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Making the most of any  community’s operating budget and improving the lifestyles of its residents.

Making the most of any community’s operating budget and improving the lifestyles of its residents.

  • Posted: May 31, 2017
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Working with vendors is a large part of serving on the board of a managed community.

Every community has outside partners for services like landscaping, sanitation, cable and Internet provision, pool maintenance, plumbing, blacktop, valet services and more. Finding and learning what they do and how they can help. Many people ask if its the Management company to find the best companies for the properties? Well we have found that Boards help in the selecting of the right companies. They give their suggestions to the Management companies. This way favoritism does not take place. Laws are being changed as we speak that will prevent this for Florida’s Property Management Industry.

Open and effective communication among the board, the management company and the vendors employed by the association is an important part of making the most of any community’s operating budget and improving the lifestyles of its residents. Focusing on great communication and why it matters.

Sherwin-Williams

What can happen if communication among those entities isn’t consistent, open and effective? “Ineffective communication with vendors can cost your community money, but more importantly, it can result in loss of trust,” according to Frank Mari, executive director of SFPMA.ORG  “That means trust that the residents have in both the management company and the board, and also the trust the board has in the management company to manage vendors and recommend the right vendors for the community. As they need qualified vendors they find many on SFPMA’s Members Directory to select from.”

Poor communication with vendors can cost your association money too. If you don’t understand the details in a contract and don’t keep an open line for questions and clarifications, you may not realize that your community isn’t getting the services you think you are signing up for…. and then you will need to pay for the missing elements separately, impacting your operating budget.

Mr.Mari says “Talk to your landscaper in the middle of winter, not just spring and summer,” he directed. “If you’re an auditor, check in with the board and management company a few times of year, not just when the audit needs to be done.” Call them ask them to do a walk through of your buildings and communities, Preventive Maintenance is Key.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your current property management maintains open communication with vendors, ask! It’s important to make sure that outside vendors operate in the best interests of your community. We are all well-versed in the importance of vendor relationships and effective communication,” Frank explained. “Boards appreciate that we bring that additional level of support. Because of the trust we create with our vendors, almost any situation between boards and vendors can be resolved fairly.”

Speaking the language A basic part of communication is simply understanding the language each party is speaking. Most board members are not going to be experts in all the areas of running a
managed community, but it’s important that you have a basic knowledge of the terminology being used. Board members are expected and required to execute contracts related to things like
landscaping and other topics they may not be previously familiar with,” Talk to your Property Manager and include your Law Firm with contracts. “That fiduciary responsibility means that they need to understand what they are signing, what the work entails. It’s not enough to just consider price. Board members need to know more about what vendors are doing in order to make sure it’s being done.”

All HOA and Condo boards should be involved early in vendor selection discussions and leave the details of execution to the management company. It is important the board communicate any critical elements of their vision for the community to the vendor and be clear about what they require from each potential vendor they meet with. Board members must know enough to
understand what they should expect, what level of service is being provided for their community and what reasonable expectations are for that vendor. A landscaping company
that cares for a dozen large properties isn’t going to hand-prune every shrub, but that may be what some board members expect because they don’t yet understand the basics of large-scale landscaping,” “Of course, a self-managed community is going require more knowledge from the board members as far as monitoring the work being done and knowing that contracts are being fulfilled properly. Having a professional management company involved takes that responsibility off board members, because we know best practices, thanks to our experience managing multiple communities.” If you are looking for a Management Company

Find Top Florida Companies on our Members Directory.

How can boards and management companies know they are up-to-date on the terminology and jargon being used by their vendors? Many management companies are SFPMA Members themselves, With this membership there are educational seminars or round tables that let board members hear directly from vendors. “In addition to our in-house educational opportunities, I suggest that board members go to home shows, garden shows and other trade events so they can interact directly with vendors and pick up literature on the latest techniques and products,”.

sfpma.com - network, educate with Florida's Property management industryI tell my members to spend time at meetings, seminars and expos at every one of them get to know the vendors, Collect brochures.  Build those relationships. Listen to the keynote speakers as well. Over the years, vendors have shared with me how they have been impacted by SFPMA and how it makes them want to be part of our success. Obviously, you learn a lot that you take back to their boards and educate them on new information.

