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Welcome to CAI’s new e-newsletter, created just for you. Each colorful, easy-to-navigate issue will arrive every month in your inbox containing the most up-to-date news, data, and calendar items created specifically for CAI informed members—and those who want to be. Everything you need to know about communities, courses, webinars, meetings—and especially about other CAI members—is now at your fingertips. And each new issue will be customized to include the articles you want to read most.

Tackling the BIG Project

The first step in managing a large and expensive community-wide project is creating a precise RFP.

By Colby Shear, CMCA, AMS, PCAM​


Whether high-rise, single-family, townhouse, or garden-style, at some point a community association will be confronted with a large, comprehensive, time-consuming, disruptive—and probably expensive—project. It's up to association boards and their managers to make sure that whatever the scope of the work to be done, the project is accomplished on time, within the budget, and with as little disruption as possible to residents.

For starters, consider hiring a professional project manager, particularly if the budget or project is significant. A professional project manager can determine specifications—including dimensions, materials, and schedules—and can write the request for proposal (RFP) and/or manage many of the following steps. Project managers also know what kind of financial incentives to include in an RFP for meeting deadlines and budget. If the budget allows, it's well worth the cost, but just as you would with any contractor you hire, do your due diligence with regard to references and reviews. 

What to Include in an RFP
A good RFP contains the exact specifications and terms for the proposed project so that all contractors' estimates are based on the same scope of work. The following points can be customized for almost any major project:

  • Specify the location where the work will be performed, including building number and street address, and provide a description of the site along with any available maps and photos.

  • Determine who will be responsible for storing materials, supplies, and any construction equipment—and where these items will be stored. And how will debris be removed and disposed of? Will dumpsters be needed on the work site or anywhere on the property?

  • Determine a start date for the project, progress inspections, and a deadline by which the project will be completed. Include financial penalties if the start and completion dates aren't met.

  • Specify site conditions for the duration of the project. Expect the contractor to guarantee that residents will not be exposed to hazards or after-hours noise or disruptions and that all equipment will be removed and the work area left reasonably clean or usable at the end of each work day.

  • Stipulate a realistic work schedule, including days of the week and hours each day, that respects residents, and require advance notice of any changes to the prescribed schedule.
  • Require the contractor to include the association as an “additional named insured" on his or her insurance policy and to verify workers comp coverage. Also, require that the contractor indemnify the association for any claims or loss. 

  • Require that any workers on the project are the contractor's employees and not independent contractors. 

  • Require that the contractor present any change orders in writing to the board and that, before it's implemented, each change order is to be signed by a designated member of the board.

  • Specify a payment schedule that includes how materials will be purchased and labor will be paid. For instance, will the association pay a percentage at certain progress points, or is 50 percent of the contract be due up front? Include how much of the total payment (usually 10 percent) can be held back until all the work is completed and accepted.

  • Require workers to wear identifying clothing or badges; use only the freight elevator (if within a building) or ensure padding is used in public elevators every day; and only use specific, designated parking spaces. More about elevators: The RFP should require that contractors' employees don't inconvenience residents by holding the elevator(s) on a specific floor while working. The RFP also should require room for ingress and egress whenever possible.

  • If the association doesn't have a project manager, require the potential contractors to specify or confirm measurements and provide drawings or schematics so you and the board can compare any discrepancies.

  • Invite all interested contractors to tour the site early in the bidding process so they can ask questions.

  • Specify a deadline, including date and time, for all responses to the RFP, i.e., bids, to be received. Request that bids be delivered in a sealed envelope to the association board, manager, or someone designated by the board to receive them. The designee should keep a log of when each bid packet is received.
  • Have the association's attorney review the RFP—and any document related to a sizeable contract—before sending it to potential contractors. 
Evaluating Proposals

​Once you've received the bids, the following steps can help board members and community managers evaluate the proposals:

  • Prepare a spreadsheet to keep track of all proposals, compare their major points, and ensure they meet the RFP's requirements.

  • Research each contractor's references and reviews on the usual sites, as well as the Better Business Bureau. Do their previous clients confirm they were on time and on budget? Were change orders reasonable, or did they under bid? Was the work conducted in a satisfactory manner? Consider visiting their references' properties to see examples of their work. 

Once the board selects a contractor, make sure someone stays involved with the project. If you don't have a professional project manager, someone will need to be responsible to ensure that all the timelines are met and the project runs smoothly.

Undertaking a large project doesn't have to be daunting, and preparing a detailed request for proposal makes it easy to compare contractors. Managers and board members who take time to make sure the contractor understands the scope of work, the payment method and schedule, and the work standards are ensuring a successful outcome.

Colby Shear is the principal of Community Association Consulting in Duluth, Ga., and a 20-year veteran in the community association management industry.

