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    Re Installation of permitted windows

    Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:05 pm

    I have a question concerning removal and re installation of a permitted window. The windows are on the balcony. This building is located in South Florida, Broward County. The condo building is undergoing concrete restoration and some of this work has required that jalousie windows, installed in 1986, with a permit from the City of Pompano Beach, be removed. This is so the deck can be repaired. We were told, at first, that any windows that were removed could be put back in provided they had a permit, The original balcony enclosure was a screened unit. Over the years more than half the screened enclosures were replaced with windows, the majority being jalousie. The windows are in good shape, no damage, all the cranks work, no broken glass.

    We received a letter, that only windows installed after 1994 could go back in. Permits issued prior to 1994 would not be honored by the engineer. I do not believe this to be true and I feel the engineer is incorrect.

    Unfortunately, throughout this process we have been told a lot of different stories about different aspects of this restoration project. This building was constructed in 1969 and is not a historic building.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:30 am

    Unfortunately, the answer is that once a window, or any other building product for that matter, is removed, the re-installation of that same product becomes the installation of 'used' products, and 'used' products must be evaluated and meet the same standards as for 'new' products which are allowed to be installed.

    A jalousie window will not meet the wind pressures of today, and the structure which those windows were in will most likely not meet the wind loading standards of today as the structure around those jalousie windows will not (most likely anyway) support and withstand the wind loads in today's code.

    Few, if any, awning windows will meet the wind pressures in the code today, and the best way to think about jalousie windows is that they are simply open holes in the walls with operable glass louvers, they really were never designed to keep water and wind out, they were designed to allow air to flow through when opened even slightly, and the glass-to-glass 'seal' is simply one piece of glass gently touching another piece of glass, there is not attempt to create a 'seal' where the jalousie glass closes to another jalousie glass - add to that the glass louvers are barely held in place by anything other than laying the glass in the ends retainers, relying more on gravity than anything else to hold the glass in place.

    Jalousie windows were good for the old fashioned "Florida Room" which was basically an open rear porch semi-enclosed by installing jalousie windows in the walls, and because the jalousie windows had no strength or seal, a partial wall was built up to keep the windows about lawn mower damage height and to keep the lawn mower from blowing too much sand and dirt into the "Florida Room".

    Yes, jalousie windows were installed along the outside of many condo balcony areas which originally had nothing or had screen walls, this made that balcony area somewhat usable from the inside, most people kept the sliding glass doors in place when the jalousie windows were installed (a smart move) while others removed their sliding glass doors, only to find out that hurricane winds would blow through and around the glass in the jalousie windows and into the condo because the sliding glass doors had been removed. That was a very common practice in the 1960s, 1970s, and even the 1980s - Hurricane Andrew in 1992 changed all that for Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Hurricane Andrew is the reason that 1994 and later windows are allowed to be re-installed ... and I am surprised that they would even allow 1994 windows to be re-installed as they will not meet today's code either.

    If you were there during Andrew, or even Katrina and Wilma, not to mention the others in the years between 1992 and 2005, you would understand and appreciate the newer and stronger requirements. A pain in the neck? Yes, maybe now, but not during the next hurricane, then you will be glad you have the new windows.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:27 am

    Thank you for your quick response. We were here during Wilma, about a mile from the ocean. Things did certainly rattle around and a few Jalousie windows were damaged, Those that were damaged were not closed completely. These windows are made from tempered glass, each panel has an aluminum frame with weather stripping. There is a 'pin' on each glass frame that locks into a slot on the frame itself. Closing the windows brings them in, then up to lock the pin into the slot. They are not like the jalousie windows you normally see in a door, those have the glass to glass seal, which does leak.

    I believe that a lot of the issues here are due to a lack of complete, truthful information given to us by the board and the engineer.

    The latest is that all the edges on the concrete deck were manufactured or constructed incorrectly, therefore all the windows and screens have to be removed to fix the decks. While I can believe that some may be ' broken ' It can not be all of them. The engineer did a check prior to all the work being started and found that 34 units out of 126 had some damage. His method of checking - tapping on the deck and the ceiling with a metal rod and listening for a ' hollow ' sound.