All of our members, partners and board members are asked to focus on professional development and educational opportunities that are offered by our Association to our Industry. vendors in many different disciplines host events that allow property managers to earn continuing education credits, and that many welcome board member attendance as well.

When you get to know vendors, you’re ready to work with them as partners, to optimize your community association’s budget and improve the lifestyles of the residents in your community.

South Florida Property Management Association can help you work with vendors to make the most of your association’s budgets by learning about the Top Companies working in our Industry.

www.sfpma.org

Become a Member Today!

   

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What you can’t see is often more important than what you can.

What you can’t see is often more important than what you can.

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2017
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When talking about people we often say it’s what is on the inside that counts, well the same can be said for condominiums. What you can’t see is often more important than what you can.

Many associations came about when developers converted apartment buildings into condos. Others in south Florida are just getting old and while it might not always be obvious on the outside a look inside the walls, under the slab or in the elevator equipment room will give you a better picture of the problems that lurk beneath the surface. All of these things have useful life’s and tend to wear out over time.

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Tips to Maximize LED Retrofits

Tips to Maximize LED Retrofits

  • Posted: Apr 13, 2016
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What are your priorities for your next lighting project? Are you aiming for energy savings? Is the constant need to replace failed lamps cutting into the time you could be spending on other maintenance? Or are you just  not happy with the quality of your existing light sources? LED lighting could help solve these issues. This ultra-efficient light source is more affordable than ever thanks to plummeting component prices and energy efficiency incentives. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, make sure your LED retrofit delivers maximum value with these tips. 1) Define the Problem What issue are you trying to solve with an LED retrofit? Are you mainly prioritizing energy savings, or are there other problems that the new installation needs to solve too? The General Services Administration (GSA) recommends asking yourself these questions to help define your needs: ■     Is the space already overlit? ■     What are your current and future lighting needs? ■     How long do you plan to occupy the space? ■     Do you want to incorporate sensors into fixtures? ■     What control capabilities are you looking for, even beyond your lighting system? For the Waukesha (WI) School District’s natatorium, energy savings was a high priority, but the need to improve lighting conditions was also urgent. The existing metal halide fixtures had a half-life of about 8,000 hours, by which point they would lose around 40% of their original light output, says Jeff Gatzow, Vice President of Optec LED Lighting, which manufactured and installed the new LED lamps used in the natatorium project. Bringing in a lift to change the lights was so needlessly complicated that the bulbs typically wouldn’t be replaced until they failed, which created a safety issue, notes Tom Cherone, Master Electrician for the Waukesha School District. “The maintenance was also extremely time-consuming. We had to shut the pool down because you can’t have people around when you’re working with an aerial lift,” Cherone says. “The fixtures were tempered glass – if the glass breaks and falls into the pool, you don’t have a lot of options other than draining it, which becomes extremely expensive when you have to pay for sewage and water fees to refill 480,000 gallons. With the new LED heads, each one is a sealed unit and the components are sealed as well so if they do fail, it’s a simple operation to just drop the head and put a replacement in its place.” To get a handle on your building’s needs, Vikrant Mahajan, Product Marketing Manager for OSRAM SYLVANIA, recommends assessing every space in the building to examine existing light levels, control requirements, maintenance expectations and other factors that could impact your LED choices. One way to do this is with a comprehensive audit that accounts for every light source in your building. Juliann Rogers, Director of Energy for CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., oversaw an audit and LED retrofit of 204 Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants nationwide. The company is participating in the DOE’s Interior Lighting Campaign, which encourages FMs to install high-efficiency lighting and has set an initial goal of 1 million efficient troffers installed by May. “We had retrofitted several dining rooms with LED kits two to three years ago. We didn’t want to tear those down and reinstall them because they were still fairly new, so I provided my auditor with a scope of work that said to audit the kitchen only in any restaurant where we’d already retrofitted the dining room,” Rogers explains. “I would recommend having them audit the entire restaurant. If a fixture is LED already, they can make a note about that, but at least you’ll know.”…

