Improper Maintenance, Code Violations and Inadequate Funding

A large condo project built in the 1960’s improperly maintained more than 1,000 large wooden structural posts for decades. These structural components were a predominant design feature on this project. They supported hundreds of tons of a wooden façade and balcony decks at all units. A design flaw from original construction caused the wooden posts to wick water at the base of the column, causing the bottoms to rot. A similar flaw and condition was at work at the top of the unprotected post. Apparently, due to the cost and difficulty of replacing the post and correcting the design deficiency, the HOA adopted a process of cutting and patching the posts as they rotted. It also appeared that a structural engineer was not consulted nor were building permits obtained at any time. Soon this process became a standard of repair that was repeated nearly a thousand times over decades. This process weakened the structure dramatically, creating a huge structural and life safety hazard that the HOA was oblivious to.

When we became involved we immediately pointed this out to the Board of Directors with the primary concern of protecting inhabitants from the possible collapse. Components had begun to fall during winds and weather. Upon investigation, rot was everywhere with poorly patched and repaired components throughout the system. Ultimately the decisions made by those managing the property years before were flawed, and they only considered the immediate cost of repair rather than the long term impact of multiplying bad decisions. These bad decisions guaranteed that in the end the entire structure would have to be demolished and replaced.

Alternatively, with the correct approach, a comprehensive plan with a design by a structural engineer, good waterproofing details and competent vendors correcting and preventing the chronic rot and further damage throughout the structure would have saved the HOA millions.

Results: Better materials and techniques equal lower dues.

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