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SEPTEMBER 2005

BOARD MEETING

We Currently have 2 Delinquent Accounts
Bill - 2 Delinquent Accounts
The meeting of The Regency Tower Board was called to order at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2005 in the Meeting Room of The Regency Tower by the President.

Roll Call - The roll call showed the following Board Members present: Iris Anastasi, Eric Berkowitz, Louise Collins (on speakerphone), Fern McBride, Dott Nicholson-Brown, Bill Tennenbaum (on speakerphone) and Pablo Verol.

Secretary Fern McBride
Secretary Fern McBride
Reading of Minutes -
The minutes of the special meeting of The Regency Tower Board of Directors held on June 13, 2005 were read. Eric Berkowitz made a motion to approve the minutes as read, seconded by Pablo Verol, unanimously approved. The minutes of the regular meeting of The Regency Tower Board of Directors held on June 13, 2005 were read. Iris Anastasi made a motion to approve the minutes as read, seconded by Pablo Verol, unanimously approved.

Financial Report - Treasurer Bill Tennenbaum gave a detailed report reflecting the Association’s financial position as of August 29, 2005. (Reported financial details are available to Regency Tower owners in our newsletter, the “Regency Tower Times”. - editor)

There are two (2) delinquent accounts at this time that have been turned over to our attorney for collection. A motion was made by Fern McBride to accept the Treasurer’s Report; seconded by Louise Collins, unanimously approved.

Committee Reports - President Nicholson-Brown then requested the Committee Reports. Click Here to read each report in its entirety.

New Business - President Nicholson-Brown then called for New Business. Click Here to read the New Business.

Announcements -

  • Many shutters blew down during Hurricane Katrina. Our Maintenance Department is no longer allowed to replace shutters because they do not meet the current code.

  • Our Maintenance personnel will no longer be permitted to perform work in the building without a permit. Effective immediately, they must follow the same procedures as all contractors.

  • Eric Berkowitz explained that we need a few more residents to sign up for the wireless internet service (see Eric for details).

Adjournment - A motion was made by Iris Anastasi and seconded by Eric Berkowitz to adjourn the meeting at 3:50 p.m.; unanimously approved.

Fern McBride
Board Secretary

PRESIDENTS REPORT

SEPTEMBER 2005

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
- Albert Einstein

  .: Aloha :.,
Regency Tower Board President Dott Nicholson-Brown How was your Summer in the North/East/West/Central areas of America, Canada and Europe? The weather in Ft. Lauderdale during June, July and August was hot, hot, hot; humid, humid, humid. I have been here since 1988 and I sincerely feel there has never been a Summer like this one. Whew!

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina didn't Knock out any of the New Impact Rated Windows!
GARAGE WAS ALL DRY - HURRICANE KATRINA
DIDN'T KNOCK OUT IMPACT RATED WINDOWS!
Good News! Unlike our neighbor buildings, our garage did not flood. Our new well worked. No more damaged cars and/or back-bending work by our employees to drain/dry/sweep out water. Congratulations to the Regency Tower for an experiment that worked! We had balcony doors, shutters, windows, trees, furniture, roof turbines, etc., being blown around like small toys. Joe was hurt trying to bring in a balcony door and has stated he will not do it again. Neither will I. My back will probably never be the same after Joz Victor and I dragged in a door during the 2004 hurricane season. Consequently, it is suggested that each owner have their doors checked by a reputable person or company. Our Maintenance (Joe and Johnny) suggests replacing hinge screws with 6 inch titanium ones. It is also suggested that those owners who did not replace the Hurricane fasteners when your new balcony doors were installed should contact the office. After 2 years of scarcity, we now have some in inventory at $45.00 each, plus labor. Congratulations again to the 20th Floor! Everyone on the Floor has replaced their windows, except one. We understand she is in the process of obtaining them. Next best are the 8th and 9th floors. Approximately 80% of the building have installed or ordered Hurricane Windows. Please review the 6/13/05 memorandum entitled “HURRICANE POLICY, PROCEDURES AND PREPARATION.” See Eric’s report on Hurricane Windows (Click Here) inserted herein.

