Management Report: April 2019

Posted on Mon, 04/01/2019 - 12:00pm

By Violette Deschamps, Malibu East Manager

Office Hours FIRE INCIDENTS: A small fire broke out in a kitchen on the 29th floor on March 28 at about 6 p.m. The fire started on a burner, and flames extended to a plastic bowl and the plastic parts of the microwave oven suspended above the range. From there the flames extended to the side wall located against the stove. The owner reacted quickly by suffocating the fire with towels and contacted 911.

The Fire Department arrived at the unit within seven minutes from the 911 call. Meanwhile, a fire alert was triggered by the smoke detector located in the common hallway of the 29th floor, resulting in building staff and the 911 dispatcher being immediately contacted as well. And as designed, the modernized elevators were automatically sent down to the first floor and taken out of service by the elevators’ computer in response to the signal sent by the smoke detector. To reassure our residents, the fire was contained at its very early stage, the smoke was rapidly evacuated to the outdoors with the assistance of the smoke tower, and nobody was injured.

This incident is a reminder to remain prudent while cooking. Check for grease and other combustible components in, or in the vicinity of, the stove and burners. More importantly, have a fire extinguisher handy by the cooking equipment.

Another incident occurred on Sunday, March 31 at about 5:20 p.m., involving only smoke this time. The smoke detector by the passenger elevators again caused all elevators to be automatically recalled to the Lobby and locked. The alarm dispatching service contacted the Fire Department and the building engineer, who arrived at the site within five minutes of the dispatch. Several firemen came to Malibu East, unlocked the passenger elevator #1 and proceeded to the 37th floor. They rapidly came to the conclusion that there was no serious safety issue other than smoke emanating from grease and grime from an oven that was set on automatic cleaning. The best advice in this case is to manually remove the bulk of grease and grime before setting the self-cleaning option on the oven. There was no damage to the common elements or even in the unit, apart from smoke.

In both cases, the fire alarm system and elevators worked flawlessly. The Fire Department and building staff were professional, diligent and effective, keeping our residents and the property safe.

PERISHABLE DELIVERIES: We have observed an increasing number of perishables being delivered to the Receiving Room. Perishables can range from medication to meat to produce. Please be reminded that the Association has no obligation, nor the space and equipment, to refrigerate or freeze perishables until they are picked up. Our delivery notifications include the key word “perishable” if it is marked on the package. We advise you to pick up the delivered perishables as soon as you are notified of their delivery.

RECEIVING ROOM SCHEDULE: The Board of Directors made the decision at its March meeting to close the Receiving Room on Sundays, starting March 31, until further notice. The Sunday hours had been established to accommodate the increased delivery traffic that usually occurs during the holiday season.

SERVICE ELEVATOR USAGE: We continue to receive frequent complaints from pet owners either waiting an unusual period of time for the service elevator, or repetitively riding the service elevator with residents who have no pet, no suitcase, no laundry cart, no tools, no cleaning equipment, no pool gear, no bicycle and no need for transportation accommodation – in other words, with nothing legitimizing the usage of the service elevator pursuant to article II.D.2, page 7, of the Malibu East Rules and Regulations.

Now the complaints are often being brought to the attention of the Board directly by pet owners. Please be aware that if the Board believes that a violation of our condominium rules and policies has occurred, it may offer to the alleged violator, or the owner of the unit where the violator lives, the opportunity to explain the facts and any mitigating factors at a Grievance Committee hearing, which is composed of the officers of the Board. After a grievance hearing is held, and at a subsequent Board meeting, the directors will discuss the matter to determine whether fines, penalties and/or the investigation cost should be levied against the owner of the unit where the person found in violation of the rules lives, regardless of whether the violator is an owner or whether the unit owner chose to appear at a grievance hearing.

FOURTH-FLOOR EXERCISE ROOMS: The Board delegated the Sports Committee to assess the equipment currently installed in the three exercise rooms on the fourth floor and to make any needed modifications to these rooms and equipment. Changes may include permanently removing and/or relocating equipment, and/or rearranging equipment, at the discretion of the committee. The goals are to create more space around the equipment that is frequently used, improve the flow of the workouts and get rid of the equipment that is obsolete and rarely used.

TOWING SERVICES: Malibu East renewed its contract with the local operator licensed by the city of Chicago to move and relocate vehicles that are in violation of the rules of the Association. This towing service is available to property owners and the city to remove vehicles without the consent of the vehicles’ owners. A small number of operators are appointed by the city to perform this type of towing; each operator has a specific geographic area designated by the city. In summary, this towing license allows an operator to legally move and relocate a vehicle as requested by a third-party client.

