June Townhall Q&A

We have now received answers to the last of the questions from our June 30th virtual townhall. As a follow-up to the notes that were posted immediately following the meeting, all questions, including those that were emailed to us, have been answered in this 7-page PDF document.

Only three questions related to litigation have been omitted, as we wish to avoid compromising our legal case.

—04 & —05 Window Update

Some existing awning windows on the curved (lobby side) wall do not open all the way because they are too close to the protruding centre wall. We have tried to maintain our existing window configuration as much as possible, but to allow suite #s ending in 04 and 05 to be able to open their windows fully, we have instructed RDH to flip the centre-most awning vents (green, below) on the curved wall with the fixed lite (pink) next to them.

Colours and windows

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Virtual Townhall on June 30th. We previously posted a partial list of answers from Guy’s notes, and we are working on getting answers to the rest of them, including some that came in afterwards.

Of interest to many of you was the chosen colour scheme and the style of windows. We chose colours that were as close as possible to existing (below).

Photo of cladding and accent colours.

Window appearance from the outside will also be very similar to existing. The biggest changes will be moving from aluminum to fibreglass and from sliding windows to awning windows. Unfortunately, current City of Vancouver building codes do not allow to retain our sliding style of windows. Again, we tried to maintain the existing look as much as possible, and fibreglass allows us to have larger window openings than with aluminum.

The most common window type (W01) is shown below as an example. Note that, on the side where the window does not open, we will have one large, unobstructed pane of glass from top to bottom.

Finally, we are arranging for samples to be on display in the lobby. Notices will be posted when available.

June 30/2020 Virtual Townhall

Thank you to all owners who participated. Attendance was strong with some 68 owners logging in. We welcome additional questions or comments, either on posted this site, or sent to our Strata manager, Cam Carruthers, at Cam.Carruthers@fsresidential.com.

Questions and Answers

How long will workers be in suite?
  • Typically 1-2 days to replace windows
  • 3-4 weeks later, 2-3 days to repair drywall and other finishing.
  • Expect 48-hours advance notice.
  • Owners will be responsible for finishing paint/wallpaper.
How long will patios be inaccessible?
All patios will be off-limits to residents for the entire construction project due to WorkSafe BC regulations, whether or not scaffolding is on the patio.
Will I have to relocate if extensive mould is found?
RDH has not had to relocate a resident in 22 years. Whether to move out during work is an owner decision. Any mould found on an exterior drywall face will be encapsulated (spray to kill mould). If really bad, drywall will be cut out and replaced. Any interior mould is likely due to high humidity and interior conditions.
Working hours?
7:30 – 4 pm Mon. to Friday. Work on Saturdays is possible, though unlikely.
What options are there for owners unable to get financing for levies?
The Strata is not a lending institution and cannot offer financing or payments plans. Contact Cam to explore other options.
Will work not stop during cold winter months?
No. Insulation will remain in the walls, and individual units should only have their walls open 1-2 days to replace the windows. Residents are advised to use space heaters to supplement their electric baseboards if required. In worse cases, scaffolding can be covered with insulating blankets and heated. Hasn’t been an issue in most projects. In fact, residents will find the new walls and windows better insulating than the old.
How do you handle access to the building if owner does not live there?
Cam will be working well in advance with owners. Will need to make arrangements to have an agent or someone to provide access. Reach out to Cam if concerned.
Can I have someone remove and replace blinds for me?
We are pulling together quotes and will send out a notice shortly.
How do you ensure that contractors take off their shoes?
Drop sheets will be laid and workers wear slippers over their shoes. Owners should cover furniture with poly to protect from dust. Workers will do their best to protect surfaces.
How will you accommodate owners do not want to provide access without being present and who require two weeks notice?
We will need to know which suites, and will try to accommodate. RDH suggests we consider on a case-by-case basis.
How are you selecting contractors?
The tender process closed in May, and Council has already selected on the owners’ behalf from the 39 bids submitted to RDH. All have agreed to meet our schedule, and all will be fixed-price contracts.
When will scaffolding start to go up?
Still waiting on a permit from the City of Vancouver. Now working on shop drawings. Hope to begin erecting scaffolding before the end of July.
Will scaffolding obstruct views?
Mast climbers were being considered at one point, and tendered, but were too expensive. Most cost effective access solution was full scaffolding, which will inevitably obstruct the view.
Will scaffolding envelop entire building?
Two phases to the job, first across the front of the building and around to the lane, then to Drake and Homer. Within a couple of months, entire building should be fully wrapped and will remain so for about 15 months.
Top down or bottom up?
Typically demolition/construction is top down.
What does “good financial position” mean?
When put our original budget together, RDH advised a 10% construction contingency. In addition, there are lots of other risk mitigation contingencies built into the various bids. After bids closed, we came in almost perfectly on budget. Our original contingency has been maintained.
Will owners have a say in the colours and window designs?
Council has already chosen from the provided colour schemes to match existing as much as possible. Window options are limited by City of Vancouver codes. Sliding windows will be replaced with awning (swinging open from the bottom). Mullions will remain at the same height for windows that open, and disappear for windows that don’t, giving a greater unobstructed view. Window frames will be fibreglass rather than the current aluminum, and much more energy efficient.
When will blinds have to be removed?
Before window trades show up (48 hours notice) Replacement timing will be up to owner, and can go back up permanently once interior repair is completed (typically, a few weeks after window installation).
How much space needs to be cleared in suites?
Windows will be removed and installed from the outside. Remove anything 3-feet out from the window area and past the jamb of the window. Workers only need to have a clear path to walk to the window and door areas, and will not be carrying windows through the unit.
Do Murphy beds need to be removed?
Access to solid exterior walls is not needed, only to the glazing areas. It should not be a problem if bed is up and out of the way, and there is enough space to be able to cut drywall 3-4 inches outside the window jamb. If an owner concerned or confused, contact RDH/Cam.
Which contractor will be awarded the job?
About a dozen different contractors have been selected from the bids submitted. Nothing signed yet due to ongoing legal review of contracts. RDH has been hired for Construction Management and is considered our prime contractor, though not general contractor.
Is it possible to finish under schedule?
Not likely. We just don’t want to go over.
What can RDH do to contain cost overruns?
RDH has built in a number of contingencies. Contractors have given a fixed price. If you open up the walls and find something unexpected, then change order is possible, and there are allowable markups defined in the contract. RDH will make sure that contractors charge no more than agreed to in the contract. RDH will have a superintendent on site to monitor both contractors and schedule.
What do you mean by “no contracts awarded due to legal discussions”?
Council did not want to award contracts to contractors before having a signed contract with RDH. Legal review has been completed and agreed-to amendments are being applied. Final signature and then the awarding of contracts to contractors should take place within a couple of days.