    The next step with all this is to get a detailed answer as to what the problem is with the all the decks. The owners were told of the problem during a meeting. I have been watching the construction company remove 8 inches from the first 42 balconies. To my untrained eye, it appears that they are removing very solid concrete. There is rebar present near the edge of each deck.

    This project is going to last until the end of the year. They have been working on 1/3 of the units (42). How would we go about challenging the engineer concerning 'all' the balconies needing repair and that requires all the enclosures to be removed. I would imagine that another engineer would have to do an evaluation, then the board would have to dismiss the current engineer and hire a new one. Is it possible to get him to back off doing all the balconies? The owners here have no direct say on the contract, all the decisions are made by the board. You get the feeling that something is wrong, but you can only guess what is behind all this. This is like a runaway train.....

    My understanding concerning the city inspectors is that they will look at the work being done, and verify it meets current standards. They Will Not tell the engineer what is broken in the first place, nor will they challenge him about they excessive work being done.

    They locked the glass doors leading to the balcony by placing a 2x4 on the track, thus preventing anyone from opening the doors that lead to the balcony. More correctly, they leaned a 2x4 in the opening. This is a 7 story building.

    They have been fitting wood forms around the vertical walls of the balconies. The engineer had specified that all repaired surfaces would have a bonding agent applied to the old concrete prior to adding the new concrete. Every bonding agent I am aware of has the new concrete added while the bonding agent is still Wet, or Tacky, just not dry. These forms have been in place for longer than 2 weeks in some cases. Is it standard practice to open these up and apply the bonding agent?

    Unfortunately, all this puts a financial hardship on a lot of the residents here. Social Security is the only income for some of them. There is an additional monthly assessment for the concrete restoration, any new windows come directly out of the owners pocket, The association will put back screens, as that was the original enclosure.

    There is another issue with all this that should be mentioned. The board did not notify any owners, in writing, that their balcony, with windows, would be removed. They did an email, to those that have email, and posted a note on the bulletin board. There was never any mailing to all the owners as to what was going on. There was no notice given to each owner as to the status of the balcony and what would be removed. I would have thought that a certified letter to everyone was be the least they could do. The last group of 21 units had their enclosures ripped out and thrown to the ground, breaking all the glass. These enclosures were/are the property of the owner, not the association. What gives the association the right to rip all this stuff out. Am I wrong is thinking that that the association had no right to do this? I can understand if there was a process that the engineer and the construction company would follow to remove the owners personal property. This, I am sure, would have been some official notification on letterhead.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:36 pm

    Phil,

    My apologies for my delay in answering, I have been quite tied up with consultations and want to give you a proper and thorough answer.

    The last information you provided is quite interesting and I need to be able to give it sufficient thinking/typing time as I want to provide the best information I am able to.

    Thank you for your patience, hang in there,

    Jerry
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:53 am

    Thank you for responding to this, I was not sure if this went beyond the scope of this forum.

    I did get a slightly better answer as to why all the balcony enclosures were being removed. The building was constructed 40+ years ago, According to the engineer, some of the edges had rebar, some did not, some had rebar the full length, some did not. I do not know the numbers from the 42 that have been removed. So much for an inspection prior to the concrete edges being poured 40 years ago. No one from the association has seen this problem, only a few pictures provided by the engineer.

    Anyhow. It would seem to me, and a number of other unit owners, that there is a non-destructive way to 'see' if there is rebar on these edges. Even if it is just to drill out a small section. Keep in mind, only 34 of 126 units had a 'hollow' sound when the engineer first inspected all these edges.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:50 am

    phil327 wrote:I did get a slightly better answer as to why all the balcony enclosures were being removed. The building was constructed 40+ years ago, According to the engineer, some of the edges had rebar, some did not, some had rebar the full length, some did not. I do not know the numbers from the 42 that have been removed. So much for an inspection prior to the concrete edges being poured 40 years ago.


