Indian Hills owners and guests will soon be enjoying upgraded, code-compliant rear deck railings and maintenance-free, fire-resistant decking surfaces. The Board presented renderings of a conceptual design for the rear decks at the June 7, 2020, board meeting. Construction of a prototype deck was discussed at the August 8, 2020, board meeting and was completed by Labor Day weekend at 6059 Rocky Point. The Board shared photographs of the prototype deck at the 2020 Annual Owners Meeting on August 31, 2020, and made the prototype available for owners to inspect that weekend. The design was presented again at the December 2020 board meeting and the project was approved for implementation during the 2021 and 2022 construction seasons.
Bringing the deck railings into compliance with current building code will help ensure the safety of our owners and guests while they are enjoying the elevated rear decks, while also mitigating potential Association liability. Some of the more significant applicable current building code requirements include a minimum 42-inch railing height from the finished surface of the deck (the current railings are approximately 36 inches high), no opening in the railed area equal to/larger than 4 inches, and sufficient structural rigidity and attachment integrity to withstand a lateral force of 50 pounds per linear foot of railing, as well as a concentrated force of 200 pounds at any single point.
The Board retained both a California licensed architect and a California licensed structural engineer to ensure that the design is fully code-compliant and aesthetically appropriate for our buildings. The Board worked closely with these professionals, and the contractors who bid on the project, to optimize the design for cost-efficient construction, including building the prototype deck summer. The Board also worked closely with the architect, contractor, and Timber Tech to select the Azek deck surface material. This is a much higher quality and thicker material than Trex, meets Northstar fire department requirements for fire resistance, and will be installed in compliance with Timber Tech Azek specifications, including joist spans and attachment fasteners. The Association will receive a 50-year warranty on the Azek material, including deformation/sagging, cracking, and color. The Association will also be relieved of the need to re-stain the rear deck surfaces every two to three years at a cost of $20,000-25,000 each occasion.
Indian Hills has 141 units with a total of 171 decks. Project costs are anticipated to be about $1 million including:
This is about $7,100 per unit and about $5,900 per deck. An owner suggested that the Board consider a Special Assessment to help fund this project and a survey was conducted via Survey Monkey to determine owner interest. 30 of the 57 owners who responded to the survey were in favor of a modest assessment ($2,000 to $3,000) and the Board decided to conduct a vote.
Although 111 units have only a single rear deck while 30 units have two, Indian Hills CC&Rs Article 5.6 Division of Assessments states that “Regular and Special Assessments shall be divided among the Units equally”. This means that all owners, whether their units have one or two decks, must be assessed the same amount.
A Special Assessment of $2,500 per unit would provide $352,500 to help offset the total cost for the rear decks. The remaining funds will come from the Association’s reserve account for capital improvements.
As owners should be aware, our reserve account has been identified in our annual Reserve Study as underfunded for more than ten years. The board has been increasing our regular annual assessment annually to help build our reserve balance.
The Indian Hills Board of Directors recommends that owners approve the Special Assessment for $2,500 to reduce the funding needed for the project from our existing reserves.