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Parking Garage: Annual Savings with LEDs

Parking Garage: Annual Savings with LEDs

  • Posted: Apr 13, 2016
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Desired Outcome Find a metal halide replacement that reduces energy, lowers maintenance costs and improves light levels. Results Lowered yearly energy consumption by over 1,230,000 kWh and achieved a 3.5-year payback. Parking garages can be notorious for poor lighting. The wrong fixture or illumination level can create a dingy appearance and deep shadows. An Atlanta media company wanted its secured parking garage to have uniform lighting, which the existing metal halides were unable to deliver. Switching to LED fixtures not only achieved significant energy savings and reduced maintenance costs, but the garage’s appearance was considerably brightened. The property team chose to replace its 845 existing 175W metal halide fixtures with LED luminaires. The retrofit reduced the electrical load by 75%, from approximately 220W per fixture to 54W. This resulted in a total load reduction of 140 kW or 1,230,000 kWh annually, realizing a $116,000 operational savings with a 3.5 year payback. “Parking lighting is typically on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. LED parking garage fixtures are getting closer to the cost of HID fixtures, with the difference in upfront costs easily recovered through reduced maintenance requirements,” explains Wendy Norman, National Account Sales for Eaton. “Metal halide 175W parking garage fixtures can often be replaced with LED fixtures at 50W or less while still meeting IES requirements. With an average rate of 10 cents per kWh rates, that’s nearly $120 per fixture in annual energy savings. A facility with 85 to 90 fixtures would realize over $10,000 each year in addition to reduced maintenance expenses.”…

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Plaza Shines Bright With LEDs

Plaza Shines Bright With LEDs

  • Posted: Apr 13, 2016
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Desired Outcome Create a warm impression, reduce electrical loads and use standardized lighting. Results New pole and canopy LEDs slash energy by 48%. Melrose Village Plaza is a retail neighborhood with the grocery store Albertsons, CVS Pharmacy and Kimco Realty’s regional office as anchor tenants. Built in 1990, the parking lot was originally equipped with over 80 215W low pressure sodium fixtures. There were also 138 miscellaneous high pressure sodium and halogen luminaires for exterior lighting. Through its Illumi-Nation program, Kimco is upgrading all of its properties to LED lighting. “Particularly in retail but for all sectors, exterior lighting should create a pleasant first impression. People driving by should have an overall sense of invitation, visual appeal and security,” says Nate Mitten, Senior Manager of Property Standards and Improvements for Kimco Realty. “The improved light distribution of LEDs, higher lumens per watt and lower maintenance costs can provide a strong business case for an upgrade project.” The switch to LEDs at the Melrose property dropped the watts per ballast from 215W to 139W, a 35% reduction in electrical demand. One-to-one replacements were used for all canopy fixtures to yield 67% energy savings. The formerly washed-out parking area is now cheerfully lit, with an average light level of 3.1 footcandles (a 109% increase) and uniformity at an average/minimum ratio of 4.4:1. Completed in August 2015, the upgrade has lowered energy use by 48% and is projected to save approximately 70,000 kWh annually. “Our Illumi-Nation program is the first time we’ve taken a standardized approach to lighting upgrades across the portfolio. We completed over 100 LED upgrades in 2015 and have 60 more targeted for 2016. Our strategy is to source fixtures with 10-year warranties through a single national distributor. We then hire regional contractors for installation,” Mitten explains. “Our local property managers serve as the quarterbacks for our projects; their input, coordination and oversight is critical to a successful rollout.”  …

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The benefits of replacing existing lighting with LEDs.

The benefits of replacing existing lighting with LEDs.

