What is a site visit?

A site visit is a limited scope visual observation of the association's common area components.  It is limited because it does not generally include invasive or destructive testing. The purpose of the site visit is to generate information to support the funding plan of the reserve study report.  This includes an identification of, quantification or measurement of, and condition assessment of, all significant common area components for which the association has maintenance responsibility.

The site visit is far less than an engineering study, the purpose of which is to determine the structural integrity of common area components.  In older projects it is often wise to have an engineering study conducted that would provide additional information for the reserve study. Since an engineering study is far more detailed and far more expensive than the reserve study, the engineering study is generally performed only when there are significant questions about the condition of common area components that clearly cannot be determined by a limited visual inspection.

The reserve study site visit consists of identifying all association common area components, quantifying by counting or measuring, evaluating current condition, determining useful life and remaining useful life, and determining major repair or replacement cost. This seems relatively straightforward, but can actually be relatively challenging, as some common area components may not be readily accessible. An example of this would be sump pumps or exhaust fans for elevator shafts, elevator braking mechanisms and door assembly mechanisms.

An experienced reserve consultant has knowledge about what components should exist based upon the major components observed in the type of property is being evaluated.