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Robert,

Hello. I’m one of three new board members for a three story building and we are all new to this. We have been notified that we have to perform a “regulation four” (?) fire inspection which is going to cost us around $2,500. We’re not familiar with any of the codes and don’t know exactly what is supposed to be checked. Is this something that is mandatory? We all have jobs and would find it difficult to schedule this along with everything else. Thank you,

Billie P.

Hi Billie,

A Reg 4 is a fire check. For example, magnetic door locks will be tested to make sure they release once the fire alarm is activated. Your fire panel will be checked. All of your smoke alarms will need to be tested along with your pull stations.

Basically, all devices and components associated with fire safety will be tested to make sure everything is functioning properly. This is a mandatory inspection. If you choose not to be in compliance with the Reg 4 and there were to be an incident, then your insurance carrier would have the right to sue you. If you perform the Reg 4 and something happens, then the carrier would defend you.

As a Board member, you have certain safety and fiscal responsibilities to the community you represent. If you are found to not be compliant with codes, insurance carriers have the legal right to deny the claim, especially if it’s a serious injury or life threatening. I’ve seen where carriers have shown that the Board was grossly negligent and were each sued individually.

Serving as a member of the Board is a serious matter. You are legally obligated to be code compliant and it is your responsibility to learn the extent of these obligations.

Hi Robert,

I’ve got a question regarding the veracity of two bids received thus far for the repair of planters that are leaking into our garage. Contractor A says he will seal the face of the wall that abuts the building and will come back one foot from the wall along the planter floor with waterproofing to insure it will be water tight. Contractor B says all of the landscaping will have to be removed and the entire planter box interior will have to be waterproofed. Although B is much more thorough, he is $6260.00 more expensive for what could be overkill. Do you have experience in these matters? Does the entire planter box need to be waterproofed? Thank you in advance –

Noel K.

Hi Noel,

The entire planter needs to be sealed. If you only seal a portion of the planter, you’re locking the window but leaving the door open. Water will find its way through the unprotected concrete, travel under the waterproofing and will continue leaking into the garage.

I don’t know the sizes of the planters involved so I can’t comment on price, but I will tell you any money given to Contractor A will be wasted. B sounds like he knows what he is doing from the information you provided, but there are other details that need to be addressed to repair correctly. If you’d like to send me a copy of B’s proposal, I will give you my opinion.

Submit questions to:  robert@imsconstruction.com.

Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a Commercial, General, Electrical, and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made. 

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