A/C Riser Piping Project

Plug the Holes in YOUR A/C CLOSET!
Sorry - We're out of FAVORS!!!
Plug the Holes in Your A/C Closet - Contractor Won't do any More FAVORS
PLUG THE HOLES
IN YOUR A/C CLOSET
This project officially began June 20th although one week was dedicated to cutting up piping. See Joe Anastasi’s Report for update (Click Here). On April 22nd Bill Tennenbaum prepared a memo from the Board of Directors which was very specific regarding the need to clear out A/C Closets by May 20th including the Maintenance billing charges if left undone. This memo was ignored by many and when we started receiving 10-12 “Special Request” calls per day, I decided to use the “Oprah Factor”. What is that you ask? According to unofficial Management Practices, if calls are made between 4 PM & 5 PM, residents will get right to the point and hastily get off the phone. This allowed me to use my time more effectively and not repeatedly break my concentration throughout the day. Smart, right? But I’m not that clever. A fellow Manager of a Galt Mile Condo gave me the tip. Vice President Pablo Verol put a quotation plaque on my desk which says “The Buck Stops Here.” During the past few months of A/C Riser Project, I’ve almost sent that “buck” somewhere else. We brought so many “special” owner requests to the contractor that he finally put his foot down last Friday by telling me “Dott, I realize you care about your neighbors, but this is a business, not a charity.” Of course, I responded “Just one more.” We have four stacks and the common area left to do. Kindly close up all holes including removal of Dryer Hoses before we reach your stack. Check Channel 95 or Web Site (Click Here) for the expected installation date for each stack.

Security

Have you noticed improvements to our Security procedures and in the Department? Have you noticed improvements to our Security procedures and in the Department? Two Security Consultants (one in private practice and one a Government expert) evaluated our department. After failing several test runs, we immediately put into effect recommended improvements such as:

  1. Developed a Security Manual which requires (among other things) the Front Desk to be manned at all times;
  2. Developed a Fixed Work Schedule to include weekends;
  3. Installed Monitor Screen between Garage and Front Desk Posts so guards will be able to back up partner if needed;
  4. Equipped Garage Security Office with new microwave, refrigerator, desk, shelving/hangers for personal items;
  5. Painted interior and exterior
  6. Began Monthly Staff/Safety/Security Meetings;
  7. Installed Vending Machines - this along with Microwave and refrigerator is desirable since Guards do not have specific lunch periods;
  8. New forms were developed for completion by contractors, movers, vendors to preclude unlawful entry and/or damage to our property;
  9. Florida State Laws regarding smoking in building is now enforced;
  10. Developed ID Badges with numbers for everyone who enters building (except personal guests).

Please introduce yourselves to any personnel with whom you’re not acquainted and do not become agitated if you’re questioned as to being a resident. This is their job! Everyone should identify themselves before entry is allowed and/or use their fob. Other improvements are in process regarding management of the Department especially as it relates to disciplinary procedures and better training of new hires. The Board has been told by many Realtors, Managers and other Boards that we have the “Best Maintained and Managed building on the Galt.” With this re-organization, we expect the label “Most Secure Building” to be added to the list very soon.

Web Site is up and RUNNING
GET WEB UPDATES
Web Site

Hurrah! Our Web Site has returned. Eric Berkowitz has followed in the footsteps of Iris Anastasi and re-invented the Regency Tower Web Site. Check out our brand new Web site (www.regencytower.net). You will be pleasantly surprised and proud. See Web site Committee Report (Click Here) inserted into this issue of the Regency Tower Times. It is a detailed guide to all facets of the site. Thank you Eric and Liz Urbano.

Homeowners Insurance

No New Policies
NO NEW
POLICIES
State is pleading with AllState to Continue writing Homeowners policies
OK - So Far
A large number of Floridians are receiving bad news from their insurance carriers. Allstate has announced non-renewal of 95,000 policies. Safeco is pulling completely out of Florida. State Farm and Nationwide no longer issue new homeowner policies despite receiving the approval for a 28% increase to their customers. In my personal case, I will be paying a 28% increase plus a 6.8% increase that all Floridians must pay to the State-backed Citizens Property Insurance which is Florida’s insurance of last resort. It insures people who can’t find private-market coverage. This information is provided to prepare, not panic you. Your company has to give you 45 days notice before your renewal date if they plan not to renew. Go to Florida Market Assistance Program (www.fmap.org) 1-800-524-9023 or to Florida Department of Financial Services (www.fldfs.com) for information.

