Development of architectural guidelines should begin with a review of the governing documents to determine in what areas the board can allow a change. Usually, a community association’s declaration, CC&Rs, or master deed provides for architectural changes. It is in the community’s best interests for a board to establish written architectural guidelines for two reasons:
- Written guidelines indicate to owners what types of changes will be allowed under normal circumstances.
- Written guidelines are a way to avoid claims of arbitrary or selective treatment of owners.
It is in the board’s best interests to establish an architectural guidelines committee. A committee can concentrate its effort and attention on this major task alone. It can also act as a buffer between the requesting owner and the board.
Below is a list of a few things that would qualify for an established set of architectural guidelines. List as many details as possible, such as manufacturer, serial numbers, etc., to avoid misinterpretation of the pre-approved list and make it most convenient for your residents to locate the items:
PAINT COLORS — Develop of a list of approved paint colors an owner can use to paint their
home, garage door, front door, etc. Include swatches; if the manufacturer discontinues it,
paint from another manufacturer in the same color might still qualify.
FRONT/GARAGE DOOR STYLES — Must the door be solid? Can it have a window? What style/color storm/screen doors are pre-approved? If the style installed by the
builder is discontinued, what replacement styles are pre-approved? List the manufacturer and model number of pre-approved styles.
WINDOWS — What style windows are pre-approved for window replacements? Must they be wood or vinyl? Must they be one specific color?
FENCING — What style, color and/or height fencing is pre-approved?
ROOFING — What material, style, color and lifespan roofing
material is pre-approved?
The more architectural guidelines you establish with pre-approved items, the more convenient the architectural
alterations process will be for your homeowners. You might
even elect to state that the owner can bypass the ACC approval process altogether if they use one of these pre-approved items, making it not just more convenient, but also more efficient, for all parties involved.