Please be aware that starting in April 2019, the building staff will be empowered to make towing service calls to remove the vehicles of recalcitrant residents or vendors who abuse the 15-minute atrium parking areas by the main entrance, and individuals who park their vehicles in the boat dock or the loading dock without registering with the staff. The Receiving Room clerks and front-desk employees will first make efforts to notify the drivers abusing the rules to alert them of the violation and request the removal of their vehicles. Upon failure to follow the instructions of the building staff, or failure to be identified, or failure to follow up after receiving staff members’ messages, the staff will contact the towing company to remove the vehicle from the property at the cost of the vehicle’s owner. The towing company will relocate the vehicle at a location of its choice and will release the vehicle only upon payment of the towing service fees, pursuant to the authority vested by the city to the towing company.

GARAGE: Sadly, some of our residents proceed in and out of the garage disregarding, too many times, the safety measures posted in numerous locations of the garage. Those safety measures have been adopted by the Board of Directors to minimize the risk of accidents in the garage. A driver speeding down or up a ramp, or a driver failing to blow the horn of his/her vehicle, may be responsible for a car accident, damage to the building and, worse, injuries. Here are a few anecdotes to reinforce the validity of the garage rules:

  1. A driver sped down the second-floor ramp, missed his turn at the junction of the first-floor ramp, hit a drain pipe and got billed over $4,500 for the repairs;
  2. A driver failed to blow the horn of his vehicle while turning up a ramp, barely avoiding a building employee who was walking across the ramp;
  3. A driver coming down a ramp, lights off and radio on, with no horn sound at the turn, came face-to-face with another negligent driver, dodging a collision by a few inches.

Please practice good habits by adding the following steps while driving in or out of Malibu East’s garage:

  1. Turn on your vehicle’s lights;
  2. Drive within the speed limit of the garage and stop at the turns, top and bottom of the ramps;
  3. Sound the vehicle’s horn at all blind spots;
  4. Do not overtake another vehicle that is idle or moving in front of you at a slower pace;
  5. Slow down or stop the vehicle whenever you’re in the vicinity of employees or residents walking across ramps and turns.

The Board and management prioritize the safety in the garage. Please keep in mind that a lack of observance of the basic garage rules may result in a hearing, a fine and/or a revocation of parking privileges.

Further, we have observed an increase in fluid leaks (oil and antifreeze) on the garage floor. These fluids penetrate the membrane despite our best efforts to clean them as they are noticed. As a result, the chemicals in the fluids accelerate the wear and tear of the membrane applied to the concrete. Please be informed that the garage manager and building staff will double their efforts to diligently inspect the garage in the coming months and alert the owners of defective vehicles to have the leaks remedied in a timely fashion.

DOG RUNS: Please use the dog runs, as opposed to the parkways, for your pets. We will seed the parkways in early April; we are concerned that the dog urine will ruin the seeding as happened last year. The renovation of the parkways by Malibu East is projected for 2020 only; meanwhile, please make the necessary efforts to enable us to grow some decent “grass” in the parkways this year. Think about the bad impression it makes to look at patches of drab yellow and lifeless brown, together with weak green patches.

FACADE AND BALCONY PROJECT: Contractor RBS is finalizing the stripping of the east balconies of the A tier and is currently preparing for the application of the membrane on the north B and D balconies that were not completed in 2018. We will continue to disseminate the schedule submitted by RBS ahead of time.

The cladding study prepared by architects KGH is at its final stage. The Architecture & Aesthetics Committee will review the study once submitted and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors for discussion and a final decision as to whether to remediate the upper section of the wall with cinder blocks or to re-clad the whole wall from bottom to top with another material.

We distributed a water leak survey to the A, B, C, E, G, and J tier residents in an effort to update the water leak information we collected in 2016. Should you experience increased or previously undisclosed water leaks seeping into your unit (look for signs of damage around electrical outlets, or on ceilings or at the floor junctions with the exterior walls) during or after windy rains, please use the survey we emailed you to identify the leaks, take a few pictures of the leaks and damage, and email them to the property manager (mecamgr@sudlerchicago.com). The information will be forwarded to KGH in an effort to assist them in their assessment of the existing conditions and the repair work to be performed.

CABLE TV, INTERNET CHANGES: At the March Board meeting, the TV & Internet Committee, which was responsible for the analysis of the new TV and internet proposals, presented their recommendation to approve a new three-year contract with Comcast/Xfinity for the bulk cable TV basic programming and 250 Mbps internet service. The Board approved, after lengthy discussion, the proposal submitted by Comcast/Xfinity. Our current contracts with USA Wireless and HiPoint will expire at the end of June 2019. We anticipate a smooth transition from one provider to the other. Further details on this migration will be shared with residents as they are finalized.