Management Report: July 2017

Posted on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 12:00pm

By Violette Deschamps, Malibu East Manager

Office HoursBALCONY/FACADE PROJECT: RBS initiated the installation of its canopies on Sheridan Road on July 5 and completed the installation on July 6. The clearance to enter the atrium of the building is the same (11 feet 6 inches) as before. The canopies will be equipped with lighting fixtures, per the City of Chicago’s requirements, and will be kept through the completion of Phase One in the fall.

Management has received numerous phone calls and emails from residents asking questions about the project. The information disseminated on June 30 is as accurate as it could be at that time. Let me now add some clarifications:

  1. The L and M tiers have been recently designated as the tiers to be addressed during the 2017 Phase One, as opposed to the A and B tiers. The reasoning behind this change is that the 2017 timetable has been shortened because the work is starting in July as opposed to April, and second, the balconies of the L and M tiers are much smaller than the A and B balconies, which will facilitate the completion of Phase One in 2017.
  2. It is unrealistic to indicate which balcony will be done first or last or in the middle, or when the work will start or finish on a specific balcony. The sequence of the work depends on many factors such as the weather, winds, balcony membrane removal time, quantities and locations of concrete demolition and repairs, and so forth.
  3. RBS may work on the lower-level balconies when it is windy, and on the upper-level balconies when it is not, or it may proceed with three scattered balconies to facilitate the pouring of new concrete, etc. Having said that, we will request RBS to indicate the work schedule as precisely as is feasible and we will promptly communicate these updates to residents once they are available.
  4. Residents are responsible for the preparation of their balconies by relocating their personal property from the balcony to either inside their unit or to a storage locker. Please note that the Association has no spare lockers nor vacant room available for residents’ personal storage.
  5. Based on the most recent information received on July 6, RBS is planning to work on both L and M tiers simultaneously. The work will start with the removal of the balcony membrane in the second week of July. Once the removal of the membrane is finalized on all the L and M tier balconies, KGH, our architect, will investigate the soundness of the concrete of the balcony floors and walls, inspect the railing for defects, and establish the quantities of the repairs. This will be followed by the concrete repairs if needed, the railing repairs if needed, the railing painting and, last, the application of the waterproof floor membrane.
  6. RBS is diligently working to minimize to eight consecutive days the period of time during which the air-conditioner condensing units will be disconnected and cooling unavailable for your unit. It is too early to indicate when the disconnection will take place and what would be the balcony sequences.
  7. Management will prepare and distribute memos as soon as additional information becomes available. Memos will be distributed via email blast, door drop and posting in the building. Please make sure that management has your current email address on file.
  8. The working hours of RBS are from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and possibly on Saturdays.
  9. RBS is anticipating to complete Phase One in November 2017 and to start Phase Two in April 2018. There are no hard dates for either phase as each heavily depends on the weather.
  10. It is not known at this time which tiers will be the subject of Phase Two.

MEN’S SAUNA: The Board of Directors hired American Steam, Sauna and Spas to gut and renovate the men’s sauna on the fourth floor. The work includes the replacement of the benches, floor, door cladding, wall paneling, lighting and heater. We expect the work to be completed by the end of July or mid-August. The work depends greatly on the delivery time of the imported cedar.

PLUMBING: PVC and plastic pipes are prohibited in high-rise buildings built in Chicago (four stories or higher) for at least two good reasons. The first one relates to the safety of the occupants and buildings, because PVC melts when exposed to heat, leaving holes in otherwise fire-resistant walls and potentially allowing the fire to spread to neighboring units or common areas. The second reason relates to the domestic water being boosted up to the upper level of a building with special pumps that produce high water pressure against the wall of the pipes, which metal (copper and galvanized steel) pipes can withstand. PVC and reinforced plastic pipes will likely detach and/or crack under such pressure, causing a flood on the floors below. Unfortunately we too often find PVC drains connecting plumbing fixtures to main stacks and reinforced plastic (half-inch plastic pipe) connecting toilets to valves. We advise you to check those areas and proceed with the replacement without delay if any PVC or reinforced plastic pipes are installed in your unit. We recommend that you contact management if you indeed found PVC or reinforced plastic in your unit. We will help you with the paperwork and scheduling of the service elevator for your plumber.

