Colliers, a dominant player in the commercial real estate services arena, is rapidly moving into the condo project management services residential market.
The move follows the collapse of the Champlain Tower South in Miami and a new Florida condo life safety law that promises to turn condo boards into construction managers in months to come.
The Colliers’ Real Estate Development Division – once focused on commercial buildings – is leveraging its extensive expertise in Construction Management to assist condo boards with multi-million-dollar capital improvements and renovations mandated by the Building Safety Act. The new law, which went into effect in July forces condo boards to bring their mid- and high-rises up to current life safety standards to continue to be habitable.
As a project management firm, Colliers offers advisory services to the condo association and/or property manager, and manage all the designers, contractors, inspections and, more importantly, the construction budget to avoid the condo association being taken advantage of.
Often, condo associations don’t know where to start with the process of bringing their buildings up to the new standards, and as a result, unintentionally put themselves in a precarious situation. Because most associations are not construction professionals, they typically hire contractors in the wrong order, with little vetting, which can lead to conflicts of interest and cost the association valuable time and money. These pitfalls can be avoided by hiring an experienced project manager.
“Unfortunately, most condo associations don’t have the construction knowledge to successfully manage the construction process to ensure work is done in a timely and workmanlike manner, that materials are delivered on time, and that any issues are addressed quickly and effectively to prevent unnecessary cost overruns,” said Greg Main-Baillie, Executive Managing Director of Colliers’ Real Estate Development Division. “That’s where Colliers comes in. We are able to act on behalf of condo associations and property management companies as an owner’s representative, ensuring the process goes smoothly and meets all requirements under the new Florida law. We apply our years of commercial owner representation experience to the process, providing an unmatched level of professionalism.”
There are more than 1.5 million condominium units in Florida operated by nearly 28,000 associations, according to a legislative analysis conducted earlier this year. Of those, more than 912,000 are older than 30 years and are the home to more than 2 million residents. Until this year, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were the only two of the state’s 67 counties that had condominium recertification programs. Under the Building Safety Act, condo associations will be responsible for repairing substantial structural deterioration of items such as roof, foundation, fireproofing and fire protection systems, plumbing, electrical systems, waterproofing and exterior painting, windows and any other item that has a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000. That means condo associations will potentially have to engage with a myriad of contractors/vendors.
Some condos are already facing millions of dollars in special assessments to pay for restoration and renovation work. Case in point, Murano at Portofino, a 37-story, 189-unit tower in Miami Beach is facing a $30 million special assessment, or an average of $160,000 per owner. Unit owner Andres Asion recently posted on Facebook that his first payment for the assessment was $52,525.
“This is just the beginning for condo buildings,” Colliers’ Main-Baillie said. “The new law requires that many building’s initial milestone inspection be performed before Dec. 31, 2024. That means condo associations will soon find out the magnitude of the restoration work and the special assessments they will face. Our services will help them keep their cost low and complete the work on time and on budget.”
Get the latest industry news and information from CRE-sources delivered right to your email inbox! And we promise…no more than one email each morning.
And we promise…no more than one email each morning.