding a Reserve Account

The most important element of a credible reserve study is valid component data.  Inaccurate cost information, improper assessment of the condition of each component, and failure to examine ways of maintaining components to prolong their useful life can lead to underfunding, or almost as problematic, overfundin

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Your Roof: Eight Things to Consider

 

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Facts and Myths About Household Mold

Without question, mold is one of the most misunderstood threats to homes. Lawsuits related to mold have been brought against developers or even association boards over health issues and construction problems in communities.

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Have You Checked Your Dryer Vent Lately, or Ever?

Who would think venting a unit’s clothes dryer was so complicated?  When was the last time the cleanliness of dryer vents was on your Board’s meeting agenda?  Yet, clothes dryers may be one of the most dangerous appliances in the home.  The U.S.

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Good Landscaping can be a Smart Investment - Beat the Rush!

Sure, it’s cold out there.  It’s New England and we have long winters but if the condo board is to find a good landscaper for spring projects now’s the time to start looking.  Landscaping contractors are overhauling their equipment; looking for experienced crews; and scheduling their current custome

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Condo Reserve Fund - How much is Enough?

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Tips to Sell a Condo

Selling a condo is a 2-way street.  The seller not only has to decide on setting the price but also the seller has to think like a buyer.  That is difficult to do because it is only natural to view your condo as perfect and needing no upgrades or improvements. 

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The Art of Qualifying Home Inspectors

Just as the old adage about the 3 most important factors in real estate are location, location, location, the 3 most important factors in choosing a home inspector are qualifications, qualifications, and qualifications.  Home inspections are almost universal today.  <

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When A Critical Component Fails Early

It happens to even the most prepared of associations.  The roof that was supposed to last 25 years starts leaking after only 15. A harsh winter takes its toll on the parking lot and you're suddently faced with a large re-paving project 5 years before anticipated. The elevatros in a high-rise are constantly out-of-order, despite their being only 20 years old.

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Turn the Water Tank Temp Up or Down? It's a Hot Question.

Is your hot water safe??   Too hot and you can be seriously burned.  Not hot enough and your hot water may harbor dangerous bacteria.   It’s not a simple question!!

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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - Whose Fault Is It, Anyway?

The term Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is likely familiar to you.

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Newer Tighter Homes, Older Stagnant Air

Indoor air quality - IAQ - how significant is it and should you be concerned? Perhaps more importantly, what can you do about it?

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A Common Condo Question - Defer, Replace, or Improve?
Those involved in providing reserve studies (engineers and accounting managers) perform a valuable function.
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A Few Things to Consider while Preparing For Winter

This month, while we continue to enjoy the colorful leaves, apple pies, pumpkin fests and fairs, it is not too early to start thinking about PREPARING FOR WINTER. Preparing now for winter can save time, money, and discomfort later.

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Pre-Winter Preventive Maintenance - Condos or Otherwise.

Some folks think New England’s fall is the best season of all.  Trees are changing colors; Friday night football games; and the kids are back in school.  But not everyone is happy.  Those with the responsibility of maintaining condo facilities know the anxiety of the fall season and all of the tasks needing to be done before the winter rushes in.  They need to avoid the regrets about the painting project that never got contracted or the paving repairs that cannot be scheduled before the asphalt plant closes in November.

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Its just dirt, right?... Wrong. Soil Erosion could be the Culprit.

Is your house moving?  It probably is and it’s not as unusual as you might think.   According to a recent nationwide survey by Criterium Engineers, structural movement is one of the most common concerns of homeowners.

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Old vs. New - The Latest and Greatest in Building! But is it Really?

Am I on the leading edge or the bleeding edge? Should I be an early adapter? What are the risks? What are the rewards? Recently, I was asked how to approach a builder’s show so that you can learn about all the new things you should be using in and/or doing to your homes to make them better. The simple answer is - don’t bother, you already know how to build a good home.

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Solar, Solar, Everywhere!

It’s no surprise that solar panels have started popping up all over the area.  Solar can drastically reduce electric bills, protect against the rising cost of energy, boost U.S. energy independence, protect the environment and more.

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Radon Mitigation - Hype or Necessity?