The Round Table

Howard expressed concern about residents letting people into the pool area without fobs.
HOWARD - POOL INTRUDERS?
September 1st
- Member attendees were: Rafael Alleguez, Joe Anastasi, Betty Burns, Ron Forment, Chris Hammers, Howard Hirschman, Shirley Hopkins, Dee Lanzillo, Bob Nagle, Anne Petroe and Martha Sellas. Bob Nagle was welcomed as a new member for the April 2005 to March 2006 year. Also congratulations were extended to Chris and his wife on the birth of their new baby. Rafael questioned cars parked near grocery carts in the garage which might be scratched by people pushing through shopping carts. The Board noted that the person renting the legally owned Association space from an owner through a mix-up has refused to park his car forward to prevent this occurring.
Martha said that people do not stop or even slow down
MARTHA - SLOW DOWN!
Rafael stated he had lost mail in last couple of months. He also requested that we place a note in the open mail boxes along with returning the mail if you have inadvertently picked up another person's mail. Bob says he has not received all his magazines. It was mentioned that the replacement carrier for Cleveland has not delivered some mail, especially junk mail and magazines. Betty asked about the status of new Hurricane Windows, Dee asked about hall decorating. It was stated that air conditioning risers will have to be completed first as it will be a messy project. Dee also asked about power washing the building at the conclusion of Playa del Mar’s balcony project. It was mentioned that waxing balcony railings will preserve them. Shirley “again” asked when the Regency entrance sign would be moved up higher so as to be seen. Joe stated it is moving up in priority. Martha said she was content at the moment. But then, the timer for the outside lighting was mentioned and she suddenly had a couple of questions as we all laughed heartily. Anne questioned what happened to floral arrangements in the lobby and to old Holder/Vase on wall near Security. Iris will check with Liz Urbano. Chris asked if the garage level lobby doors could be left open for bringing in items. Answer: fire code requires door be closed at all times. Bob mentioned hearing beeping sound from unit # 903. Consensus: it is smoke alarm and owner had left. A discussion followed suggesting that we make surveillance mandatory when owners leave for a period of time and that this be put in Rules & Regulations and Newsletter. Most Snow Birds sign up for the $12.00 per visit once or twice monthly apartment surveillance. Also, suggestion was made that residents change the battery in their smoke alarms when changing clock to seasonal time changes. Howard mentioned that people are putting their towels, etc. on the chaise lounges around the pool to reserve them. This is not allowed. The screening package has been updated to include this. Ron asked about the replacement tiles in storage area on 16th floor. It will remain until Decorators present a scheme for owners approval. He also wanted to know if owners will have option to purchase items which may not be used in their halls. Answer is yes. Joe suggested we look into participating in the FP&L energy program. After a lively discussion, it was agreed that more information should be obtained and presented to the Board.

Alexander Fleming discovered Pennicillin
ALEXANDER FLEMING
DISCOVERED PENICILLIN
Silver Linings

By now, everyone will have heard about the horrific occurrences in New Orleans, Mississippi and elsewhere. Sometimes it takes a disaster to shock us into new relationships. The people still living who faced the Hurricane and flooding disaster of Katrina are probably stunned to discover their disaster introduced a lot of them to warm, supportive, helping people, new relationships. David La Chapelle in “Navigating the Tides of Change” tells the story of a 19th century farmer who heard cries from a nearby bog, rescued a young boy sinking into the mud, comforted him and sent him on his way. The next day the boy’s father (a nobleman) insisted on giving the farmer a reward which the farmer rejected. After arguing and negotiating, the farmer agreed to allow the nobleman to pay for his son’s education. The farmer’s son, Alexander Fleming, graduated from Medical School and discovered Penicillin. The nobleman’s son contracted pneumonia and penicillin saved his life. His name? Winston Churchill. I am certain that our futures await the positive power of new relationships.