LAUNDRY MACHINES: We continue to find odd objects in the washers and the dryers (screws, nails, paper clips, earrings, etc.). Our last discovery was a lighter that got caught in the drum mechanism, causing the machine to stop in the middle of the washing cycle. Please carefully check the pockets of your garments to avoid foreign objects falling into the machines, which may disrupt cycles and cause damage.

BALCONIES AND HOUSEKEEPING: Please refrain from sweeping dirt, debris, soapy water and the like off your balconies as they will likely end up on the balconies below you and irritate your neighbors. Per the rules of the Association: “Absolutely nothing shall be thrown or dropped, and nothing shall be shaken, from balconies. All items likely to blow off or rattle during heavy winds must be fastened down. Wastewater may not be allowed to flow over the edge of the balcony.” And last, the same precaution applies to cigarette butts that will easily fly onto other balconies.

BALCONIES AND WIND CHIMES: A wind chime, as charming, soothing and melodious as it can be when you choose to have one, can become a nuisance, even an irritation, to others, particularly in a high-rise building as each resident usually has many contiguous neighbors. It can also be a nuisance to residents of neighboring buildings. Heavy winds moving a chime all day or night long may cause a repetitive noise that may disturb your neighbors, prevent them from sleeping or concentrating, or even preventing them from using their own balconies. Please be sensitive and remove such chimes, or store them when air turbulence, storms and the like are forecast.

BALCONIES AND PETS: We have received complaints in the last month or so about pets left unattended on balconies. A lonely pet may bark in an attempt to get attention or ask to get inside, or because it is too hot outside. A pet on a balcony, particularly if unattended, may also relieve himself/herself on the balcony, which is in violation of the Rules and Regulations of Malibu East. Here is a reminder of the rules: “Because of the size of the building and the close proximity of its residents and balconies, some common-sense requirements are necessary to maintain the safety, security and tranquility of the residents. The balcony shall never be used at any time as a place where a pet can relieve itself. A resident’s pet shall not be left unattended for a prolonged period of time on the balcony, regardless of whether the resident is within the unit or elsewhere. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing prohibition, a “prolonged period” includes that period wherein the resident is away from the unit, whether elsewhere in the building or away from the building.”

REAL ESTATE TAXES: Some of you have recently contacted management to report an increase in your tax bill. As mentioned in previous correspondences, the Board of Directors hired the legal firm Worsek & Vihon in 2016 to contest, on your behalf, the assessed value of your condominium unit as it relates to your property tax bill. Worsek & Vihon succeeded in gaining a reduction in the assessed value, which, alone, generated a decrease in your tax bill. This is not to say that the overall tax bill has decreased, because there are other factors used in the calculation of your real estate taxes (e.g., state equalization factor, local tax rate) that may contribute to an overall increase in your tax bill, and if so, your net tax bill may end up being higher than last year’s despite the reduction Worsek & Vihon achieved in the assessed value. There is nothing Worsek & Vihon or Malibu East can do about that increase because it is beyond the scope of any tax appeal. This said, keep in mind that you would have paid more in tax if Worsek & Vihon hadn’t been able to reduce the assessed value. Should you need to contest further the amount of your taxes, we recommend you meet with a person at the Cook County assessor’s office at 118 N. Clark St.

SERVICE ELEVATORS: For those of our residents having difficulty ambulating and in need of an accommodation to use the service elevator because it is closer to their units, please submit a request in a letter addressed to the Board of Directors, asking to allow you to use the service elevator when having no pet or large luggage or cart to transport and explaining why.

CONDENSATE LINES: A condensate line is located in the front corner of your furnace closet. This pipe serves the purpose of draining the condensation collected by your furnace when you are cooling your unit. As a precaution, please regularly check to see if any moisture or water is visible on your floor by the branch line as it may be a sign of a clog either in your branch line or the main condensate line. If you find moisture or water there, please contact management promptly to have it checked.