Exterior Sealing / Paint / Waterproofing

Water intrusion is typically the most prevalent factor that impacts building systems in any region with high precipitation. Exteriors of mid rises and high rises are difficult to inspect and repair so completing regular cycles of preventative maintenance associated with exterior paint and sealing is vital to reduce long term damage to the building structure as well as reduce the long term costs associated with larger scale repair projects. More common reserve study components related to water intrusion prevention include: 


  • Exterior Paint approximately every 8 years (concrete and metals)
  • Inspect regularly (annually) and seal / caulk door & windows frames at same time of paint cycles
  • Refurbish waterproof garden beds, plant beds, rooftop decks at approximately 20-25 years


With regular inspections and cycles of exterior paint and sealing the risk for water intrusion issues and damage is minimized. All buildings will have specific areas of concern that keep coming up over the years and are typically due to some construction design that causes issues such as caulk failure. Special consideration and funding for these areas should be noted in the reserve study for updates to the study and for the future Boards of the building / community. 

high rise painting and sealing

concrete and windows

Exterior Restoration / Windows / Doors / Glazing

Exteriors of mid and high rise buildings often consist of concrete surfaces which will tend to have spalling issues with age (specifically in coastal areas) even with adequate inspections and sealing. Visible damage to the concrete should be rectified promptly and funding for larger scale restoration is recommended on a longer term basis. Additionally mid and high rises will typically have a large number of windows / doors / glazing which will need repair and funding for replacement on a longer term basis. Our more typical recommendations for funding include:  

  • Building exterior restoration approximately 20-25 years for concrete surfaces
  • Window / door / glazing  replacement at 30-40 years depending on materials

*Note: Consideration and funding should take into account code requirements that tend to change for multi-story building windows / doors / glazing. A reserve study is only a visual inspection of the buildings so it is extremely important qualified vendors (typically engineers) fully inspect the building exteriors for any issues and code compliance. Their 

recommendations for repair / restoration can be incorporated into the reserve study for adequate planning & budgeting. 

Decks / Balconies / Railings

Multi story buildings with decks​, balconies and railings will require regular inspection of these building components to ensure the safety of the building membership. Funding in a reserve study for the refurbishment or replacements of these components often varies depending on the location of the building (coastal areas, regions with high precipitation) and exposure of them to the elements. These components are often extremely costly and will likely result in financial difficulties for the Association if the community does not adequately fund for them. 

  • Deck replacement / refurbishment every 25-30 years
  • Railing replacement every 25-30 years

Reserve Analyst Tip: For cost efficiency coincide the deck and railing replacement with the building exterior restoration projects and exterior painting/sealing. This is both most cost effective for the community and narrows the window of time needed to conduct these large scale projects which helps to minimize the impact on the building membership.

deck replacement



An elevator is a constant workhouse for a multi-story building that the community relies on for their everyday living arrangements. As elevators age they will often begin to slow down, become noisier, smell unpleasant and have more frequent unscheduled down times which are costly and inconvenient to the members of a building. Our funding recommendations will follow the vendor recommendations for the specific elevator system but typically are as follows: 


  • Elevator Cab remodel every 15 years
  • Elevator equipment modernization every 30 years


The elevator cab remodel ensures the elevator is updated and is an appealing building component as it makes a big impression on the building members, their guests and any potential Buyers as to the maintenance of the building.


Equipment modernization ensures the elevators continue to operate safely, to code and efficiently over the life of the building. After an elevator modernization it will typically run faster, smoother, have lower ongoing maintenance costs and require less electricity to operate. 

Mechanical Equipment

Out of sight should definitely not mean out of mind as mechanical equipment is an extremely important and costly aspect of the high rise building. The mechanical equipment utilized to ensure the safety and comfort of the community varies from building to building but below are some of the more typical mechanical systems we recommend funding for in our reserve studies.

  • HVAC equipment - replace 15-20 years
  • Exhaust Systems - replace 15-20 years
  • Cooling Towers - replace 20-25 years
  • Generators - replace 30-40 years
  • Fire Alarm & Pump/Sprinkler Systems - replace - 30-40 years
  • Boilers - replace / refurbish  20-30 years

The useful life of mechanical equipment is very dependent on how hard the equipment is used. Often we find equipment which is undersized or oversized that runs outside its most efficient use patterns which in turn impacts the useful life of the equipment. Regular inspection and annual maintenance of the equipment helps to extend the useful life of the equipment and helps to reduce the rserve allocation needs for the replacement project. 

mechanical equipment