April letter about collapsed condo said deterioration of concrete was “accelerating”

The chairman of the board of directors of Champlain Towers South said in a letter to residents in April that the deterioration of concrete seen by an engineer in 2018 was “accelerating” and that “the damage observable as in the garage” had “significantly worsened since the initial inspection”.

The letter from Jean Wodnicki, president of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, explained that the cost of the work and repairs necessary to the building – which collapsed in a pile of rubble Thursday – rose from around $ 9.128 million in 2018 to over $ 16 million in April.

About $ 707,000 in cash was “available” for the project, and over $ 15 million was needed.

“For those who wanted a better understanding of the projects, I hope this helps,” Wodnicki wrote in the letter ahead of a meeting to discuss costs. “For those who think we over-estimate, it shows that we’re actually underestimating a little bit by estimate.”

The necessary repairs described in the letter referred to issues cited in the 2018 engineering report from Morabito Consultants. This report warned that the building had major structural problems, although it did not warn of impending danger, and it is not clear if any of the problems in this report led to the collapse. of the building.

The waterproofing failed under the pool deck and was not properly installed, so the water did not drain away, according to the 2018 report. “The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the slab structural concrete under these areas. Failure to replace waterproofing in the near future will cause concrete deterioration to expand exponentially, “he said.

He also said there were “profuse cracks” in the columns, beams and concrete walls of the parking lot.

“Because much of the necessary concrete / waterproofing work is underground, we have to move up almost the entire ground level of the land to access areas that need repairs,” Wodnicki wrote in the April letter. “It means we have to put everything back in place at the end. This includes the pool deck, the entire entrance and parking on the ground floor, contractor parking on the north side, and planters / landscaping. Electrical and plumbing work is involved almost everywhere. Balcony concrete requires repairs / waterproofing, and railings require repairs. And we need to upgrade all of that to the current code when the repairs are complete.

Wodnicki said “much” of the work “could have been done or planned in the past.”

“But that’s where we are now,” Wodnicki said.

“We have discussed, debated and argued for years now, and will continue to do so for years to come as different elements come into play,” Wodnicki wrote.

Other items mentioned in the letter include work on windows and doors and improved lighting in the hallways.

“For everyone, I agree that we are talking about a huge project and a very big evaluation,” Wodnicki wrote. “Your board of directors is working very hard to bring this project to fruition.

Condominium board spokesperson Max Marcucci told CBS News on Tuesday: “At no time have experts from the city or the engineering company described the threats as dangerous.”

“They never signaled that there was an imminent threat that could cause the building to fail,” he said.

In 2018, a month after presenting the engineer’s report to residents, a city construction official told the condominium board that the the building is “in very good condition”. The official, Ross Prieto, has since denied seeing the report.

The building collapsed early last Thursday as people slept inside. Eleven people have died and 150 are missing.

Marcucci said a member of the board of directors is missing as well as a member of his family. The rest of the board are safe and focused on caring for their friends and neighbors while continuing to deal with the tragedy.

“It’s an incredibly difficult time for them,” he said. “We continue to pray for miracles.”

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