Best Practices (Shared Information Between Associations)

 (See the latest changes in the box below - scroll down using the up/down arrows on the right)

Note:  Each Association provides detailed information on their property every year.  This information, and a summary sheet, is distributed to COOSSA members only.  It is available on request by sending a message to:

Subjects (click on them or scroll down the page):

Energy Savings/Green/Future Considerations, Solar, Car recharging, Florescent light savings, Phone/Cable TV/Internet
Insurance, Earthquake Insurance
Maintenance - Tenting, Plumbing/Pipe Coating, Cast Iron Pipes, Wood treatments, Painting Aluminum
Management & Property Information
Property Management Companies


> Comparison of operating budgets - Click here for spreadsheet (a version with the names of properties is available to COOSSA members on request).

> Example reserve study spreadsheet  and operating budget spreadsheet (Del Mar Shores)

Energy Savings/Green/Future Considerations

> Solar Electric solar panels are improving, and the electricity can easily be sold.  Even though the federal government is coming out with subsidies, maybe wait until 2010 when more efficient panels will be available.  For pools, electric panels are significantly more effective than the old panels that circulated water.  Note:  Quotes in 2004 for Surfsong found that we don’t have enough sun days on the bluff to justify the installation of a solar system to heat the pool.  

Do not let owners put their own solar panels on the Common Area roofs.  This roof area should eventually be used for solar panels that benefit the Association i.e. all owners.

We are looking forward to one of the properties evaluating this.

> Electric outlets in the garages for recharging cars:  This could be very expensive in terms of new circuits, new circuit boxes, and wiring.  Do we somehow have them separately metered and read by the HOA (perhaps owners charged quarterly for the electricity they use?).  Or do we provide the electricity free to owners that use it, in the spirit of supporting the environment?  Recharging costs $0.02 per mile, average person 30 miles per day = $0.60 per day = $18.00 per month.  It is a significant cost (100 owner cars = $1,800 per month), and would it be fair to have people that use their cars less or not at all (if they use public transportation) subsidize the people that have cars or use them more?
    Thinking electric? Equip your garage

We look forward to a property exploring this.

> SDG&E has rebates on changing garage florescent light tubes from T12 to T8, and for "smart controllers" for pools that are used all year (Contractor – Equity Thru Energy, 877-352-0606, Visit website, SDG&E Program Manager – Margaret Finley, 858-636-5732), Download program brochure.  Note that these rebates have an annual cap, so sometimes they are not available later in the year.

> Phone/Cable TV/Internet:  As wires are deteriorating in our complexes, it is nice to know that we may not need to worry about this in the future:  
1.  People are cancelling their "landline" phone services and saving money, since everyone has cell phone (or can use the Internet). 
2.  WiMax wireless Internet is already being installed nationwide, which is similar to Wi-Fi that goes short distances, but WiMax goes over a mile with speeds over 10Mbps (10 Megabits per second) in urban environments, so people will be able to get wireless Internet in their homes/units.
3.  Cable or Satellite TV will not be needed.  All "TV" will come over the Internet.  Already almost all TV shows and movies are available on the Internet. 

Surfsong note: If condo owners cancel their land lines they have no way to “buzz” visitors into the complex when the visitors call from the entrance kiosk. How has anyone else solved for this problem?  Del Mar Shores discussion:  Our intercom (and it's not a newer one) can be programmed to ring any phone number, although I think only 858 area codes because I don't think there is room for area codes in the phone number field on ours, so I think we could put people's cell phone numbers in there if they are area code 858 - I'll have to try it and see (although then they would get calls from visitors at the front gate no matter where they are in the world - which actually might be useful...).  Also, some of the Internet phone services have standard phone numbers that could be programmed in (and I think it is required by law to allow people to transfer their existing phone numbers to Internet phone numbers - just like between landlines and cell phones, and between cell phone services/companies).



