Many HOA clients often ask if plumbing and piping should be included in a reserve study. Some may say no because CAI national reserve study standards state that a component must have a predictable remaining life to be included in a reserve study. It’s true that trying to predict exactly when plumbing will need to be replaced can be tricky. But replumbing a building or doing major plumbing replacements is a major expense and you can, at the very least, estimate when it may need to be done so we think that it is a wise decision to include it in reserve studies. Even if you are not planning on replacing all plumbing or even a large percentage of plumbing it is still good practice to put an allowance in your reserve study for the occasional failure or section that may need replacement. Even if all plumbing inside the buildings is maintained by the individual homeowners it’s important to realize that the main and sewer lines beneath the common areas are likely the association’s responsibility. As condos get older it is even more important because plumbing failures will occur more often. Reserve studies don’t typical include any inspection of plumbing that is located within walls or any scoping of the lines. Therefore it may be a good idea to put your reserve study professional in touch with any plumbing contractor that the association is working with and the two of them can create an estimate of what should be included in the reserve study. Some association may include a plumbing allowance in their annual operating budget. Even if this is the case it still may be necessary to include plumbing in the reserve study for major replacements or unexpected large failures. The most important thing is that an association be aware that plumbing and piping does not last forever. The association should work with plumbing contractors and their reserve specialist to determine how they should best plan for and fund their plumbing replacements.
Should Plumbing and Pipes be Included in a Reserve Study