One of the services I offer is construction consulting, with one of my niche markets being self managed condominium associations. 

A year ago, I signed a consulting contract with a condominium association to consult on the final layer of asphalt being installed on their private roads, as well as the public road that leads to the project, and the installation of interior street lighting for the project. The President of the association, who signed the contract informed me that he was my only contact for this project, and that the residence and board of directors would not be involved. We discussed the scope of the project, and reviewed bids. As a consultant, I ask a lot of questions, and bring up issues that may impact the project. My questions were typically answered by: "We are not going to worry about that", or "That is not our responsibility", or "That issue has nothng to do with us". The problem is, ALL questions and concerns ARE relivant! It is kind of like going to the Dr. with a severe stomach pain and telling the Dr. that the open wound bleeding profusely is none of her concern! 

This is frustrating to say the least. I have been hired by an association of people to look out for ALL of their best interest and their President is un-cooprative?!? By the way, my pay structure for this project was a percentage of the completed project cost. So taking time to answer questions, or meet with the board of directors is not an expense where the meeter is running! Finally, the President told me that, the association did not have the funding for the projects yet, and due to the time of year, they would have to be tabled until next (this) year. 

I checked in with the President of the association regularly, and was always met with the comment,  "We don't have the money yet". In truth, he had been taking it upon himself to re-bid the project on his own. Why? I am not sure... remember, I am paid on a precentage basis, not hourly! 

To make a long story short... (I think you get the gist) I got a call at 9:00 AM that they were going to surface the streets at Noon that day. He also told me I needed to get out there and make sure everything is being done right; AND while I am there, I need to make sure they lights (wires and footings for posts already installed)  were in the right locations!

Seriously! I re-arranged my schedule, and got to the site on time. It was NOW that I was informed that he had hired a different asphalt company, because they were cheeper. When I asked to see the new bid to review the specifications, he told me, "it doesn't matter, they are already hired". 

Well, as it turned out, the lights appear to be in OK locations, and the paving company did a good job. They used the proper mix, and the batches were at the proper tempatures. They also dealt with all of the street utilities properly. Some of the other issues I brought up early on though, such as stripe painting on the streets (required by the Village) are now an issue that was not considered by the President, or budgeted for.

While I have been hired by the President of the association to consult, my job is to look out for the best interest of the entire association. Being kept out of the loop and having my hands tied makes it very dificult to properly do my job. The expense of my services does not change wether I am in the loop, or not, but the quality of my service does.

If you are in a condo association, and you are taking on a large project, BE PROACTIVE! It is YOUR interest at stake! Contact the board of directors and find out what is going on, and if you are on the board, demand a meeting with all professionals you hire! Letting 1 person just run with things, can be dangerous, even if there is a consultant to help!