Do Water Lines Belong In A Reserve Study?

Do Water Lines Belong In A Reserve Study?

When deciding whether a common area item belongs in a reserve study, refer to The National Reserve Study Standard four-part test:

  1. Is this item Association responsibility?
  2. Does this item have a limited useful life expectancy?
  3. Does this item have a predictable remaining useful life?
  4. Is the cost above a minimum threshold?

Part 1: See your association’s CC&Rs; to determine if the association is responsible to maintain or repair domestic water lines.

Part 2: Typically water lines are considered “Lifetime” components and therefore would not pass this part of the test.

Part 3: Costs associated with plumbing/water line repairs are normally unpredictable and do not have a predictable Remaining Useful Life.

Costs associated with repair and replacements of water lines do not pass parts 2 & 3 of the National Reserve Study Standard four-part test and therefore should not be included in a Reserve Study.

Special Case: Plumbing lines contained within the walls of building structures are normally considered to be “lifetime” components. However, if it is discovered that plumbing lines are failing, and the Association has a high probability of future expenditures to repair such plumbing, then this component can be included in a Reserve Study.

Since the timing and actual scope of these failures are difficult to predict, it would make sense to add a line item titled “Repair/Replace – Allowance” ($5,000/year or $5,000 every 5 years depending on the needs of the association) to provide funding for periodic repairs and replacements. This type of line item would need to be adjusted annually based on actual client expenses and research with contractors.

In-depth Analysis of plumbing systems is beyond the scope of a Reserve Study. If original galvanized or clay piping is predominate, this type of plumbing is known to have problems with rust occlusion, poor flow, etc…We recommend a thorough evaluation by an experienced engineer to assess overall system design and future needs.


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