Blog Etiquette

Though residents are welcome to post comments and questions, please:

  • Keep your post short and to the point
  • Be respectful and constructive
  • Remember that all posts must be approved before they are published
  • Be aware that if your question is similar to others we have received, we may post a single group question and response
  • Expect a delay in seeing your comment and/or a response posted on the site (we are all volunteers here)

Who are we suing, and why?

A lawsuit has been served on a number of parties. Because this is a public site, they will remain nameless.

Defendants are alleged to have breached obligations to repair and maintain the building, to have been negligent in the repairs and maintenance undertaken, and to have misrepresented the condition of the building envelope.

The defendants who are represented by counsel are currently assessing the claims, and reviewing documents. We expect they will all be filing responses to civil claim before September 2020.

If I sell my condo before a settlement, will I still get my share?

The strata is only able to pay out settlement funds to owners who are on title the date the settlement is approved.

If you sell and wish to retain your right to collect a portion of any future settlement funds, you would need to negotiate this with the buyer and you will need to seek advice from your own lawyer on how best to achieve this outcome.

When are the levies due?

There are two levies related to the building remediation project. They are posted to your account as Roof & Gutter Levy, and Repairs Levy.

Owners voted to break these levies into three equal payments, due on the following dates:

1. February 29, 2020
2. November 30, 2020
3. March 31, 2021

So we have sufficient funds to pay our contractors throughout the project, owners are reminded to make sure that payments are applied by their respective due dates. Failure to pay by these dates can result in late payment fines of $400/month.

When will the scaffolding go up?

Difficult to say at this point. What we do know is that remediation will proceed in stages, likely starting with the south (lobby) side of the building, then moving to the west (lane), north (Drake), and east (Homer) sides. By that time, the entire building will be wrapped in scaffolding until the end of the remediation.

Erecting the scaffolding will take at least two months for each stage, with demolition/construction proceeding after that. We hope to see the first stage begin in late July.

A more accurate timeline will be posted once we have a tentative date for the first scaffolding to begin.