Aloha I love you
Dott

COMMITTEE REPORTS

SEPTEMBER 2005

Architectural Review & Construction Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Construction Committee Chair Eric Peter Berkowitz Gives Report
ERIC PETER BERKOWITZ
Billiard Room Ready Soon
The Billiard Room project is in the second stage of a two-step plan devised to facilitate the overall construction. The majority of the structural work has been completed despite the contractor having been on vacation during much of August. The walls are up and the electrical wiring for the outlets and the lighting fixtures is in place. After investigating the comparative costs and benefits of three possible HVAC systems, we opted to install a 2 ton unit connected to the water tower. This will provide the most efficient cooling at the lowest operational cost. By avoiding a split system, we were able to install quiet HVAC mechanical components within the room instead of a noisy outdoor unit prone to deterioration and breakdowns from exposure. While Southeast Mechanical was replacing the riser in the eleven stack, we had them punch through to the garage and run valved lines all the way to the unit, giving us access to the water tower while lowering construction cost by several thousand dollars. A dropped ceiling will hide ductwork, plumbing and electrical lines while lowering the cost of cooling the room.

Over the years, improvised connections were added to the existing electrical lines in the back of the garage. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade the currently underpowered electrical service to the area. By replacing the existing 150 amp service with a 200 amp service, we will not only provide adequate electricity to the new HVAC, but also accommodate any future electrical requirements - if and when necessary. Our engineer devised two plans to upgrade the service. One plan had a new line from the electrical room to a new second box. The alternative replaced the existing aluminum wire with new copper wire in the existing conduit. By selecting the second option, we brought adequate juice to the area, eliminated a potentially dangerous aluminum wire from the building grid and saved $1600.

In a humid environment, ceiling tiles behave like sponges, swelling with absorbed moisture. When the swollen tiles dry out and shrink back to normal size, they no longer fit into the dropped ceiling grid. Now that the Air Conditioning is operational, the dropped ceiling tiles can be cut and installed. The new electrical service and box will also be installed. We hope to complete the remaining construction in about a month.

We have been negotiating with the company that retains the warranty covering our balcony railings. As you know, Aqua-Shield was sold a few years ago to the Continental Group, a subsidiary of the huge multi-national First Services Corporation. Several months ago, the company was sold again, this time to the Structural Group, parent of Structural Preservation Systems - our former deck contractor. Enigmatically, the warranty obligations were retained by Continental. Unable to elicit an adequate response to our balcony inquiries, our attorney has sent a contractual notification to Continental. We are awaiting their response to this legal notice.

Aside from several additional impact window installations, there were no new construction notifications submitted to the Architectural Review Committee. Thank you for your kind attention.

Beautification Committee
Louise Collins

Beautification Committee Chair Louise Collins says that, 'Katrina damaged plants'
LOUISE - KATRINA
DAMAGED THE PLANTS
Plants in the front south planter driveway area were replaced due to some maintenance work performed in this location. August was once again time for the lobby and mailroom marble floors to be polished. Passing through the garage gates in front of the receiving area, you are greeted by the guard, as well as two new potted plants that enhance this area. Due to Hurricane Katrina, many plants were damaged which will be replaced in the near future.

Housekeeping Committee
Dee Lanzillo

Housekeeping Chair Dee Lanzillo says A/C Riser Project is Making a Mess
Dee Lanzillo - Big
Mess from Risers
Upon inspection of all floors from pool area, basement and floors 1 through 20, they all seem to be in good condition. We are having some problems keeping the building as clean as expected. Due to the work on the A/C risers and other construction in the building, it is difficult for our Maintenance staff to be on all the worksites since the A/C crew is on all the floors working on different stacks.

I have also been informed by our Maintenance staff that there are problems with the common area rest rooms. We have posted signs informing the workers that use them to be more careful. There has been flooding in the lobby rest rooms and Eddy has been called by security to clean up the mess caused by some of the workers in our building.

Hopefully, the A/C riser work should be completed before the end of the year. We can then go ahead and plan for our next project which will be the redecorating of the floors.

Rules & Regulations Committee
Rafael Alleguez

Rules & Regulations Chair Rafael Alleguez Gives Report
RAFAEL - 3 YEAR
RULES UPDATE
The committee has reviewed the current “Regency Tower Condo Association Rules & Regulations,” approved by the Board in year 2004. A number of changes, deletions and additions are being recommended to the Board for consideration and its approval or rejection. The committee is recommending that revisions of this nature to the Rules & Regulations be conducted only every three years in order to save time and money.