    The city inspectors, then as well as today, only spot check the work, if something is found wrong then the work needs to be corrected, if nothing is found wrong where the work was looked at, then it is signed off as being okay. City/county inspectors cannot be expected to 'look at everything' as there is insufficient time to do so, and they would need to be on-site while all work was being done, meaning one inspection per day, and that one inspection may take 'per day' for months on end - obviously this is not practical.

    No one from the association has seen this problem, only a few pictures provided by the engineer.


    Being as that condition was found in multiple locations, it is safe to presume that there are more locations (possibly most locations are that way). It is not safe to presume that any other or all other locations were done correctly.

    It would seem to me, and a number of other unit owners, that there is a non-destructive way to 'see' if there is rebar on these edges. Even if it is just to drill out a small section. Keep in mind, only 34 of 126 units had a 'hollow' sound when the engineer first inspected all these edges.


    There are non-destructive methods to find the steel in the structure, but those methods are geared to finding the steel in one location, not for full scanning of large areas. As stated in my other post on the spalling concrete restoration work, one of the most important issues to look for during the restoration work is that this exact thing does not happen (that the steel is not dis-continuous, that the steel is continuous along the edges), with the second most important issue being that the guard rail installation does not cut the steel after all the other work has been done.

    At least you now know why the enclosures were removed, and it is quite possible that all of the enclosures should have been removed instead of just most of them. The engineer must feel confident that the edge under those other enclosures are okay, otherwise they would want those removed to make the edges accessible and available for restoration work. Sometimes that restoration work does not reveal any spalling concrete problems upon starting to chip into the edges, sometimes the edges just fall apart when they start to chip with the chipping hammers.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:02 pm

    Jerry Peck - Codeman wrote:At least you now know why the enclosures were removed, and it is quite possible that all of the enclosures should have been removed instead of just most of them. The engineer must feel confident that the edge under those other enclosures are okay, otherwise they would want those removed to make the edges accessible and available for restoration work. Sometimes that restoration work does not reveal any spalling concrete problems upon starting to chip into the edges, sometimes the edges just fall apart when they start to chip with the chipping hammers.


    There are 42 units in the section that had the balcony edges removed. I know, from the bid package, that 15 had some damage. This was determined by the tapping method and a hollow sound. The main question would be. Are these the balconies that had the rebar improperly installed? I do not know, nor will I be able to find out, Were these the only ones? We, the owners, were not given any firm number of which balconies had missing or incomplete rebars. I could go on about this, unfortunately, I do not have complete data to make an educated statement.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:31 pm

    phil327 wrote:The main question would be. Are these the balconies that had the rebar improperly installed? I do not know, nor will I be able to find out, Were these the only ones? We, the owners, were not given any firm number of which balconies had missing or incomplete rebars.


    The reason is that the neither the contractor nor the architect/engineer knows how many either ... not until the work is started, and, as the work progresses more is discovered. I have not seen one of these projects where only the 'known bad areas at the time of bidding' were later found to be the only bad areas.

    The known unknown will not become known until the work has been completed, and even then it is quite possible that there will still be unknown 'bad areas' will remain simply because those areas were not discovered during the restoration work on the other areas. This may be one of those 'unknown unknowns' ... (except that you will know that you don't know, which is a known unknown).
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:38 am

    We were made aware of the fact that as the project moved along, there would be additional areas that would have to be fixed. The point I was trying to make is that we knew certain balconies would have to be fixed. What information I do not have is:

    Were these the only ones that had rebar problems?
    Did the other 27 ( out of 42 ) have rebar problems as well?

    During the next phase of 21 units, I'll try to get a better idea of the rebar situation on those balconies.

