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NEWENGLANDCONDO.COM      NEW ENGLAND CONDOMINIUM   -NOVEMBER 2021      17  DAL  CPA  David A. Levy, CPA, P.C.  Certified Public Accountants  Areas of expertise in Condominiums   ■  Cooperatives   ■  Timeshares  ALL COMMON INTEREST DEVELOPMENTS  Call our office for a complimentary review of your financial needs  617-566-3645 or 866-842-0108  20 Freeman Place, Needham, MA 02492  DavidALevy_E4C_NEC_Sept15:Layout 1  10/7/2015  3:54 PM  Page 1  SERVICING THE EAST COAST FOR OVER 30 YEARS  Member AICPA, CAI-NE  185 Devonshire Street, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02110  Quality Representation at Reasonable Rates.  (617) 988-0633  Contact Attorney Frank Flynn:  FRANK@FLYNNLAW-NE.COM  Flynn_E4C.qxp:Layout 1  12/8/14  2:30 PM  Page 1  Who Should Conduct Inspections?  “Façade inspections should be com-  pleted by a regular licensed architect or  moving, and that movement may be a   engineer who specializes in the exterior  sign of steel corrosion. Water inside the   systems of a building,” says Alimonti. “In  envelope is creating cracks. Underlying   the United States we refer to these sys-  tems as the envelope. In Canada, they are  ately and made water resistant.”   referred to as the enclosure. Profession-  als are registered by the state, so it’s im-  portant that the professional is licensed  er construction will develop problems   in the state where the building is located.  sooner. Older  buildings are generally   Some jurisdictions require more certifi-  cation. In New York City, for instance,  walls, so they have fewer of these prob-  inspecting engineers must be  registered  lems. Newer buildings have veneer brick   with the New York City Building Depart-  ment, as well as with the State of New  develop problems faster. But regardless   York.”   Katz agrees.   “Regular peri-  odic  exterior  i ns p e c t i o ns   should be  per-  formed by qual-  ified  licensed  architects  or  engineers with   relevant experi-  ence, to iden-  tify deficiencies   before they  be-  come  danger-  ous,” he says. “In   New  York City,   per  the city’s   Façade Inspec-  tion  and  Safety  Program  (FISP),  these  outward and become unstable. Should   inspections need to be carried out ev-  ery  five years.  While that  schedule will  underlying conditions need to be exam-  provide some assurance, it’s advisable to  ined and adequately corrected as soon as   carry out visual reviews more frequently,  possible to prevent material collapse. If   particularly if there are any signs of wa-  ter infiltration or visible damage to the  tions, netting may need to be installed   façade.”  What Are Inspectors Looking For?  “Inspectors look for a variety of dam-  age types during an examination,” Katz  buildings being evacuated as a result of   says. “Balconies, railings, fire escapes,  unstable foundations, where work on an   and building appurtenances are all  adjacent lot undermines the foundation   checked for signs of rust and structural  of a building next door, causing it to lean   stability.  With  regard  to  masonry,  they  and become unstable. But given the re-  will identify issues that can lead to fur-  ther problems, such as cracks in mortar  façade issues would lead to forced build-  and stone, scaling (localized flaking or  ing evacuation.”  peeling), spalling (material loss result-  ing from chipping), and delamination (a   complete loss of face material). It is im-  portant to identify any signs of material  they involve water infiltration at some   shift as well.”   Alimonti notes, “Depending on the  moves with gravity, so, if there’s a prob-  age of the building and type of materi-  als on the façade, inspectors are looking  with the façade. It’s unlikely, though, that   for different warning signs. For instance,  the façade would create a problem for a   is the face brick restrained? One warning  roof, because water doesn’t move up. As   sign is when bricks are bulging or crack-  ing and showing signs of unattachment.  tant to waterproof during construction   This  must  be  remediated  right  away.”  and inspect regularly to monitor water   New York City requires that brick ties—  the metal pieces that connect exterior   brick to the back-up masonry—be in-  spected as well. “In older buildings,” she   continues, “terra cotta cracking is a sign   of trouble. It always means something is   conditions should be addressed immedi-  Alimonti goes on to say that often “it’s   a matter of construction quality. Cheap-  built better and have multi-layer brick   façades and are less ‘solid,’ so they tend to   of age, buildings that are routinely main-  tained better also   will perform better.   Keeping water out   is key to preventing   façade problems.”  Katz  provides  the following illus-  tration: “Water that   comes into contact   with  unprotected  steel will form a   coating of rust. Rust   can expand steel by   as much as seven   times  its  original   thickness,  which  has the potential to   cause walls to bow   any signs  of bowing  be  identified, the   a façade is found to have unsafe condi-  and a sidewalk bridge erected to prevent   injury from falling debris.”   Katz goes on to say, “There are cases of   view requirements in place, it’s rare that   Interconnecting Systems  Façade issues don’t often occur in   isolation. And more likely than not,   level. “Typically,” notes Alimonti, “water   lem with the roof, it can create a problem   concerns the foundation, it’s very impor-  and any potential cracking.”   Indeed, whenever a building envelope  ground level, and then window washer   is compromised, water is almost always  staging to inspect the whole building up   the culprit. “Virtually all façade problems  close.   are related to water infiltration,” says   Katz, “and insofar as water has the po-  tential to negatively impact most build-  ing components, all building envelope  which is difficult with window washing   problems are interrelated. For example,  apparatus.” After the tragedy in Surfside,   water infiltration at the roof level could  Noblin adds that other smaller towns   work its way down into the façade, rust  around Massachusetts have adopted   structural steel and window lintels, and  similar inspection measures—usually for   thereby cause material displacement and  buildings 75 to 125 feet tall.    unsafe conditions. By the same token,   moisture that enters the façade through  that façade inspections are not a sub-  open joints could work its way down to  stitute for good design and proper con-  the foundation and compromise mortar  struction. “If a building is designed poor-  joints and create conditions conducive to  ly,” he says, “or executed in a way that   mold growth. In all cases, water infiltra-  tion can lead to degradation of insulation  envelope, inspections alone will not cor-  and compromise the building envelope.”  Be Vigilant  According to Ralph Noblin, a retired  they will continue to resurface—at addi-  engineer and former owner of Massachu-  setts-based Noblin & Associates, “The   state of Massachusetts does not require  construction or attempted repair,” Katz   periodic façade inspections—but the city  continues. “If the cause of damage is   of Boston does.” In fact, Boston adopted  determined to be previous construction   its inspection rules in response  to inci-  dents  in New  York and  Chicago  where  recourse to go back to the contractor. In   passersby were struck—and in more than  other cases the problems arise over time,   one case killed—by pieces of masonry  and the building’s only recourse might be   that had become detached from building  a legal remedy, which is both costly and   façades and fallen to the sidewalk below.  not guaranteed to succeed. For this rea-  Boston adopted an ordinance for inspec-  tions every five years: a basic visual from   “Now, they are using drones,” says   Noblin, “which are very effective. You   can get two feet away from the 50th floor,   Echoing his colleagues, Katz stresses   compromises the integrity of the building   rect those issues. And if those underly-  ing problems are not addressed properly,   tional expense each time.   “Sometimes, issues arise soon after   still under warranty, a building will have   FAÇADE...  continued from page 1  If a façade is found to   have unsafe conditions,   netting may need to   be installed and a   sidewalk bridge erected   to prevent injury from   falling debris.”                —David Katz   continued on page 18

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