SMA Reserve Study Methodology
By Erik Sundquist, R.S.
My approach to every Reserve Study is the same, regardless of size and scope; to maximize the utility of the study as a working tool for the community manager and board. To this end I often find the approach of the management professional and/or board members involved in the decision making process to be as important as my own. A Reserve Study is a team effort, whereby the utility and value of the finished product is determined by three primary factors: experience, history, and accuracy.
My experience as a design/build contractor and real estate developer over a twenty year period has given me the breadth of knowledge and foundation of understanding to evaluate building systems with confidence and real world practical know how. Moreover, that experience plays a vital role in my Reserve Study preparation in that I am able to accurately and effectively evaluate the remaining life of building systems and individual components. In terms of providing accurate information for budgeting purposes the value of this point cannot be underscored enough.
Historical data provided for each project by the property manager and/or board is the second main underpinning of a valuable Reserve Study product. By thoroughly understanding the past of any given project, I can best evaluate the current status and even project with more confidence into the future. Ideally our firm develops a long standing relationship with the communities we serve, allowing us to add to the historical record in a way that is useful and simplifies the Reserve Study updates well into the future. My intention is to become part of the team responsible for good stewardship of a community.
The term “accurate” applies in two key ways: first, in terms of the financials provided to us by the association, and second, as it relates to the measures, quantities, and values associated with the components which comprise the Reserve Study. By definition the accuracy of this key factor is measured by the quality of the financial information provided to us by the association, and the diligence with which components are identified, measured, and evaluated. The more accurate both of these elements are, the more accurate the Reserve Study.
In summary, my approach to Reserve Study preparation is to provide the most accurate Reserve Study possible, ensuring budgetary and other fiscal decisions are made based upon rock solid information. By maximizing the utility of the study, the management team can make decisions with the confidence of knowing they are acting with the best information possible.