Del Mar Seascape Las
Shores Surfsong Chateau Brisas
2008 2008 2008 2008
Number of units 94 56 58 87 72 30 36 Average
Insurance cost/month/unit $23.40 $49.11 $56.03 $20.42 $53.41 $102.78 $37.04 $48.88
Total cost per month $2,200 $2,750 $3,250 $1,777 $3,846 $3,083 $1,333 $2,605
Total cost per year $26,395 $33,002 $38,997 $21,318 $46,146 $37,000 $16,000 $31,266
Average unit size (sq ft) 922 1,500 2,000
Total square ft 80,252 45,000 72,000
Replacement cost/sq ft $203 $200 $164
Replacement cost/unit $187,356 $300,000 $327,778
Total replacement cost/coverage $16,300,000 $9,000,000 $11,800,000
Insurance cost per thousand dollars coverage $1.31 $4.11 $1.36
Farmers State Farm

Note:  Surfsong, Seascape Chateau, and Las Brisas have earthquake insurance.

Seascape Chateau reports their insurance cost is $102.78 per month per unit (x30 units = $3,083.40/month = $37K/yr) is based on a restoration cost of $200/sq ft = $300K/unit = $9M total.  So their annual insurance cost per thousand dollars coverage is $4.11, which their agency says includes earthquake insurance at almost no extra cost (but Surfsong's insurance also includes earthquake coverage and their insurance cost is second-highest at $53.41 per month per unit.  The name of their insurance company is CIBA Insurance Services , Glendale CA .  The amount of earthquake insurance that is included is $5.000,000.

The other bluff properties average $50 insurance cost per month per unit ($37 without Seascape Chateau and Surfsong, which both include earthquake), but we need to confirm their coverage i.e. insurance cost per thousand dollars coverage.

NOTE: These numbers and comparisons should be "taken with a grain of salt".  Insurance costs can vary widely from property to property depending on the requirements of the CC&R's, the re-construction costs of different styles and materials of buildings and units (such as high ceilings for example, elevators, or stucco walls versus other materials), and the insurance claim history of a property (including claims for property damages, lawsuits, etc.).

The consensus of the COOSSA members long ago was that earthquake insurance coverage is not needed in San Diego (something like 300 years since the last major earthquake in this area), and it's very bad coverage anyway.

Click here to see information on earthquakes and earthquake insurance

Del Mar Shores reports their insurance cost is the lowest on the bluff at $20.42  per month per unit (x87 units = $1,776.54/month = $21.3K/yr) based on Property/Buildings at $16.3M ($187K/unit, with ave 950 sq ft per unit = $197/sq ft reconstruction cost = about same as Seascape Chateau's $200/sq ft above).  So, Del Mar Shores' annual insurance cost per thousand dollars coverage is $1.31.  This also includes General Business Liability at $3M/occurrence, Directors & Officers at $3M, Employee Dishonesty Fidelity Bond at $150K, and Liability & Medical Payments Insurance at $2M.

Del Mar Shores says that they take measures to minimize their insurance costs from increasing or being cancelled:  Their CC&R's make owner's responsible for any damages to their units, regardless of the cause, so the HOA doesn't need to have insurance coverage on anything inside the units i.e. owner's property, and that they very much limit the claims on their HOA policy to minimize the insurance costs (they decline any claims from owners if the claim is not HOA responsibility, such as damages to owner's units from water leaks, and generally decline and settle directly with the owners any claims under $20-30K - although owner claims are very rare - maybe one every five years).


> Landscaping costs (8/21/08 meeting): 
Las Brisas has a landscaper who has never raised his price in 20 years.  2 people, 3 days/week, 3 hours/day = 18 hours/week = $1,500 per month.  
has 2 people, 2 days/wk, 8 hrs/day = 32 hrs/wk = $2,400 per mo.  
Del Mar Shores has 2 people, 2 days/wk, 8 hrs/day = 32 hrs/wk = $1,800 per mo. 
Seascape I has one person, 5 days/wk, 40 hrs/wk.  

Similar note as insurance costs above that the properties have very different areas and types of landscaping.


