Certified Community Association Managers May Create Safer Living Environment

Written by Posted On Sunday, 06 August 2006 17:00

In the last year, disasters have occurred in nearly every state and many community associations have experienced disasters within the last couple of years, says the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM).

The board is pushing certification of those managers who are in charge of caring for condominium projects and master-planned communities. There are nearly 60 million Americans living in association-governed communities and the number is growing.

Currently the community association industry is not regulated and certification, while not required, is increasingly becoming a more valuable designation, says NBC-CAM.

"These community associations and the residents living in these community associations are so much better off if they have a certified manager handling their community when they experience or have to go through an unfortunate disaster," says Dawn Bauman executive director of NBC-CAM.

NBC-CAM trains on a variety of topics including: disaster and emergency preparedness, governance and legal matters, budget investments/financial matters, risk management and insurance, maintenance, contracting, meetings management and human resource management.

"We have a lot of [certified] community managers in Florida who had to go through some really awful experiences with the hurricanes -- and those folks, because of their training, better served their community. They had communication plans in place to be able to deliver information and services to each of the residents when they were going through that hurricane. [The association managers] were able to financially manage the community association much better. The homeowners directly benefit from the community association managers being certified," explains Bauman.

Another strong advantage for having a certified community association manager, Bauman says, has to do with the community association's financial reserve funds.

It's common for a community association to have a financial reserve study conducted. The study will explore each of the major components of the community association. It will review the condition of roads, pools, roofs, landscaping and all the major capital assets of the community association.

Bauman says a certified community association manager is very familiar with the study, but also very familiar with how best to plan and budget for the upkeep of these things so that the residents in the community association aren't caught off guard and suddenly faced with an expensive special assessment fee to cover the costs of fixing roads, pools or other community areas.

"It's already built into the budget. The community association residents aren't going to feel the effect financially because it's well managed and financially managed. So those homeowners definitely feel the results of those certified managers," says Bauman.

A recent survey conducted by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers found that in communities that employ certified community association managers, 94 percent react more efficiently and significantly reduce homeowners' recovery time after a disaster than those without training. The survey also found that 87 percent of the homeowners in the association feel better prepared to handle a natural disaster.

"It is the baseline kind of fundamental knowledge that a community association manager should have to manage a community association," Bauman said.

The program was developed 10 years ago. So far more than 6,500 community association managers have become certified in the program.

The cost is about $750 to get the initial certification and then continuing education courses are needed as well as an annual renewal fee of $150. NBC-CAM believes the certification not only provides necessary training, but also helps to create a competitive advantage for the community association manager.

"Many of the management communities and companies that hire managers look for this certification," Bauman said. She added that these managers also have more resources and tools to do their job better.

For more information on certified community association managers, visit nbccam.org .

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website: www.LiveFitMagazine.com.

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or phoebe@livefitmagazine.com. Visit PhoebeChongchua.com for more information.

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