REAC Consulting is the professional guidance and support services required by public housing and commercial building managers to successfully pass an audit or inspection by the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Through years of experience and careful observance of the REAC guidelines, our experts make sure your facility is up to code and ready to pass inspection.
One of the biggest misconceptions we try to dispel is that the objective of a Pre-REAC inspection is to find as many defects as possible and then fix them all.
We believe a truly competent REAC consultant should assist a client in separating the highest scoring defects from those that barely affect the score, so a practical strategy can be developed to achieve the highest possible REAC score with the least expenditure of valuable time and money and the least disruption to normal operations. It is our goal that the guidance we provide in this area will always save our clients significantly more time and money than the cost of our services so the decision to have us conduct your pre-inspection becomes a “no brainer” choice, representing a definite net savings to the property.
We suggest doing your pre-REAC inspections from 60 to 120 days prior to upcoming REAC inspections. This provides ample time to remediate the identified deficiencies prior to the official REAC inspection. Waiting until the last minute could cost big points as there are some deficiencies that may take longer to remedy.
Every Pre-REAC inspection should also be considered a training exercise, for the property’s manager, maintenance personnel, and even the regional or portfolio level management. We encourage our clients to ask questions throughout the pre-inspection, and our inspectors provide a continuing narrative throughout this process. There are many other types of REAC training that we provide as well. These include a two-day live seminar and a one-day seminar. Not only do we provide speakers and live presentations on all REAC topics for any type of conference or industry event, public or private, but we also provide customized online seminars for any REAC training need.
Some believe that the job of an escort is to argue with the inspector in hopes of getting him or her to overlook defects. This is a misguided approach that can lead to conflict and lack of cooperation from the inspector. In our philosophy, the escort’s job is to minimize conflict and keep the inspection moving along quickly and smoothly, keeping the process amiable and cooperative.
A skilled escort knows when to simply take notes, and avoid “whining” about small defects that barely affect the score, and when to ask pointed questions that might lead an inspector to reconsider a questionable defect. When the inspector must cite higher scoring defects, the skilled escort knows what notes and photos to take to support an effective appeal. When the inspection is moving quickly and smoothly, and the atmosphere is cordial, it is also much easier to persuade the inspector to add factual comments that support a planned appeal.
Contrary to popular misconception, the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UCPS,) the standards upon which the REAC inspection are built, are NOT a set of rules or codes by which the property must abide. They are merely a very generalized inspection standard that the inspector must follow. When they conflict with code or more expert opinion, they do not override them. Many REAC defects can be appealed under the argument that the condition is “allowable by local code.” Other defects can be appealed as “work in progress” or “conditions beyond ownership control.” Still others can be appealed on a technical basis using a written expert opinion from an architect, code official, plumber, electrician, or other professional as appropriate. Any REAC consultant who is not utilizing the appeals system to its fullest advantage is simply not an expert.