Home Owner Association (HOA) property management involves day-to-day type repairs; you do not need to call a civil engineer to repair a sign, or a broken sidewalk. Or do you?  The aphorism, a stitch in time saves nine, applies to property management perhaps more than most other situations.  A simple sidewalk crack might mean the thing was installed incorrectly or it could mean that the ground underneath is shifting in some serious way.  The annual planting suddenly doing very badly in a spot they had previously flourished could forecast any number of issues, not the least of which could be standing water, i.e. a new drainage problem. How bad should it get  before you call your favorite civil engineer?

Just Another Cracked Sidewalk?





Photo credit: Hitchster on Visual Hunt / CC BY

Problems underground are not immediately visible. The tell-tale signs are all you have to go on as a property manager. few, if any, HOAs keep a civil engineer on retainer, so to call out a professional for a consultation would likely incur a fee. This means that property managers need to be smart about when to arrange an appointment and when they can safely avoid any additional “unbedgeted item”.  What to look for?

Cracked Road or Pavement

There’s no question the extreme heat of Florida summers affect concrete and asphalt. Underneath, the soil particles adapt to heat in varying ways, and the gap in between particles fill with water, gas and air with different results.  The compression can cause shifts. It doesn’t have to be the Leaning Tower of Pisa to cause major disruption and safety concerns for residents and customers alike.

Water Standing for more than 24 hours

Standing water is usually a sign of ineffective drainage. Whether this was as result of a new blockage or a miscalculation of volume, drainage has to be watched carefully.  At Solid Rock, we follow meticulous SMPPP protocols.  Standing water tends to deteriorate the surface it stands on, and… is the preferred breeding ground for mosquitoes. They lay their eggs directly into water, where the eggs hatch into lava within 24 – 48 hours.  A female mosquito lays 10 eggs at a time. Still want the kids jumping in puddles?

Dried Up Ponds

If it has rained plenty and a pond still dries up, you need to consider the possibility of either a leak or a blockage. In either case, the problem has caused water to be somewhere else – most likely somewhere you don’t want it. Ain’t that always the truth?  In some of Jacksonville’s older neighborhoods, the ponds have fish in them.  Should the pond dry up, not only is that the end of a habitat but also a popular activity. 51.59 million people went fishing in 2017.  How many were in your neighborhood? It’s a risk each HOA needs to carefully asses.

Leaning Trees

When a tree has been planted long enough for it to have taken root and become established chances are that should it start to lean there is something else happening under the surface.  You see windblown trees all the time, and some variety lean towards the sun. This is no cause for alarm.  But if the tree starts to lean AFTER A STORM, or suddenly starts leaning, or the sound of heaving or cracking can be heard by passers by, or if the tree is leaning more precariously over a heavily trafficked path or street… then it is time to call an arborist or civil engineer to look at the causes.

A Mysterious Hole

In many a neighborhood, you see mysterious holes opening up near an underground sprinkler head. That makes it obvious what has happened.  In other, less visible occurrences, it may be complete mystery and that is always cause for caution, if not alarm.  Florida’s underground aquifers may delight spelunkers but they are less entertaining when they create a sinkhole that swallows a car or a house.  Do you have a civil engineer on retainer? These are the types of questions that a civil engineer is better equipped to handle than any other type of professional.

Do you have a Civil Engineer on Retainer?

Come and see what we have to offer.  We have worked on well over 100 residential developments during our 14 years of experience, solving issues and averting outright disasters with reasonable, preventive measures.


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