Bids_Contracts CVR.pngCAI has numerous resources to guide managers and boards through the process of creating and evaluating requests for proposals. Get your copy of Bids and Contracts: How to Find the Right Community Association Professional​ at Member price: $15. Buy three or more GAPS and save 20 percent.

Another great CAI resource to help you ensure a successful outcome for your community's project is the on-demand webinar “Selective Service: Hiring Qualified Contractors," available at A 120-day subscription is $69 for members.

Also search CAI's Professional Services Directory, which lists qualified CAI business partners by state or a wide range of specialties, at



CAI member communities achieve prestigious environmental certification.


Seabrook Island Property Owners Association in coastal South Carolina, and The Landings at Skidaway Island, just outside Savannah, Georgia, recently were named Certified Sustainable Communities by Audubon International. Both communities are the first in their respective states to receive this prestigious, difficult-to-achieve designation.

Two other South Carolina communities, Oldfield Community Association and the Town of Hilton Head, also recently joined the exclusive Audubon International list of certified communities.

Seabrook Island is a 2,400-acre coastal barrier island about 20 miles south of Charleston, S.C. Incorporating maritime forest, tidal marshes, and beachfront, Seabrook is home to a diverse range of wildlife including several endangered species. The community's 1,800 residents share 500 acres of common area, including a 14-acre lake, miles of hiking and biking trails, a marina, and beaches. The association began work to formalize its sustainability efforts in 2011.

When Seabrook was awarded the certification in December, it became the sixth community in the world to earn the honor, joining Eufaula, Ala.; Williamston, N.C.; Coconut Creek, Fla.; Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont; and Rio Verde, Ariz.

 “This designation signifies that Seabrook Island has been recognized as a community that has demonstrated leadership in creating a sustainable future," says Heather Paton, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, Seabrook Island's executive director.

“The property owners of Seabrook Island have long believed in and practiced many of the tenets and principles of sustainability, as demonstrated through their volunteerism," says Edward Houff, president of Seabrook Island's board.

“Sustainability means not only preservation of our existing environment but also taking actions to help ensure the treasures of our environment are not wasted," says Houff.

The Landings at Skidaway Island, a community of 8,500 residents, is about 120 miles south of Seabrook Island and just southeast of Savannah. According to Meredith Welsh, who spearheaded the community's efforts, the decision to pursue the Audubon International certification came about in 2013 at a roundtable meeting of several independent Skidaway Island environmental groups.

At the time, Welsh was board chair of Skidaway Audubon, a not-for-profit organization that had a long-time relationship with Audubon International through The Landings' environmentally certified golf courses. In their discussion, she and other group leaders realized they “had already done a good portion of the work that would be required" to become certified. “So why not aggregate the work of all these people?" she says.

“We are honored to receive this award," said Shari Haldeman, CMCA, AMS, The Landings Association's general manager. “Many people worked diligently to help us attain this honor." Along with volunteers and The Landings' staff, Welsh and Haldeman also credit many non-residents: the manager of Skidaway Island's 500-acre state park and educators and researchers from the University of Georgia Marine Extension, which has an aquarium on the island, and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

“This is one of the most wonderful aspects of our becoming certified … the people who share this island with us but who do not live within our community," says Welsh. “They are enormous contributors to what we did."​

Environmental Credentials
Centered around creating measurable goals and objectives that benefit residents, visitors, and the environment, the Audubon International certification program can be a rigorous process that may take several years to achieve.

The program focuses on three sustainability areas—a vibrant economy, a healthy environment, and an equitable community—and is designed to support a community's previously identified priorities and build on its ongoing sustainability and planning efforts. Communities that plan to pursue certification should already have some sustainability efforts in place.

According to Jessica Latus, Audubon International's director of Sustainable Community Programs, the program is a “way to publicly recognize and reward the environmental achievements and leadership of communities that learn about sustainability and how it can be implemented on a local scale."

Environmentally aware communities like Seabrook and The Landings at Skidaway Island find themselves in a much better position to attract new business and encourage expansion, which can result in local job growth, according to Paton. She adds that becoming a more sustainable community produces a ripple effect on many economic fronts, including business growth, reinvestment, and expansion. Welsh, who believes her community's new certification makes The Landings at Skidaway Island more attractive to potential homebuyers, agrees.

“The Sustainable Communities Program helps communities—whether they are municipalities, large resorts, lake associations, or planned communities—take steps to ensure that they are healthy, desirable, and vibrant places in which to live, work, and play—both today and tomorrow," says Latus.

Adds Welsh: “We'd love to see this (certification) become a trend."