> Tenting - 6/19/08, SEASCAPE I – 7 buildings, $40K (+$15K for subterranean treatment), Lloyd’s Pest Control. 
7/26/07, SEASCAPE I –They are tenting the entire project for termites, but will use a heat treatment rather than fumigating. Contracting company is Thermopure Co; they offer a 2 year warranty. 

5/17/07:  SOLANA BEACH & TENNIS CLUB – Tenting two beachfront buildings.  Also Surfsong doing all buildings.  Del Mar Shores doing one building.

Note:  It is a good idea to have carpenters spray all new wood with either borax or orange oil to prevent termites (both can be applied without a special license).

> Plumbing, pipe coating - 5/15/08, SOLANA BEACH & TENNIS CLUB (SBTC) – Used Nu Flow inside pipe coating for some units.  Del Mar Shores also used for a common line in a wall between two units where it would have cost more to tear into the wall and would have greatly inconvenienced the owners.

> Cast iron drain pipes:  
1.  The smaller-diameter cast iron pipes from the units crack lengthways, especially if seldom used and therefore dry out.  They need to be replaced if they are cracked and leaking.  They can be replaced with PVC pipe.  
2.  The larger-diameter cast iron pipes under and to/from buildings and sumps should have cleanouts outside the buildings or in the garages so that they can be jetted.  Those that are underground are well preserved and rarely crack.  Jetting blows away mounds of grease and any debris back towards the cleanout, and it does not harm cast iron pipes.  Del Mar Shores has found that jetting at the same time as camera/video'ing is very effective, and then a final video can be made after the cleaning is done which can be used as evidence that the pipes are well maintained.  It is amazing how clean the cast iron pipes look after jetting.    
3.  Pipes in garages:  These pipes are exposed to the air and hang on hangars, so they crack often, across their width (although painting them drastically cuts down on their cracking).  Pipes in garages don't have to be cast iron, but they must be metal (no PVC or plastic pipes are allowed in garages).

Wood treatments:

A couple of good choices are:

Jasco copper napthenate 10% solution.   It's the same chemical and strength that is used in the "green" treated lumber. It has that greenish appearance because the copper napthenate stains it that color.  Termites won't eat it, fungus and dryrot won't grow in it, it water-proofs and once it drys, you can prime and paint over it.

Jasco Termin 8H2O is 15.75% Zinc Naphthenate instead of copper and might be best for internal work or where you don't want the greenish color (label says "Tintable, Paintable, Water Repellent, and Protects Against Rot, Termites, Warping & Swelling")..

Guidelines for application:  "All wood to be treated should be dry, clean, free from previous finishes and the framing or cutting completed before applying.  All unsound wood should be removed at least 2 feet beyond any visible evidence of decay.  Best results can be obtained by soaking the wood for five minutes per inch of wood thickness.  When this is not possible at least 2 coats should be applied by brush or low pressure spray.  The second coat must be applied before the first coat is dry, and all surfaces should be covered with particular attention paid to side and end grains."

Borates:  Click here and here.

> Painting aluminum:

The paint we've found that lasts the best on the aluminum railings is Dunn-Edwards Syn-Lustro.  It is an oil base gloss paint.  We use an aluminum primer to prime as necessary and then top coat with the Syn-Lustro.

Management and Property Information

Property # of Units Acres #Employees Property Manager # Pools # Tennis Courts
Seascape Chateau 30   0 ? 0 0
Las Brisas 36   1 ? 1 1
Seascape I 50 2.2 1 Company 1 0
Seascape Shores 51       1 0
Surfsong 72   3 Company 1 2
Del Mar Shores Terrace 87   0 Company 1 0
Solana Beach & Tennis Club 152 11 3 On-site 1 4
Seascape Sur Estates 188 12 8 On-site 2 2
Del Mar Beach Club 192 8 3 On-site 4 2

Property Management Companies

Per our COOSSA discussions in the past, it seems like the person at the property management company is more important than the company, and, regardless of the person, their workload i.e. number of properties they are managing.  We encourage annual performance reviews with your person and the management of the company - also your other important contractors such as your landscaper and contractor.

