I'm hoping someone can provide some direction for me. I realize that what I
am about to ask is nigh onto impossible to accurately estimate, given the
many variables at work.
I am on the finance committee of a homeowner's association situated in
eastern NC. He have about 40 brick columns connected together by wrought
iron fencing leading into our development which the HOA is expected to
maintain. The columns are about 9 years old and in excellent condition. We
are working on developing replacement reserves to help fund expensive
repairs or replacements sometime in the future.
We have calculated that we have about 9,300 linear feet of mortar joints in
these pillars and their bases. From what we have read, such mortar joints
typically last at least 25 or more years. We've obtained a local cost to
repoint a linear foot of mortar at $8 per foot. What we do not know, and
are trying to get some overall experiential estimates on, is this: is there
some percentage we might apply, here in eastern NC, that would say that of
all 9300 feet, x% would likely have to be repointed when the time comes? We
realize that the quality of the mortar and the quality of the brick laying
are large variables, as are weather conditions. We are near the coast in an
area with high humidity but little in the way of freezing conditions.
Assume that the mortar and workmanship are excellent. Is there anyone in
the industry who could say, for example, that we might expect to have to
repoint 25% or 30% or 50%, etc, of the mortar lines in 25 years? Any
guidance you could give us would be appreciated. Lacking info from someone
in the industry, we'd be left to pull a number out of the air.
If we had to repoint 100% of the mortar, we would have to reserve on the
basis of 9300x$8, or over $74,000 in today's dollars. We think it is
unlikely we would redo 100%, but we have no idea what a reasonable reserve
should be based on.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
I doubt that the figure of $8 per foot was referring to linear
feet. Almost all masonry is done by the square foot, and your
figure is probably referring to a square foot. Although I am
not familiar with prices in NC, around here stonework can be
easily done for $8 a square foot for native stone or brick,
including materials, so the repointing costs seem high.
Getting past that, in the next 25 years you may have to
repoint 25% or so before it is time to do major repairs.
Since you could easily do the replacement of the columns for
just a bit more than what you are paying to repoint them, you
may have a decision to make. For budgeting purposes, I would
figure the repairs at $8 per square foot and figure 25% of the
columns will need repairs over the course of 25 years. At the
end of the period, you will probably have money left over.
1. I agree with everything Robert says.
2. How big are the columns? The linear footage seems high. (Also, as
Robert said, skip the linear footage of mortar; just figure the square
footage of the columns.
3. Pointing columns is not like pointing a building and should be
cheaper. Unless the columns are very tall, staging and rigging is not
4. I do Capital Reserve Analyses all the time for Associations. I
don't hand out normally give away advice but I will tell you, don't
micro-manage or over-itemize your reserve list. Unless your Association
is really huge (which I'm guessing it's not), you should not have more
than a one page list of reserve items, including any recreation
facilities if you have them.
CONTINENTAL BUILDING CONSULTANTS
P.O. Box 518
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Providing Consulting Services to Community Associations, Property
Owners, Managers, Developers and others in the Real Estate Industry
since 1987 including property inspections, building condition surveys,
capital reserve analyses, construction documents, bid packages and
construction project inspection.
"We can do that."
I guess the problem is nation wide now. The trades have really taken a
turn for the worst. That coupled with the fact that most sites now have
kids as project managers that wouldnt know good quality work from bad
if it hit them in the head. Not that age is necessarly in line with
knowledge but somewhere we lost all the guys that "really" know what
they are doing. I have worked on tracks several times and I just cannot
do it anymore. The work ethic, workmanship, managment of the sites and
all the red tape crapp is just to much for me.
John Reddy wrote:
Thanks, all, for your time in considering my question. We will make use of
For what it's worth, I sent a similar message to the Brick Industry
Association, and they referenced some data from the Whitestone Research
Corp. which suggested that 50% of a wall would need repointing in 25 years.
The gentleman who responded, who was involved in engineering and research
for the association, felt that both pieces of data were very conservative,
meaning he felt a smaller percentage would need repointing in more than 25
years. So I think we will go with the 25% estimate thrown out by Robert
Allison and agreed with by John Reddy.
By the way, the columns are in the range of 8 foot high. I did not do the
measuring, but that is at least close.
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