>>More information on Seabrook Island and Audubon International's sustainability program for communities is included in the May/June 2018 issue of Common Ground magazine, available at next week.


CAMICB names new board commissioners

Rob Felix, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, RS, James Magid, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, and Michael S. Hurley​


​​The Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) recently announced that three new members have joined its 2018 Board of Commissioners: Rob Felix, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, RS; Michael S. Hurley; and James Magid, CMCA, LSM, PCAM.

03CAIAtHome_CAMICBCommission_Felix.jpgFelix, (top right) who previously was on the CAMICB board, has more than 30 years' experience in community management and reserve studies and will serve as the board's secretary/treasurer. He is founder and principal of Consolidated Community Services and The Felix Reserve Group in Carlsbad, Calif., which offer consulting and reserve study expertise to developers, homeowners associations, and management companies.

03CAIAtHome_CAMICBCommission_Hurley.jpgHurley, pictured at left, is the managing director of Strata Title Management, a community management company in Brisbane, Australia, and a member of Strata Community Association (SCA), Australia's equivalent of CAI. He is chair of SCA's National Education Advisory board, and a past president of SCA's Queensland chapter. A long-time community management instructor in Australia, Hurley is an international subject matter expert on CAMICB's exam development committee.03CAIAtHome_CAMICBCommission_Magid.jpg

Magid, (bottom right) vice president of FirstService Residential's lifestyle division, has been an active CAI volunteer member for many years. A former member of CAI's Association of Professional Community Managers Board, which was recently renamed the Community Association Managers Council, he is a past president of CAI's New Jersey Chapter and a member of New Jersey's legislative action committee.

“Our two new commissioners—Michael Hurley and Jim Magid—and our returning Board member Rob Felix, bring an exceptional combination of skill, experience, and perspective to the CAMICB Board of Commissioners," says John H. Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB's executive director. “Michael brings the international perspective that is vital as we work to position the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) exam and credential​​ outside the United States; Jim offers a wealth of industry and organizational experience in a range of capacities; and Rob brings a deep commitment to the credential and a belief in the value it brings—and can bring—to the profession. We're pleased to welcome three outstanding Commissioners to our Board."

Other members of the CAMICB Board of Commissioners include chair Drew Mulhare, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM; vice-chair Wendy Taylor, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM; commissioners Sandra Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM; Lori Loch-Lee, CMCA, AMS, PCAM; and public interest members Marilyn Brainard and Wil Washington, Esq.

CAMICB is an independent, international board that sets the standards for community association managers worldwide and administers the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) examination, a rigorous, three-hour test that measures managers' knowledge of community management best practices. 

>>For more information about CAMICB and details about its Board of Commissioners, visit​



The California Homebuilding Foundation announced recently that F. Scott Jackson, a shareholder and director at the Irvine, Calif., law firm Jackson Tidus, will be inducted in to the organization's Homebuilding Hall of Fame in June. 

04CAIAtHome_FScottJackson.jpgAn attorney for more than 45 years, Jackson co-founded his law firm, which specializes in real estate law, and currently chairs the firm's subdivisions services group, which has created more than 3,000 residential, mixed-use, and commercial owners' associations for builders and land developers.

A CAI past president, a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and a charter member of the Board of Governors of the College of Community Association Lawyers, Jackson has taught several seminars, authored or co-authored numerous books, including the National Association of Homebuilders' Business Condominiums, and edited chapters for the California State Bar. In addition to his contributions to Habitat for Humanity and the HOME(FUL) Foundation, Jackson has been a devoted member of the California Building Industry Association and its Orange County chapter for more than four decades.​



Green Your Community with CAI's Green Book Bundle
Get Curb Appeal and Trees, Turf & Shrubs​, then pick up some tips for Greening Your Home​all while saving some green with CAI Press. All three books are available for $30—a savings of $17.95—while supplies last.
>>Available at​


06CAIAtHome_HitTheRoad.jpgHit the Road:
Private Road Repair in Your Community
Wed., May 23​ • 2 ̶ 3pm​

For association boards and managers interested in repairing and maintaining their roads and driveways, this webinar—based on the Road Repair Handbook—explains why roads fall apart and the most effective methods to restore them. This webinar provides straightforward advice on smart construction strategies and what pitfalls are inherent in repairing asphalt, concrete, gravel, and even dirt roads.  

>>Details and registration information are available at​



Don’t miss the premier annual education event for community association professionals, service providers, and homeowners. Register today to experience more than 30 high-level education sessions in six education tracks, expert keynotes Cam Marston and Katty Kay, exclusive networking opportunities, a world-class exhibit hall featuring the latest products and services, and much more. 

>>Visit the 2018 Annual Conference website—on every device—at

>>Sponsorship opportunities and registration information are available at

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