One of the important additions we are recommending is the new Appendix ”C,” which includes samples of the following forms: (1) “Contractors/Movers/Vendors” and (2) “Architectural Review Form.” Every owner should become familiar with the content of these new forms.

Pablo Verol made a motion that the recommendations of the Rules and Regulations Committee be accepted with regard to the August 2005 Revised Edition, including their recommendation that such revisions be conducted every three years. The motion was seconded by Iris Anastasi; unanimously approved.

Screening Committee Chair Margie Nagle Needs Back-up Volunteers
Needs Volunteers!
Screening Committee
Margie Nagle

We had no screenings during the months of July and August. I would like to ask for two additional backup volunteers to serve on my committee.

 

We Care Committee
Ofelia Alleguez

We Care Committee Chair Ofelia Alleguez of Regency Tower Angel Squad
Ofelia Alleguez - Regency
Tower ANGEL SQUAD
May

  • As we reported at the June 13, 2005 meeting, Barry Nesbitt (203) was recuperating at home. Trees planted in his name.

June

  • Lou Lanzillo (610) had surgery in Massachusetts; note on bulletin board, cards sent, and upon his return home a fruit basket was sent.

July

  • Jim DeSebastian’s (1908) father passed away; note on bulletin board, card sent.

  • Richard Artim (405) returned after having surgery up north. He was admitted to Holy Cross hospital; note on bulletin board and card sent.

August

  • Richard Artim (405) came home from hospital; plant arrangement sent.

  • Carol Buono (708) passed away at home in Massachusetts; note on bulletin board, card sent and trees planted in her memory.

  • Marian Custer (1902) was admitted to Imperial Point Hospital; note on bulletin board, cards sent. She is now at a rehab facility.

Web Site Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Eric Peter Berkowitz Gives Report Explaining New Regency Tower Web Site
Eric Berkowitz
"try it...you'll like it"
Regency Tower has a new web site (www.regencytower.net). Since many of our residents became comfortable with the format of the old site, its basic menu structure was retained. However, there are substantive changes and additions in the new site. This is a summary of the information available on the new Regency Tower web site. In addition to the brief summary of life in Regency Tower on the home page, there is a scroller containing special updates that reflects the information available on channel 95. When clicked, it will take you to the “Special Updates” page where more detailed information about building events is available.

The Board of Directors page contains pictures of and letters to the Board along with a schedule of Board meetings and building office information. Board meetings are divided into several different pages. General info is found on the Board Meeting page. Reports given by committee chairs at the Board Meetings are included in the Committee Reports page. The New Business section of the Board Meeting also has its own page. Along with reminders for important upcoming building and community meetings and events, notices given at Board Meetings are contained in the Notices and Reminders page.

The Committees page lists the membership of the various committees along with some of their scheduled meeting dates. Round Table membership and meeting dates are available on the Round Table page along with the group’s preamble which explains its rules and mission. Dott Nicholson-Brown’s popular President’s Report, an information-packed monthly love letter to all Regency Tower residents, is framed in its own page. The President’s Report also reviews the issues and problems undertaken by the “Round Table”.

Three pages are devoted to the people that live and work in Regency Tower. Employee Profiles offer mini-autobiographies and pictures of the hard-working people that we depend on to operate our home. This is particularly useful to new residents struggling to remember the names of employees that they greet each day. A similar page concentrating on the people that live in Regency Tower is called Meet Your Neighbor. A third page, New Residents, is a welcome mat to new neighbors that lists their names and unit numbers. Since many of our neighbors only visit intermittently, we’ve decided to extend the list back for two years, allowing additional time to familiarize ourselves with these new members of our community.

The New Regency Tower Web Site is Up and Running
New Regency Tower Web Site
has Many New Features
The Events page celebrates high-lights in Regency Tower’s history. Awards given in recognition for noteworthy contributions to our home and neighbors are displayed and documented. Special events that served to bring the Regency Tower family together are depicted as well. Similarly, the Photo Gallery also chronicles memorable events in the growth and development of the building and its inhabitants. By clicking on any picture in the Photo Gallery, you will be presented with a larger version.

