In yesterday’s blog I gave an overview on something that is looming in the background of Condoland and today I want to be a little more specific.
As a foundation to today’s discussion I want to say that my research has shown that “we are building our ‘glass houses’ on self-destructive foundations“.
Well, not really “foundations” in construction terms, we’re actually talking about the “skin” of all these glass towers that make up Condoland.
The published “lifespan” of these towers in the sky is between 15 – 20 years IF and only when they are installed correctly.
Evidenced by the photos in this blog, these Window Wall assemblies ARE NOT BEING INSTALLED PROPERLY!
This should tell us all that the 15 – 20 year life cycle of the product has been compromised!
Compromised by what percentage ? . . . . I’m not qualified to say, but common sense tells me that the life cycle for these cheap versions of commercial curtain wall construction could be seriously less that 15 years.
Realizing that this “cheaper construction alternative” (for developers – despite their selling prices increasing exponentially at the same time), are being installed by non-certified construction workers, (there is a high probability that “Ontario’s $ $4.5 Billion Annual Underground Economy in the construction industry” is at play here in Condoland!
What is absolutely shocking to me in this, is that the Government of British Columbia published “The Bartlett Report” (an industry wide Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of Condominium Construction in B.C., specifically to remedy a condo nightmare resulting from “Leaking Condos“!
Apparently, no-one in the Ontario Government at the time, “got the memo“, as common sense would suggest that a similar plan should have been undertaken by Ontario at the time.
We just keep doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting a different outcome. Is that not the very “definition of insanity“!
After all, the infrastructure and majority of the hard work was already done by the B.C. Government. Ontario would have simply filled in the blanks of B.C.’s working paper and voila! Protection for Ontario consumers!
Ontario could have dovetailed its study pro-actively, before the problems that we’re seeing on the horizon today, even arose.
The Bartlett Report was released two years before Ontario’s Condoland kicked back into gear following the “silent” decade following the Condo Crash on 1989.
So, for almost twenty years now (Window Wall came to Condoland around 2,000) we’ve been pushing condos onto consumers, without even inspecting the construction of them, allowing developers to hire unqualified and uncertified workers to install these new, inexpensive wall systems, based on a “lowest bidder contract system“, plugging our ears and hoping that all works out just fine!
These are “our homes” ladies and gentlemen, and/or the single largest investments that most of us will ever make in our lives!
And we’ve got better consumer protection in buying a new coat!
We are, literally, flooding Condoland with new pre-sale condos, that any educated person, regulator, inspector . . . SHOULD KNOW ARE FLAWED!
So much for all the highly educated politicians who have dropped the ball so badly here!
So much for all those highly educated architects, engineers,
Condoland has ended up a “shell game played on the consumer” who, by the way, is the ONLY ONE putting up any money in this entire game!
All the other players (Developers, Federal Government through income taxes, Provincial Government in employment, Municipal Governments in Permits and Fees, plus property taxes, Tarion Warranty Program, the lawyers who allow their clients (uniformed) to enter into the most ridiculous contracts on the market today, and so on, and so on, and so on!) all make out like bandits!
I haven’t been able to justify how a City the size of Toronto can have “more pre-construction condos being built than any other city in North America” realizing that many American cities are multiples larger than Toronto!
But I understand that “big wheels gotta keep on movin” as the song goes.
According to Dr. Ted Kesik, Ph.D, P. Eng, Professor of Building Science, University of Toronto, “Window Walls are thermally inefficient compared to curtain walls or punched windows and they also exhibit questionable performance in terms of durability, air and water leakage“.
Toronto developers have delivered approximately 20,000 residential condo units (Urbanation) per year since 2000.
That’s 320,000 individual consumers (local and/or foreign) holding ownership and liability for, units that have been built this way.
I have yet to see a condo corporations showing a line item for the repair or replacement of the “entire envelope of the building“.
I’ve been told by a reliable source, that installation alone could run in the $35/sq.ft. of glass, and with a smaller high-rise hitting somewhere around 100,000 square feet of Window Wall, you can see installation costs potentially running around $3,500,000.
So, if your condominium corporation’s Reserve Fund study does not include this line item it is logical to assume that when these Window Walls start to fail, there will have to be a “Special Assessment“.
The owners of the units are always accountable.
They and/or their lawyers (those who can afford) will try to pass it onto insurance companies.
Those going the route of bankruptcy then will drag the banks into it.
CMHC (guarantor of high ratio mortgages) will then be dragged into it.
Even if the costs to do the replacement is only half or, $1.75 Million that’s still a big financial burden for some 500 owners to shoulder.
There is a stop gap remedy which is to have all window Wall assembly units calked from the outside (not really a beautification to the building and a material impact in “curb appeal“) but this will negatively impact the “market value” of the building and units in it.
And then there will be the costs to move each owner as they couldn’t stay in a residence with the exterior exposed.
And let’s remember these are high rise buildings (50 – 80 storeys).
I also want to re-emphasize that this restorative work on your condo building will occur!
It’s a matter of “when” not “if“.
Condos in Condoland prior to 2,000 were mainly “punch window or wall” and therefore don’t bear the burden of those built post 2,000.
My position and I’m making it abundantly clear, is that the entire Condoland is broken and needs to be fixed.
The reality is that no-one wants to change or fix it as they don’t see it as broken.
Only consumers are seeing that it’s broken but there’s really no-one out there listening.
Consumers are being exploited by a system that perpetuates itself and the structure that was originally constructed for the residential condo industry.
It really is the “Wild West” of today!
The frightful thing is that I’m the ONLY “canary in Condoland’s mine shaft” and no-one is listening.