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PROMOTING EXCELLENCE IN NYC MULTI-FAMILY BUILDING OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
 
  STA in the Media  
     
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Can Dick Koral be Cloned?

Richard (Dick) Koral, director of the Apartment House Institute, a continuing education unit of New York City Technical College of the City University of New York, is a unique source of expertise on energy conservation and nearly every other aspect of how to run a multi-family building. "Dick has done more for energy efficiency than anyone else I know," says Allen Thurgood, 1st Rochdale CEO.

Koral, a supporter of 1st Rochdale since its inception, confesses to being an aging guru in the field of multi-family building operation and maintenance. There are others out there like him, engineering technicians who came into the operation and maintenance field around the time of the energy crisis of the 1970s. And Koral is the first to recognize that when he and his contemporaries retire, they will be hard-pressed to find replacements. In subsequent years following the 1970s, low fuel costs caused a decline of interest in energy conservation, and efficient operation and maintenance, he says.

Now that the world is re-awakening to the need for efficient energy consumption and technology, Koral has a plan. "Those of us with experience need to 'clone' ourselves," he says.

Under the auspices of the Superintendents Club, which Koral founded to educate supers on the most efficient ways to maintain a building, he is creating what he calls a Masters Program, offering instruction on many aspects of running a residential building. The goal is to provide a pool of expertise that will be available to the community. He has already received a modest grant from the New York office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation to write a curriculum, publicize the course, conduct it and raise additional funds for program expenses. The courses will be conducted at New York City Technical College in the Division of Continuing Education and External Partnerships, and may offer college credits.

Koral will be an instructor, and he has also lined up Fred Goldner, principal of Energy Management & Research Associates, an energy consulting firm that is working closely with 1st Rochdale. General areas of study will probably include (1) a history of housing development in New York; (2) the roles of various governmental supervisory agencies with their rules and regulations; (3) the various materials and systems that make a multifamily building habitable; and (4) the proper activities and relationships among the public agencies; the private, governmental, cooperative and affordable housing owners, boards, managers and maintenance personnel.

Koral is seeking representatives from 1st Rochdale and the housing cooperative community to serve on an advisory committee. "The graduates of the program can be a valuable asset in helping 1st Rochdale provide technical assistance to its members," he notes.

Anyone who wishes to know more about the program is encouraged to contact Dick Koral, fax 718-552-1191 or e-mail,
rkoral@citytech.cuny.edu.

A "Supers Club" for New York

“If there is anyone who should know how utilities work in a building, it’s the superintendent,” says Dick Koral, Director, Apartment House Institute (AHI) at New York City Technical College (CUNY) and founder of a “super” technical society — the Superintendents Club of New York. Recognizing that the technological and administrative demands on multi-unit building superintendents are constantly increasing, Mr. Koral launched the organization last year, with 1st Rochdale as a founding associate member.

The Superintendents Club now has a membership of about 70 building superintendents and maintenance personnel from New York City, as well as Nassau and Westchester Counties. Membership is open to supers, from low and middle income buildings, privately and cooperatively owned.

The club is involved in a number of efforts that are compatible with 1st Rochdale’s mission to provide the most efficient energy service at the most affordable prices. A $12,000  grant from the federal Department of Energy (DOE) will support the Club's designation as a "Rebuild America Partner," a DOE program that marshals the collective will of manufacturers,  institutions, communities, etc. to minimize energy consumption for buildings. Under the DOE program, DOE experts will be available to provide technical consultation to co-op directors and landlords who wish to install energy conservation measures in their  buildings. A monthly newsletter called “Super!” keeps members posted on other important issues, including a recent article about electricity deregulation and 1st Rochdale’s presence in the New York area.

The technology of building operations is becoming ever more complex, Koral notes. “It’s important for supers and building managers to know how they can economize by conserving energy and water and using equipment as efficiently as possible. They should also know how to minimize pollution.” The Supers Technical Association seeks to bring superintendents together on a regularly scheduled basis, so that they can share experiences and resources, develop an organizational identity, create their own publication and plan for their long-term expansion and institutionalization.

The club holds monthly meetings at which speakers from the community address various issues related to maintaining a building. At the July 27 meeting, Mark Dornhelm, who teaches plumbing to college students enrolled in the Superintendent Technology Certificate Program, gave a lecture and demonstration of plumbing repair techniques. Other meetings this year have covered air conditioning and refrigeration principles, computerized systems controls, and ridding a building of drugs, prostitutes and graffiti artists.

Koral wants to see the club become a self-sustaining entity within two years, and plans to apply for non-profit incorporation to New York State and 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from IRS.

Another objective of the program is to offer assistance to groups outside the New York Metro area who wish to set up their own clubs. Over the years, Koral has instructed hundreds of supers in many courses on efficient operation and maintenance. From this pool of “graduates”, he plans to recruit a club organizing committee. As the club grows, various chapters may be organized, perhaps based on geography (different boroughs), or languages spoken by groups of supers such as Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.

1st Rochdale's website is: http://www.1stRochdaleNYC.net.

 
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