General Information is a sizable source of useful info designed to make your life easier and more affordable. Information covering everything from the area’s free City Cruiser and Pelican Hopper to the complete channel lineups for Comcast’s basic and digital services are available. Data about Association Services, the Air Shuttle, the Exercise Room, Floor Coverings, Senior Care Services and Service Contracts are a few of the areas available to help smooth out the bumps of life in Regency Tower and the Galt Mile neighborhood.

The first page that anyone in residence should check is the Special Updates page. Critical and current information about issues and projects with immediate effects are updated daily. Attention to the Special Updates page will help you avoid unpleasant surprises or costly mistakes. Currently, a table for the A/C Riser Project always displays which stack is under construction as well as the timetable for future work. A new Weather section is also located on the “Special Updates” page. It displays up-to-the-minute advisories from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Activity Maps for the Atlantic and Pacific Basins, storm tracks and click through info about all current storms worldwide. A Weather Console displays the current local weather that, when clicked, will show a detailed extended forecast. If a building issue will impact your life today, you’ll probably find it on the Special Updates page.

Residents seeking to sell or rent their unit may list their offering on the Regency Tower Real Estate page. Real Estate agents and brokers that live here are also listed. Pertinent unit data is often accompanied by pictures. As in the “Photo Gallery”, clicking on the pictures in the various slideshows will bring up larger versions of the selected images.

The Poem and Joke page is an ongoing tribute to one of Regency Tower’s treasures, Helen Quinlan. This strange section is a testament to the human mind’s proclivity to find humor in anything. There is a trick to this page. You may recall what used to be characterized as 3D comic books. To read these blurry red and blue collages, you needed a set of 3D goggles - often cardboard glasses with red cellophane covering one eye and blue cellophane covering the other. When you donned the glasses, the pictures became discernible. Before you read the Poem and Joke page, you need to meet Helen Quinlan. Once done, try to imagine Helen telling the joke that you are reading. If you’re lucky, the material will assume another dimension. Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn’t work.

The site maintains Archives that contain information from the past. Taken as a whole, the archives represent a history of Regency Tower. By clicking on the Webmaster link, you can send an email to the editor. By clicking on the email address (regencytower1@netzero.net) atop each page, you can send an email to the office. We welcome contributions to the web site. Any resident with anything to say is welcome to submit their offering for publication. I want to thank my fellow committee member Liz Urbano for her contribution to the web site. Thank you for your kind attention.

Welcoming Committee
Howard Hirschman

Howard - Regency Tower is the Best on the Block!
HOWARD HIRSCHMAN
"BEST ON THE BLOCK"
During the most recent period there have been no screenings, therefore, no welcoming tours of the Regency Tower facilities.

Worthy of mention are many favorable comments by recent buyers and renters. People in the hall, the garage and the beach and pool area have told me how delighted they were with our attractive, well-organized facility. Many of these people had either owned or rented other condos on past years on the Galt Mile. Most said they carefully researched the area before selecting The Regency Tower. Some were pushed in our direction by enthusiastic realtors. Others heard about us from friends and relatives living in the area. Still others sold themselves after being shown some of the units and our magnificent common areas.

All were impressed by the Board’s attention to important facilities maintenance projects and cost control, at the same time keeping the monthly maintenance cares to unit owners at what is reputedly one of the lowest on the Galt Mile.

NEW BUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 2005

Update on Hurricane Windows
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Construction Committee Chair Eric Peter Berkowitz Updates the Impact Windows Installation Project
ERIC PETER BERKOWITZ
KATRINA - A WARNING
Surfers Defy Warnings to Evacuate Beach Area
Surfers Ride Katrina's Waves
on Fort Lauderdale Beach
It was reported as a small, slow moving tropical storm. Many Regency Tower residents prepared for Katrina as if it were an IMAX special release, treating it with no more respect than the celebrating surfers on Fort Lauderdale Beach. There was a general feeling that surviving last year’s hurricanes somehow immunized us from anything in nature’s arsenal. That would change in a hurry. As Katrina hit landfall squarely at Fort Lauderdale, it was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. Wind speed readings at Port Everglades were 92 MPH, a hair short of Category 2. As wind whips through the vortices between the tall buildings on the block, it picks up 20 - 25 MPH, increasing wind speed up to 110 - 120 MPH on our parking decks. Owners who reluctantly agreed to take in their balcony furniture earlier swallowed hard by late Thursday afternoon. While last year’s storms were far worse, none of them hit the Galt Mile head on. Katrina would. The 11th named Atlantic storm hit the Galt Mile harder than any of last year’s blockbusters. The big difference was preparation. This would be the first real test of hundreds of newly installed impact windows.