    Initially, the engineer and the contractor would answer email, I suspect that became a large burden for them and they will now only answer directly to the board. The board has status meetings with both the engineer and the contractor and the owners have been excluded from these meetings. The information from the board is limited and in some cases factually incorrect. Whether this is by design, or just in error, we do not know. There was a push early on to get the balcony area to a uniform look. Every time one reason to remove all the enclosures was shot down, another one came up. The last being all the edges have rebar problems and all the jalousie windows have to come out. We were told when the project started, that any permitted window could be put back in. Then we were told only those that meet the current standard will go back in. The engineer knew from the very beginning that any jalousie windows removed would not go back in.

    And - How did this pass inspection 45 years ago from the city. I know that the city inspector is not on site every day and I suspect 45 years ago they were spread pretty thin. All that is water under the bridge now.

    I still have the following as a question/concern.

    There is another issue with all this that should be mentioned. The board did not notify any owners, in writing, that their balcony, with windows, would be removed. They did an email, to those that have email, and posted a note on the bulletin board. There was never any mailing to all the owners as to what was going on. There was no notice given to each owner as to the status of the balcony and what would be removed. I would have thought that a certified letter to everyone was be the least they could do. The last group of 21 units had their enclosures ripped out and thrown to the ground, breaking all the glass. These enclosures were/are the property of the owner, not the association. What gives the association the right to rip all this stuff out. Am I wrong is thinking that that the association had no right to do this? I can understand if there was a process that the engineer and the construction company would follow to remove the owners personal property. This, I am sure, would have been some official notification on letterhead.


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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:19 pm

    Should the owners have notified that the enclosures were going to be removed?

    The answer is a yes/no/maybe ... without knowing the details (and I don't) one could argue that the owners had already been notified by way of the construction going on and that the enclosures were already an included part of the project 'as needed'.

    Are the enclosures owner property or condo association property?

    Again, depends on things I have not been made aware of. Such as: were the enclosures permitted and what conditions were attached to the Board's approval of the enclosures, etc.

    The Board putting the windows and doors back to the owners can be risky for the association as the association owns the structure, and the windows and doors are an integral part of the structure.

    Many issues being raised which brings up questions about the Board and some of their actions/decisions.
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby phil327 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:55 pm

    Thank you for your answer here. I did send you an email with a lot of details as I know them to be true. That question is more of a legal issue than a code question. Unfortunately, here in Florida, there are many Condos with lots of retired people. These are the ones that can get taken advantage of.

    ( The first engineer here was let go. One of the things he wanted to do is to replace ALL the walkway windows because the bottom of the window does not meet the new height requirements. In a perfect world, maybe this would make sense, but not here. )
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    Re: Re Installation of permitted windows

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:25 pm

    phil327 wrote:That question is more of a legal issue than a code question.


    Yes it is more of a legal issue.

    ( The first engineer here was let go. One of the things he wanted to do is to replace ALL the walkway windows because the bottom of the window does not meet the new height requirements. In a perfect world, maybe this would make sense, but not here. )


    There is a key issue one needs to remember in existing buildings (besides going to the Existing Building Code before going to the other codes) and that is that the code acknowledge the code will go through changes over the life of a building, as such the codes state that a legally existing structure may remain as it was legally existing under the code it was constructed under without being required to be brought to current codes every time a code changes ... can remain ... once new work is started then the Existing Building Code kicks in and covers some things, most new work, though, must meet the code in effect at the time of the new work, however, some work (mainly repairs) are allowed to be done such that it meets the code in effect at the time of the original work as long as the work does not make the existing building less safe than it was as originally constructed (legally existing - if it was improperly constructed at the time of construction then it is not technically legally existing ... but the definition of "legally existing" in any given case is a discussion for opposing attorneys to argue about).

    Keep in mind, though, that just because the code allows something to remain as it was if legally existing, that does not in any way mitigate a claim from an injury from something that is now known to be less safe than is currently accepted - which gets back to the purpose of the code ... the code is a "minimum" standard, nothing says one is not allowed to improved property and bring its condition up to current safety standards, whether one pays for not doing that at some later date is up to a judge or jury to decide if the case for the injury goes that far. I.e., the original engineer may have been looking out for the interests of the association by wanting to replace those windows, required by code or not.
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