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31
Posted by
💼 CAM
1 year ago

Champlain Towers Mega Thread

We have decided to create a pinned mega thread for any discussion on Champlain Towers Condo collapse. Please do not start any new posts on this subject, they will be removed to keep everything in one place.


This is a devastating event and one that will take some time to sort through. All of us who serve this industry, whether professionally or as a volunteer, have been devastated to watch the news unfold.


Please be respectful of the lives that have been lost. Please do not post conspiracy theories, they will be removed.


You are welcome to post links to stories you find interesting but please do not spam this post with links and no commentary.

64 comments
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level 1
ModModerator Achievement · 1 yr. ago · Stickied comment
💼 CAM
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level 1
Op · 1 yr. ago
💼 CAM

Engineering Report 2018


I'm still sorting through this but this is damning.

10
level 2
· 1 yr. ago
COA Owner

I'm still sorting through this but this is damning.

It's interesting you say this. I've been reading on various subs and it seems that several people who said they were engineers didn't express the amount of concern that general commenters felt. I agree with your statement when I look through the report. But I know that different disciplines use language differently and express urgency differently.

I think we need to be patient and see how this plays out. I imagine there will be expert testimony about the report so we can see how both sides present what the report meant as far as the urgency for action.

It would also be interesting to see the decisions the North building made for similar situations in their building. And how they were advised by their vendors/consultants. Reports indicate that some residents of the North building feel their building has been taken better care of over the years. Hopefully, that's true.

2
level 1

The biggest takeaway for me is do not defer or ignore preventative maintenance, rehabilitation, and updates.

This was 1,000% preventable.

30
level 2
· 1 yr. ago · edited 1 yr. ago
🏢 COA Board Member

I agree. We get people standing for the board who say their aim is to keep dues low. After you’ve reviewed all the contracts of suppliers for any excess, and not spent money on capital improvements (e.g. HOA funded vehicle charging stations) all that’s left in their arsenal to keep dues low is to underfund reserves. Underfunding reserves doesn’t keep dues low. It just builds a giant financial cliff, which homeowners are going to have to jump off collectively when something major happens. Edit: or you can defer maintenance, of course, which leads to the same problem.

4
level 2
Op · 1 yr. ago
💼 CAM

Absolutely. I know so many COA board members that are calling emergency meetings right now. And we thought construction rates where sky high before? Florida is about to eat up all the cement, cranes, wood, rebar etc etc. I feel bad for anyone who is in the middle of a reserve study too. This is going to be tough all around.

14
level 2

Agreed that HOA’s all over the country can use this tragedy as a reminder to start planning those maintenance projects, get those reserve studies scheduled and be thankful.

3
level 2

Imagine being alive still, but being one of the people who said no to the repairs? The survivors guilt damn

1
level 1
Op · 1 yr. ago
💼 CAM

“Owners of the 136 units had been told earlier this year they would have to pay their share of a $15 million assessment — $9.1 million of which was major work — by July 1. That assessment ranged from about $80,000 for a one-bedroom unit to more than $330,000 for a penthouse.” Source

The special assessment was due by July 1.

9
level 2
· 1 yr. ago
COA Owner

I wonder how long ago the board started to give owners an idea of how much the assessment might be. For some people their share would be hard to come up with no matter how long they were given. But if someone told me I had one year to pay $100,000, I'd be hard pressed to come up with it. However, I assume owners could get a loan for this - if they qualified.

I also wonder if this building updated their reserve study every few years so that they could set fees accordingly. It seems to me that they might not have paid enough attention to the reports. Or, they just took the approach that bigger projects would be financed through special assessments rather than saved for. I guess that's a valid approach but when your $1,000,000 unit that you paid $300,000 for 20 years ago suddenly needs to pay $330,000, that can be problematic!

8
level 2

Curious. Now that the building is no longer there, do these people get their money back?

2
level 1

Could someone highlight how a HOA for a building this size would be run differently than your average 12 unit condo. Surely the city and insurance need more than than the current hoa boards oversight to management something on this scale?

6
level 2

I'm on the board of a condo community with hundreds of units across more than a two dozen buildings, ranging from townhomes to mid-rises. Our budget is a few million a year. We have a management company who provides us with full-time onsite property manager and additional office staff. We rely heavily on the management company, our attorneys, insurance agent, etc. to fill in gaps of knowledge and experience and advise us accordingly when it comes to making decisions.

It's like running any other type of company. The c-suite people rely on the people below them to do their jobs and provide sufficient information and feedback to make informed decisions.

The safety of our fellow homeowners and residents is always a concern. We are definitely scrutinized by the local fire marshall when it comes to inspecting our life safety equipment. The insurance companies also require certain inspections and certifications depending on the age of the buildings or elements of the buildings, such as roofs when it's time to renew our policies.

8
level 2
· 1 yr. ago
💼 CAM

It really depends on the HOA governing docs. Functionally it's not run any differently...

They likely have a full time manager, but they don't have to.

Size of the board is likely greater... Under 50 units is more likely a three member while over is likely 5 or more.

The biggest differences depend more on state law.

For instance, in California, the law does not differentiate on size what so ever, except one very miniscule obscure law about elections, and it separates 6000 or more units to those with less.

But, California HOAs are run very differently than other states due to California's legal requirements.

1
level 1
· 1 yr. ago
COA Owner

u/Kaganda's comment has been on my mind. I thought that the second part of this article was enlightening regarding FL law. The element of reserve contributions at Champlain will also be revealing when more details come to light.

Lack of Reserve Requirement

Check out the section half way down, "Lack of Reserves."

"Lawmakers could look at revamping that law by, for example, prohibiting condos from waiving reserves .... Such proposal would likely get push-back from condo owners and have the unintended consequence of possibly making condo living less affordable, especially for those on fixed income."

Sure, owning anything is more affordable if you choose to not maintain it. But that's only true for a short amount of time. I guess if you are a senior, you can hope to pass away before the bills come due. I don't know the makeup of this building but if you live in a retirement community and vote to waive reserves then die and the unit is sold to another senior, this cycle could continue for a long time, resulting in bad situations like this (or likely less catastrophic but still very expensive - more expensive than if things had been maintained properly over the course of time).

4
level 1
· 1 yr. ago
🏢 COA Board Member

October 2020 Board Minutes with a good presentation about the work and change orders from the contractor. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20985354-20201014bodminutesapproved

4
level 1

April 9 letter from the Board explaining the work planned for the building, the assessment, a d their finances. http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2021/images/06/29/lettertoowners040921.pdf

3
level 2
· 1 yr. ago
HOA owner

I'm no expert, but those reserves look abysmally low. I have a bad feeling we're gong to find out the members fought against higher dues for years or decades as the building slowly deteriorated.

4

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Created Jan 9, 2013