What Should I Look For In A Reserve Study Company?

You want to obtain a provider that will work with you and be there to answer follow up questions. Aside from the cost of the study, obtained from submitting bid requests, you may wish to consider the following questions:
The following questions are offered as a guide in the decision making process to select a Reserve Study firm.
1) What is the firm’s background and experience? While it is not necessary for the firm to be engineers or architects, experience is a major factor. What are their credentials? How many Reserve Studies has the firm conducted in the last year? Five years? Ask for employee qualifications in the proposal.
2) What organizations does the firm belong to that helps you in conducting Reserve Studies?
These may include the Association of Professional Reserve Analysts or Community Associations Institute.
3) Does the firm comply with APRA and CAI basic requirements for a Reserve Study? Are both the physical and financial components of the Reserve Study included, as required by both APRA and CAI? The Reserve Study must include: inventory of common elements, useful life, remaining useful life, future replacement costs, and a funding plan to set up sufficient reserves.
4) What percent of the firm’s work is for community associations? Does the firm specialize in reserve studies or is it an engineering or contracting firm working for community associations as a sideline business? If not, they may not be able to take cost saving success stories from other communities and apply them to your association.
5) What is the size of staff involved in the assignment? What is the background of the individual inspecting the association? Will others in the firm be involved? Does the firm have a strong quality control system in place? Will the principals of the firm be involved in the analysis, review, etc.?
6) Does the firm use full-time employees only, subcontract engineering or accounting services, or is it part of a loose affiliation with other firms spread throughout the United States? This question can speak volumes about the expertise of the firm and its individuals.
7) Which method do you use for funding reserves? Of the two methods, cash flow and component, APRA and CAI both endorse the cash flow method, which should determine minimum but stable levels of funding over the term of the analysis.
8) What is your basis for replacement costs of the common elements? Databases purchased from national companies, contractors, manufacturers, internal database information, etc.
9) Do the reports comply with the AICPA Audit Guide and relevant state statutes?
10) Are many Reserve Study references provided that are either of similar properties or in close proximity to home or both? Call references. They often can shed much light on their likes and dislikes with the firm.