The Ambassador Condominium in Lake Worth - Non-compliant Window Sourced Hurricane Damage
The Ambassador Condominium
in Lake Worth after Hurricane
By mid afternoon, teams of employees and volunteers were visiting units to remove remaining balcony furniture and accessories. A few hours later, dozens of useless “hurricane shutters” became flying guillotines as the storm ripped them from the building to the ground. Overlooked balcony furniture, uprooted balcony tiles and glass shards from broken windows also became deadly projectiles, flying off the building as quickly as we could collect them. Literally scores of shutters and panels from many buildings wound up in the parking lot across the street. Almost immediately, emergency reports poured in from Regency Tower residents victimized by the storm. A few balcony doors and dozens of windows were torn out. The emergency teams ran from unit to unit performing temporary repairs, nailing back ripped out doors and patching broken and missing windows.

A pattern became discernable. Not one new impact window was lost. While several units sustained infiltration, the only windows dislodged by the storm were the old non-compliant antiques enigmatically considered adequate by some owners. Fortunately, the vast majority of the final “group 3” impact window installations were completed prior to Katrina. By early evening, many nervous residents reported concern about whether their older windows would hold. Responding to these calls, teams helped secure dozens of older windows that were violently shaking or partially broken by the wind. These palliative repairs prevented the number of seriously damaged units from doubling. While every unit owner was concerned about frightening sounds and leaks, owners of unprotected units were responsible for more than 95% of the requests for assistance. Although several vehicles sustained damage from large impacts, many more were scratched or dented by broken non-compliant windows and shutters tossed by the winds.

These Units are Protected from Hurricanes by the Impact Windows
Wind Damage Condo Catastrophe
Similar results were mirrored up and down the coast. The damage from this storm supports the intentions of Florida’s insurance companies to increase homeowner rates. As you are doubtless aware, the State is desperately negotiating with the carriers to remain in Florida. Following the passage of an insurance package last session, the Florida legislature began exploring language to accommodate the insurance industry’s concerns about future exposure. Specifically, they are negotiating to dismantle the grandfathered protection of non-compliant construction. While politicians are skittish about forcing constituents to spend money on compliance with the post-Andrew safety codes, they are more concerned by the prospect of Florida insurance carriers abandoning the State.
Safeco and Nationwide have joined five other insurance companies that have already decided to stop writing new homeowner policies in the State of Florida since last year’s drain on resources. Nationwide, Florida’s 4th largest carrier, withdrew from the “new policies” market despite receiving a green light from the State to hike rates by 21% on homes and 25% on mobile homes. State Representatives of beachfront communities are also cognizant of the danger that inadequate protection represents to their constituents.

Katrina's 92 MPH winds hit Fort Lauderdale Beach
Katrina hits Fort Lauderdale Beach
with 92 mph winds
The Hurricane Insurance Package (Senate Bill 1486, House Bill 1939, House Bill 9-A) passed on May 6th by the legislature included a provision that was designed to pave the way for mandating upgrades. It states, “By the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the Department of Community Affairs shall develop a low-interest loan program for homeowners and mobile home owners to retrofit their homes with fixtures or apply construction techniques that have been demonstrated to reduce the amount of damage or loss due to a hurricane.” As an additional precursor to the upcoming statute, the state launched the Florida Wind Insurance Wind Incentives Web Site to allow “Florida homeowners and builders to search for wind insurance incentives that are available for building features that reduce damage during high wind events like hurricanes.” In Tallahassee, lawmakers are no longer asking if legislation should mandate that grandfathered structures comply with current safety codes, but when they should be made to do so. For the first time since Andrew, local authorities have expressed support for such measures. Apprehensive municipal and county governments from the Keys to Jacksonville were convinced by the 2004 onslaught that structures within their jurisdictions need to be resistant to a replay of last year’s devastation.

