Homeowners association and co-op/condo buildings have their work cut out for them when winter arrives; residents may slip and fall on icy sidewalks, roofs can leak, and recreational amenities need looking after. Some of these things can be controlled—and some can't, but it's important for every board/management team to keep an eye out for wintertime conditions that can lead to liability and legal problems, and do what they can to remove the risk.
A board's interest in safeguarding against slips and falls isn't just out of concern for their residents' well-being; if a snowy walkway or icy steps cause a serious injury, a costly lawsuit can be the result.
Ted Wilson of Advanced Pavement Technologies in Fairfield has seen a lot of co-op and condo buildings deal with sidewalk issues. A sidewalk that's cracked or chipped can ultimately be a danger—and lots of cracks and chips worsen in the winter.
"I see it all the time," Wilson says. "Water can build up between the concrete and the Belgian block [underneath]. When it gets cold, that water turns to ice, causing the pavement to expand and heave, and it becomes a liability."