As your buildings age over time, it’s important to know what will need to be fixed and when. Not to mention how much it will cost.
That’s where a building condition assessment (BCA) report comes in.
What is a Building Condition Assessment?
A BCA is a report prepared by a qualified consultant who examines your co-op’s buildings and property. They assess the architectural, mechanical, and electrical systems, as well as finishes to unit interiors and common areas.
Potentially most importantly, a BCA will also tell you roughly when each part of your co-op’s buildings and property will need repairing or replacing and estimates the cost.
A BCA also goes hand in hand with a reserve fund study (RFS), which estimates reasonable budgets for the repair or replacement of these components and predicts the probable timing for the work.
How often should a BCA be updated?
It’s important to get an updated BCA report every 3 to 5 years. The older the report is, the less accurate it will be.
Building components can often deteriorate much sooner than you’d expect because of things like weather conditions, excessive wear, or problems with the original construction or later work.
How does a co-op get a BCA?
The first step is finding a qualified consultant to perform the BCA. Generally, it’s a good idea to request proposals from 3 qualified firms to get the best price for your co-op.
The Agency or other co-ops in your area may be able to suggest qualified consultants.
One important thing to note is that getting a BCA completed is a collaborative process. A consultant will only be able to produce a complete and accurate report if the co-op provides as much information as possible.
Co-op staff and the board should review a draft of the report before approving it to ensure that the information it contains is accurate.
Funding and grants available for BCAs
The typical cost for a BCA and a reserve fund study can be between $4,000 and $10,000, with the cost varying depending on your building types, where your co-op is located, and the size of your property.
Fortunately, Funding is available for BCAs and RFSs, as well as other technical reports, through CMHC’s Preservation Fund for co-ops. Check out this article we published last year about changes to the Preservation Fund that makes the application process a bit easier.
For more information on BCAs, you can check out the Agency’s Guide to Building Condition Assessments and Reserve Fund Studies, or contact your co-op’s Relationship Manager or Rental Assistance Officer.