Stocking Your Association's Supply Closets Taking Inventory

They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and while the average homeowner's association doesn't have the vast expanses of marble and carpet many high-rise condo buildings have, clean, well-maintained common spaces and neatly-kept landscaping are integral to association members' quality of life. Not only that, but they're also the first areas potential buyers see, so it's important to keep these places looking immaculate—both for residents and for home-hunters.

But it's no small task to keep lobbies, clubhouses, and community areas spotless. Association maintenance staff has to have the right supplies on hand, easily accessible whenever they're needed, and to be able to order enough to do their job while still keeping an eye on the association's bottom line.

Keeping Things Clean

While residents can just drive down to the local store to get cleaning supplies, light bulbs and other household items, the quantity of supplies needed for an association's upkeep usually requires a wholesale or specialty supplier in order to be cost-effective. Secondly, a lot of thought should be put into the organization of your association's ordering system. Who orders what? How much? What kinds of supplies should every community have on hand, and what might be just collecting dust in the storeroom?

It's important to first understand that there are two categories of maintenance in any association, whether it's a single high-rise apartment building or a sprawling suburban development: the kind that requires a professional contractor (usually anything involving major plumbing repairs, electricity, or structural issues) and the kind that doesn't (blown fuses, flooded toilets, leaf raking, and so forth). When bathwater starts running out the door into the driveway or the switch plate on the wall starts smoking, it's time to call in professional help.

According to Peter Grech, a building operations consultant, president of the Superintendents Technical Association in New York City, and a superintendent himself, no homeowner (or super, for that matter) should attempt to fix such a problem on their own unless they themselves are a professional in that particular field.

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