You have heard of radon. Perhaps you have tested your home or the home you intended to buy for the presence of radon gas. If so, when you received the results, did you take any action? Did you install a mitigation pump or even refuse to purchase the home?

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Before You Hit the Road or Driveway.

It’s mid-summer with the grass growing tall and the Sox and Yanks in a traditional pennant race so what’s the rush in reminding the Board it needs to be making paving decisions, now.  The reason of course is the Board missed the fall deadline for the asphalt plant’s closing last November and had distraction

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Redefining the Home Inspection

Ask most home inspectors what the standard definition of a home inspection is and you will hear something like: "An evaluation of the current condition of the home based on visual evidence."  That definition fairly characterized the practice for many years.  But as more people entered the field, many with

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Retaining Walls for Landscape

Have you ever looked around your property to see if you have retaining walls? If you have, what’s their purpose? Have you checked your neighbor’s property, looking for retaining walls and what, if any, effect these walls may have on your property?

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Mold is Your Friend?

People like you and me are now bombarded with frightening stories about “toxic” or “killer” mold and mildew. We are told that we will get sick and be forced from our homes. And, it has become big business too. Recently, we received an ad-fax from a cleaning company with headlines, “Government health agencies do no tolerate mold anywhere within a dwelling.” Statements like this are intended to scare and alarm.

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Let's Caulk.

Perhaps by now the March wind-driven weather has convinced the Board it has water infiltration problems, not to mention air infiltration issues.  Interior gypsum board ceilings and walls are starting to stain; floors are beginning to get wet and warp; and unit owner

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All Decked Out

Nothing says “summer” like a big barbecue on the back deck! However, that deck can quickly become a major maintenance concern and even a liability. “Your deck is under attack from the minute the first nail is driven into the wood – assuming that nail belongs there in the first place.

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Building Code Myths

Imagine that you are on the board of a condominium association to which the developer has just transferred control. It’s a brand new community and the developer/builder has assured you that all the buildings are “fully compliant with the building code.”

This means you can be confident that the buildings are defect free and the construction quality is top notch. Right?

Afraid not.

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Water Water Everywhere

“Water, water everywhere” is not what you want to be thinking as you’re staring through the windows of the restaurant, drug store and appliance shop that are tenants in the building you own. Water inside a building means likely damage to the furnishings and fixtures, floors and walls inside; it also means the possibility of rotting wood and mold risks; and it means major liability risks. 

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Wild And Crazy Roofs - It's Not All Good News!

Have you noticed? Roof lines are getting more and more complex and creative. The traditional gable roof (single ridge, symmetric slopes and vertical end panels) is quickly becoming a distant memory.

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What is a Structural Inspection?
A structural - or engineering - inspection is above all, an opinion as to the structural condition and integrity of the building or home.
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Cold Yet? - A Few Words About Winter

Seen on a Maine license plate - BRRRRR. When it comes to winter, that says it all!

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Preventing Ice Dams on Your Roof

Along with the snow and frosty temperatures, icicles are a lingering reminder that New England is still firmly entrenched in winter. Icicles, while festive, are an official sign of an ice dam on the roof. Less cheery are the ice bands that can also form along the roof eaves, and both of these wintry growths can cause damage to the roof and interior of any home with a pitched roof.

What causes ice dams?

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Real Estate or Wheel Estate?

Is it modular, manufactured or mobile? Or…is it pre-cut, pre-fab or panelized? Or…is it site built or stick built?

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Home Fires are Common, Deadly and Preventable

 

Fire safety probably isn’t high on the list of concerns for buyers when they purchase a home.  But the statistics indicate that it should be. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in the United States:

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Building Code Myths Create Liability Risks for Real Estate Professionals

If we were writing a Steven King-style horror movie, it might begin with a real estate broker discussing all the attractive features of a new home.  After noting the “brilliant design,” the high ceilings, state-of-the art kitchen and the exciting architectural details, the broker happily, assures the buyer, “The house is fully compliant with the building code, so you can be confident that it has no s

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Don't Forget the Roof!

Building owners and managers: add roof to your snow removal checklist.

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Water Inside Your Building Means Something Is Wrong on the Outside

“Water, water everywhere” is not what you want to be thinking as you’re standing in the living room of a townhouse condominium unit or peering into the lobby of a high rise.

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