Partner Post: Clubhouse Upgrades: Time for a Facelift?

August 23, 2019 The Falcon Group

A community clubhouse is usually the go-to gathering place for residents. Typically located near the recreation, pool or play areas, it can be the hub for daily life.  Many times, it is the focal point of the community and will provide a visitor or potential home purchaser a glimpse of the community’s attributes as well as curb appeal.  Unfortunately, some clubhouses were not well-designed or fully integrated into the community. Some communities may find their facility being used more during the winter or summer. Sometimes the facilities are simply aged or run down and most communities overlook the potential of the clubhouse during the lengthy transition process and find out later the clubhouse does not provide for the diverse requirements of the community.

Essentially, the clubhouse may be one of the most noticeable buildings in the community.  Most are close to the entrance which defines a sense of place and is usually the one building that new homeowners ask about.  As aesthetics differ from one community to the next, so does the range of use and needs for its clubhouse. 

The redesigning process for the clubhouse begins with the board.  If they wish, they can contact an architect and request meeting with them to discuss their concerns, scope and possible program.  The architect has the required expertise in listening to clients, evaluating current facilities and developing scopes of work.  Whether the clubhouse is run down or needs a large-scale addition, the architect is the best source for professional designs and advice.  The solutions range widely from paint and finishes to full-out additions and re-programming of building elements.  With each community being so unique, an architect has the education and experience that is required to formulate a plan of action that best suits a particular community’s needs.

If your association is interested in remodeling the clubhouse, it is recommended that an architect be consulted early on to help guide the board through the design process.  Typically the process is as follows:

1.           The board has an architect meet with them to discuss their ideas, possible scope of work and budget.

2.           The architect performs a zoning and building analysis

4.           Once the board and architect agree upon a particular scope of work, the design process begins. 

5.           The time frame required for the preliminary design can vary based upon the actual scope of work and constraints. The drawings should be concise and succinct, details of construction are not recommended at this time since the design should be approved first.

6.           The design may require revision by the architect based upon the initial review and comments by the board.

8.           These drawings are technical in nature and are ultimately to be utilized for bidding and building permits.

9.           Based upon the scope of work, the Association may require that the project be bid out to multiple contractors.

11.         Once the bids are received, they are reviewed for completeness and compared to the others.

12.         Once a contractor is awarded the project, the contractor handles the permitting and application process on behalf of the association.

Architectural fees can range from an hourly arrangement of a few thousand dollars for minor alterations to 4-8% of construction costs based upon the complexity of the design and technical nature of the work.  There may be some additional costs the board may not be aware of; including change orders.  Change orders are a change in scope differing from the original work, which causes the contractor to provide additional materials and/or labor.  Sometimes, there are change orders formed by unforeseen structural deficiencies or otherwise hidden factors.

Of course, some change orders that may be approved by the board require additional work by the professional.  Such work is usually not that expensive; however, it is directly proportionate to the amount of work which is required to achieve the goal. It is highly recommended that when undergoing any construction project, that funds be set aside for additional professional fees as well as contingency for construction.

About the Author

The Falcon Group

The Falcon Group is a unique, full-service Engineering, Architectural & Energy Consulting firm. Falcon’s primary focus is on restoring and evaluating existing facilities ranging from site, building envelope and energy improvements. Our full-service capabilities focus on your building’s specific needs. Falcon’s mission is to ensure each of our clients are held at the highest level of individualized service. Falcon takes pride in our work to ensure that our client expectations are exceeded every single time. We look forward to partnering with you on your next successful project.

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