The Tiara Condominium in Singer Island - After Hurricane Jeanne
The Tiara Condominium in Singer
Island - After Hurricane Jeanne
Regency Tower’s voluntary Impact Window Project has been so successful that other Galt Associations are preparing similar projects. Almost 80% of The Regency Tower’s windows are currently protected (or will be within the month). Ironically, owners who originally complained about the prospect of installing the new windows are now campaigning to require their universal installation. They offer a convincing argument, the truth of which was confirmed by our engineer. When non-compliant windows are blown out by severe winds, the almost instantaneous evacuation that ensues puts incredible pressure on the unit’s interior doors as well as the other windows. They could also be dislodged. That would spread the affected area to the hallway and the doors of adjoining units which, in turn, would come under terrific pressure. Should they buckle, the units’ contents would be exposed and destroyed. The damage could easily spread through the whole floor. Similarly, the damage could proliferate to adjoining floors and ultimately threaten the integrity of the entire structure. The engineer added that the spread of damage to other floors would depend primarily on the integrity of the structure’s containment (hallway fire doors, elevator doors, fire wells, etc.). Due to the responsible stewardship by our maintenance department of these containment structures, damage here would likely be confined to an individual floor. The owner of the unit whose non-compliant window becomes a flashpoint for extended destruction could bear the ultimate responsibility for the resulting damage. While liability is generally mitigated for damage resulting from an “Act of God”, the owner would have to show that there was no reason to believe that the legal, yet non-compliant, windows afforded ineffective protection. Good luck! If the damage was successfully subrogated to the owner’s carrier, his rates would skyrocket. If not, everyone else’s rates would skyrocket.

At the suggestion of my neighbor, Bob Derham, I’ve posted several pictures on the Galt Mile web site of high rise condos in South Florida that experienced multi-floor decimation by hurricanes (See Some Above). They are included in an article entitled, “Through a Glass, Darkly”. For those skeptics foolish enough to believe that these concerns are groundless histrionics, I invite you to see what can happen in a few seconds to unprotected properties.

Following the storm, several residents that previously postponed protecting their homes came to the office to arrange installations. That, along with the fact that no one was injured, is the silver lining of Katrina.

 

Update on A/C Risers
Joe Anastasi

Joe Anastasi Updates A/C Riser Project
Joe Anastasi
Updates A/C Riser Project
Riser replacement for The Regency Tower air condition and water tower lines are presently being replaced by
Southeast Mechanical Service Company. This company has an excellent reputation in South Florida by both its customers and competitors.

A brief synopsis of what is being done:

  1. Old galvanized pipes that controlled pressurized treated water going in and out of the A/C units are being replaced with copper lines. It must be noted that the old pipes were cracked, corroded, patched and way beyond their life expectancy.

  2. The rubber pressure hoses are being replaced with steel braided hoses which are the best hoses on the market. They are so good that originally they were only used on aircraft.

  3. The old city water line for the apartments is being removed and replaced. A new condensation line for the A/C's is being installed with a copper line and trap attached to the A/C unit. The old condensation line will now only be used for the hot water tank drainage.

  4. The wood rack that held the A/C unit is being replaced with steel rods and cross members and is attached to the ceiling. This eliminates a possible fire/smoke hazard.

Southeast Mechanical has a contract schedule of 7 to 10 working days per stack and design of A/C room completion. At present, they have successfully accomplished this and in some cases have been completed in 5 days. Due to Fire Marshall and Zoning requirements, all holes in the A/C room must be eliminated.

Work, in progress, is being done on stack four and preliminary work is being performed on stack six. Stacks completed are 9, 10, 11, 1, 2 and 3. Stack five will be the last stack in line scheduled to be completed due to its ties with the main water line from the water tower.

Upon completion of this project we will have a cleaner, safer, state of the art air condition cooling system with major parts lasting us a lifetime.

The President complimented Joe Anastasi on the great job he is doing on the A/C Riser Project.

 

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