This article was written by Alex Bouchard, P.Eng., and originally featured on the BEST Vancouver website.

Due to the recent changes to the Strata Property Act and the Strata Property Regulations regarding Depreciation Reports, commonly referred to as Contingency Reserve Fund Studies (CRFS), BEST Consultants recognizes that early education about the CRFS and the new requirements will be an important step in facing the steep learning curve. As such, this and other upcoming articles are intended to provide guidance to Strata Councils and Property Managers about various aspects of the CRFS. Being the first article in the series, we thought it natural to start at the very beginning with considerations for the selection of a CRFS service provider.

Being a service provider and having experience with the implementation of the CRFS, BEST Consultants understands the importance of fulfilling our clients (i.e. Strata Corporations & Property Managers) expectations and providing maximum value with each CRFS. Based on our experience, we’ve provided the following considerations to assist Strata Corporations and Property Managers in completing their due diligence prior to selecting a CRFS provider:

The Strata Property Act and Regulations require that the CRFS be completed by a “qualified person” who has the knowledge and expertise to understand the individual components, scope and complexity of the strata corporation’s common property. Neither the Act nor the Regulations currently define specific designations or qualifications to be considered a “qualified person” at this point. As such, it remains the Strata Corporation’s responsibility, with the assistance of their Property Manager, to understand the prospective service providers’ qualifications.

Important information to consider includes the potential service providers’ experience with identifying, quantifying and assessing strata common property and building components as these items form the basis of the CRFS.

Beyond the CRFS, it may be wise to understand whether the service provider is experienced in providing detailed building investigations or surveys and/or repair solutions. These skills can be very valuable on two fronts. First, an experienced provider may be able to identify potential building deficiencies during the CRFS, thus saving time and allowing Strata Councils to budget for potentially expensive assessments and/or repairs in the contingency reserve fund. Second, an experienced building sciences provider can be instrumental in the implementation of the CRFS recommendations with prioritizing the project list, providing logistics, designing solutions and managing the projects.

We believe that Strata Councils should be diligent in the selection of their service providers. By informing themselves prior to selecting their service provider, Strata Councils improve their chances of obtaining an appropriate product and of having their expectations met both before and after the CRFS has been delivered. Strata Councils should consider interviews and/or questionnaires during the selection process as a quality assurance exercise. Furthermore, Strata Property Managers are a valuable resource during the selection process as they will be exposed to various service providers and will have experience with both their products and services.

BEST Consultants is a strong believer that proper education can empower people to make the right decisions. As such, we welcome any questions about this article or any other of our fields of expertise and look forward to the challenge of assisting you in achieving your goals.

Alex Bouchard, P.Eng.

BEST Consultants is a CRFS service provider which has been established for 25 years and has built its business on providing superior client services. This has been accomplished by putting our emphasis on listening and understanding our clients’ perspective while providing sound technical expertise. In the end, we aim to be the best in all our efforts.