Taking possession of the building from the developer
From: katie-henry (katie-henryatt.net)
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 12:12:29 -0800 (PST)
I'm the facilities manager for Eastern Village Cohousing in Silver Spring, MD. 
It's a 56-unit condo community in a single building with many shared 
building-wide systems, such as elevators, central hot water, geothermal 
heat/AC, and a green roof. (Winner of a 2005 NAHB Green Building Award!)

Our developer bought the building two years ago (it was an abandoned office 
building that needed to be completely rehabbed), hired the contractors, and 
managed the work. The community hired a construction advocate to represent our 
interests. 

Most of us moved in to our units in October/November 2004, with work on the 
common areas continuing until now. We inspected the common areas with our 
construction advocate about a month ago and came up with a punchlist of 
repairs, most of which have been corrected. We are now a few weeks away from 
building hand-over, where the community takes possession of the building from 
the developer and receives training and the O&M manuals from the contractor, 
etc. Work on the remaining punchlist items will continue after building 
hand-over (parts on back-order, etc.). I'm hoping to find some guidance on this 
process. A couple of specific questions:

1. Most of the remaining work is minor, but there's one large item -- a 
drainage problem that caused several units to be flooded during heavy rain. The 
developer has identified several corrective actions. Some of this work has 
already been performed, and some is still pending (waiting on plans from the 
civil engineer, bids, etc.). There is a sentiment in the community that we 
should not accept the building until all of the flood-control work is complete. 
If we accept the building before the work is complete, does it weaken our legal 
position if the developer doesn't finish the work (something I think is 
extremely unlikely) or if it turns out the work that was done is insufficient 
to prevent future flooding? However, on the other hand, we can't really test 
the work in a meaningful way until the next heavy rain, which might be months 
away.

2. What is a deficiency report? I'm getting two definitions. (1) The community 
hires an engineer or inspector immediately after building hand-over to do 
another inspection to identify problems that weren't evident during the first 
inspection. (2) The community hires an engineer or inspector towards the end of 
the warranty period (three years) to identify problems that have developed 
during the warranty period. Can anyone enlighten me? 

Any advice or insights on this whole process greatly appreciated. 

Katie

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