(Per 6/19/08 meeting)
> Electric meters & cabinet
s:  $500K per 188 units (17 cabinets, $2,660/unit).  One large cabinet for 9 units costs $90K ($1K/unit).  

> Glass fences.
  Bill Gifford advised that it cost them $125,000 for the balconies of 56 units ($2,232/unit).

> Artificial turf:  Seascape Chateau (4/17/08 meeting).  Seascape Sur evaluating artificial turf samples ($22/sq ft, 3/20/08 meeting).

> Elevators redone:  Seascape Chateau & Surfsong (4/17/08 meeting).  Seascape Sur (1/18/07) overhauled their elevators at a cost of $3,000/unit x 188 units (total $564K).

> Outdoor yard lighting:  Del Mar Shores (3/20/08 meeting), $40K.

> Pool bottom resurfacing:  Del Mar Shores, highly recommends Gardner, $17K (8/21/08 meeting), Surfsong (4/17/08 meeting).  SEASCAPE SUR (11/15/07) – re-finished the pool for $15K.

> Tennis courts - 5/17/07, SOLANA BEACH & TENNIS CLUB – Replaced the entire fencing surrounding their tennis courts as well as resurfaced the courts using a new blue color. 

> External walls, beams, balconies - 

SOLANA BEACH & TENNIS CLUB, 11/16/06 – Have passed a special assessment of $6,500/unit for a total for the complex of $988,000. These funds are needed to finish work on their beach front balconies, apply “NU FLOW” to beach front units, and complete many other much needed projects.

SEASCAPE SHORES, 11/16/06 – They have had a special assessment of  $2,000 to complete the landscaping (x51 units = $102K). This is in addition to the $39,000/unit for the rebuilding ($1,989,000 total), and $5,000/unit ($255K total) for repairs and work on their bluff.

SURFSONG, 11/15/08 -  Facility Restoration $9,000,000 (Includes $1m for mold $1.5 m for dry rot).  Sea wall $1,400,000.  Landscaping $500,000.  Total cost was $155,000 per each of the 72 units.  Project took two years after approval to complete.


> 5/17/07 - LAS BRISAS – Their sea wall will finally be completed in June at an estimated total cost of $1,300,000 including sand mitigation & loss of recreation fees. There will be ongoing fees to the State Lands Dept. of $10 per lineal foot of wall, or $1,200 per year.

> 11-15-08, Surfsong - All in 2008-2009 seawall costs for a 137 ft seawall. All in engineering costs, construction costs and best guess at fees and permits costs, is $10,000 per linear foot.


Del Mar Shores - 2 cameras each in garages & clubhouse.
Seascape I - 5 drive, 2 walk, $400/mo = $8/month/unit
Seascape Sur - Standing ($18.50/hr), patrol $1,900/mo= $10.11/month/unit, 6 cameras

Solana Beach & Tennis - Stand-up, $16.50/hr, 75 hrs/wk = $4,950/mo= $32.57/month/unit.
Surfsong - Patrol service (7walks/night) $990/mo = $13.75/month/unit. 
Del Mar Beach Club - 4 nightly patrols, $1,200/mo = $6.25/month/unit - see attached information and option for other properties to use the same service

a) There seems to be a correlation between complexes that have no cameras and car vandalism.  The complexes that have camera systems have not experienced as many car break-ins.  Las Brisas camera system vendor:  Technology Management Group, Adam Bouscaren, 800-398-2729 x. 402, .  

From: Mark Tiddens []
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:20 PM
To: 'Mark Tiddens'
Cc: 'Tom Ryan ('; 'Adam Bouscaren'
Subject: RE: Security camera demonstration

Hi All,

The security camera demonstration of the system at Las Brisas was very interesting. Las Brisas and I would recommend this company. They are low-overhead with 5 people, but really know what they are doing and can use the latest equipment.

One good point was that it is best to install a security camera system and access system at the same time so that the cables can share conduit to minimize appearance of cables running around the property, and the systems can work with each other to provide just about any info and flexibility you desire. Technology Management says they can do both camera and access systems. Adam is copied on this message and his contact info is in the message below.