  • Posted: Mar 11, 2016
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As recently as 2007, the LED lighting market was valued at just $340 million, however that number is expected to grow to $7.3 billion by 2014. “The adoption of LED is happening on two fronts. Manufacturers have seen the trend for more energy efficient lighting and are committing significant resources in research, design and manufacturing.Fluorescent lighting is already be phased out around the world and the United States, Canada, Malaysia and South Korea are set to phase out fluorescent lighting in 2014. This phase out means there is tremendous growth potential for the LED industry”, explains, Michael Smith, president of Brite LED Solutions. LED lighting is not new, or cutting-edge technology, it’s been around for years, however it’s now becoming more popular as energy cost of risen and the prices for LED’s have dropped and every business is looking to reduce overhead cost, especially because of the shrinking economy over the last 5 years. LED makes a powerful case since the ROI (return on investment) is usually within 2 years, and in facility which operates 24/7 the payback can be less than 1 year. The enormous potential for electricity conservation through LEDs will further help drive revenues in the industry. When savings average between 50 and 80 percent of energy costs compared to conventional lighting our LED products are a sound investment for any business. Our company has a strong background in LED lighting and realize that our customers expect a high level of service which is always something we continually strive to do and improve on. Brite LED sells to the wholesale market, electrical contractors and works with property management companies. We also export our LED products internationally, especially the Caribbean and Latin America. Look at some of our new products: Featured in the March Edition of Florida Rising Magazine http://www.briteledlighting.com/ Please visit our office and showroom at 230 West 29th Street Miami, Florida 33012 786-563-3160  …

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How LED Lighting can help protect Florida’s Sea Turtles

How LED Lighting can help protect Florida’s Sea Turtles

  • Posted: Dec 03, 2015
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How LED Lighting can help protect Florida’s Sea Turtles written by Mike Smith of Brite LEDLighting find out more about mike http://sfpma.com/listing/brite-led-lighting/ Even with all the treasure discovered right off the coast of Florida, I consider the Sea turtles to be the Florida’s real “treasure”. These magnificent marine reptiles have been an endangered species for decades and their population has continued to decline due to pollution, shrimp trawling and continued development in their nesting areas. The sea turtles found most often off the Florida coast include: the Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green Turtle, Hawksbill and the Kemp’s Ridley, a turtle which you’ll probably never come across since it’s the rarest sea turtle in the world.     Artificial Lighting In Florida, the nesting season runs from April to September, and hatching season is between June and October. Artificial lighting used by condominiums and other properties on the beach can interfere with the natural behavior of adult and hatchling sea turtles. Sea turtles have a difficult enough time finding their way back to the ocean in the presence of artificial light. This often causes a phenomenon known as disorientation, or “misorientation”. We’ve all read stories of sea turtle hatchings getting inadvertently run over by crossing A1A instead of heading out to sea. Many of these incidents are caused by artificial lighting which drives them in the wrong direction, thus becoming a barrier for them to reach the safety of the ocean. Light level, artificial or otherwise, is a strong cue when turtles seek nest site selection. Other cues for sea turtles include the light color, (also known as wavelength) brightness, horizon shape, continuity, silhouette and slope. Adult sea turtles prefer darker beaches, which on the surface might sound good for turtles, staying away from developments and activity on a well lit the beach. However, studies have found that beaches with high light levels often have lower nesting densities; or no nests at all. This drives turtles to the few remaining darkened beach areas. This hurts turtles since it concentrates nesting areas and adversely affects the mortality the rate of hatchlings.     Unfortunately, there is no simple measure of light intensity which can reveal whether or not a light source will be a problem. The effects of artificial lighting on sea turtles may actually increase as ambient light-levels decrease on moonless nights. Since we know any visible light from an artificial light source causes problems for sea turtles the best judgment is still the eyes of a human observer on beach facing towards a property to check the lighting. Any light source producing light that is visible from the beach is likely to cause problems for nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.   Lighting Regulations Most counties in the State of Florida with a coastline have passed lighting regulations which specifically cover the protection of sea turtles. Even in the counties which don’t have legislation protecting sea turtles, most of these cities are proactive in enacting their own sea turtle ordinances to help preserve the sea turtle’s nesting habitat. The State of Florida has developed a model lighting ordinance (62B-55, F.A.C.) to help guide local governments in creating lighting ordinances. Sea turtles are also protected by Florida Marine Turtle Protection Act, Chapter 370.12, and FL. Statutes.  …

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