In very round numbers, figure about 4 cameras per garage, plus a couple in the clubhouse, one at each entrance, plus anywhere else you desire. The technology has progressed to DVR/hard drives in a PC that would be on the property and can be connected to the Internet for viewing from anywhere. In very round numbers, figure about $1,200 per camera including all of the wiring, labor, and equipment (our property, for example, with 4 garages and 6 entrances would need 22 cameras, so the whole system about $26,400), but it really depends on your specific needs and how easy it is to run the cables on your property.

Best Regards,


It might seem good on the surface to have video of every person entering, leaving, or moving around on the property, but not sure if $30-40K investment in a camera system is justified.  The preventative action in c) below might be the most effective.  

b) There seems to be no correlation between the vandalism and having roving security.  Two complexes that have roving security 5 times through the night still have the car “smash and grabs” - and the roving security costs $2,000 per month.  However, roving security can enforce rules and therefore keep residents and renters in line.

c)  It seems that vandals are very efficient and only smash car windows when they see something in the car to steal, so the best preventative action is to post signs on the property and remind people in communications not to leave anything whatsoever in their vehicles.  Del Mar Shores sign:  "
Notice - Although Solana Beach is one of the safest communities in the county, and we think that Del Mar Shores is very safe, please do not leave anything in your vehicles.  Unfortunately, there are some bad people who are very efficient at smashing windows to grab anything they see."

Surfsong comment:  "The four camera system that we have in our main garage cost us about $8,000 to install in 2008. While we may have deterred a crime because we have the camera system, we will never know. We have had four “invasions” since we had the camera. The cameras did not result in any arrests or prosecutions.
The gate access system (directories, fobs, transponders, etc.) for 7 pedestrian gates and 2 vehicle gates was a whole other system. The hardware and software for the entire access system cost about $30,000.O0.   We have a very robust access system.  It works well.  The owners love the new access system and the fact they can manage access for their friends and family from their own computer.  Transponders in the vehicle windows open the garage doors automatically.  Plastic fobs open our gates and out clubhouse doors.  Owners can assign four digit pass codes to their friends, family and service providers on their home computer. Surfsong has a detailed record of everyone (by name) entering our property 24/7. We have no metal keys to control or duplicate. "

Del Mar Shores comment:  "On cameras, the systems are very impressive but I really don't know if they are worth $20-30K for either deterrence or catching the bad guys. I think that either cheap cameras or dummy cameras, with decal signs on the property that there are cameras, are probably as effective for deterrence, plus, maybe most importantly, signs and reminders for our residents not to leave anything whatsoever in their cars. About six years ago I bought cheap cameras for $40 each and have a VCR in each garage and clubhouse. I don't really keep the systems maintained all the time. My experience is that the police don't want to pursue "smash-and-grabs" that much - no fingerprinting and not interested that much in our camera footage, even when there are fairly good pictures of the bad guys. One time I posted "wanted" signs on the property with pictures of a expensive-bicycle robber - and the bicycle showed up a couple months later..."


Del Mar Shores vendor list


Websites really help reduce the load on the property management and Board of Directors by providing information.

a)  Del Mar Shores has a website maintained by Mark Tiddens at .

b)  Surfsong:  "The website launched in 2007 was about the best service we could provide our owners. We have had significant www traffic (lots of hits). Owners and tenants have been well served.  We found that we have to work hard to keep the information "fresh" and accurate.  We pay $100 a month for a company to "host" our web site.  It has been well worth it.  Our web site can be found at .  

c)  Del Mar Beach Club, July 2009,  "Our Association's approach is to provide a web site primarily as a convenience for our owners.  It is not accessible to the public.  Renters will be given a common username and password, which will allow them access to the Renters section only. I have given you full access to the site, for the purpose of sharing Best Practices, and I need to ask that you not share your username and password with others. If you know of other COOSSA members who want to share web site practices, feel free to refer them to us, and we'll give access to designated individuals."

d)  Las Brisas:

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