What every buyer should know?
Leaky condos is a hot topic in Calgary that generated a lot of publicity lately. The absence of building code for multi-family or high rise condo building exteriors in Alberta, in addition to the poor flashing and detailing, and the lack of understanding of the basic building science principles, especially how water moves through the building envelope are among the major contributing factors to the most moisture problems in the multi family buildings in the province.
The problem is mainly caused by the water penetration through the exterior cladding and window joints in the wall system, allowing mold to grow on the wall, and leading to the failures of envelope components. The migration of mold products to the indoor air will result in bad odors, and raise serious health issues that will add to the large energy bills, and expensive repairs. Allowing the building skin (that is, it's envelope) to breathe and dry is crucial here, "you'll find that a building envelope technician as part of the building process will go a long way," says Greg Christenson, past president of the Canadian Homebuilders Association to the CBC News, " and increasingly you're seeing a requirement for what we call a rainscreen."
Rainscreen technology requires the existence of an air gap in the wall assembly to allow room for water to travel to the flashing outlets. This is important especially with the increased use of plywood alternatives such as OSB (oriented strand board), and foam boards in sheathing. This small airspace ( usually 3/8 of an inch) between the cladding ( stucco, manufactured stone veneer, etc...) and the building paper/sheathing interface will help in redistributing the water on the surface of the material, and accelerate the drying process. while leaky condos are fixable, the remediation is very costly. It requires taking off the exterior cladding so the contaminated wall components could be replaced. In Calgary there are many construction and building companies who specialize in remediating condos with building envelope problems. The good news is that once the work is done, the building is safe and in a better condition than it was before.
It is important then for people who are thinking of buying a condo in Calgary to make an educated decision as Randy Smith, a building science engineer, says in an interview with CBS News. He adds that any one looking to buy a condo needs to consider the following:
- Has the building ever suffered any kind of water penetration? If yes, you need to know how it was repaired and by whom? Was it repaired in a way that is going to be long term and durable?
- Read the reserve fund study: The reserve fund is the amount of money put away to pay for any repairs or replacement of the building. Any reserve fund study should be very detailed, and explains the reasons why certain repairs should be done.
- Read the condo board minutes: and go back as far as you can get! This will give you an idea of the types of problems that the board has had to deal with. If there were any leaks, it should be mentioned in the minutes.
- Check out the architecture firm: Big buildings should have, not only floor plans and elevations, but cross sections and details too. If those are missing, it means that they left them to the contractor or sub-trades to deal with them.
- Check out the developer who built the condo: Is there any lawsuit against this company? is he still around? Is he still building?
If any of these are a cause for concern, then we recommend that you look elsewhere for your condo.
Buying a condo is a major investment, and hiring a real estate professional who knows the area you are buying in will save you time and money. As Certified Condominium Specialists, Calgary Home Team agents are fully trained and experienced to provide both condo buyers and sellers with the best available service, to take care of the large amount of work involved in this kind of transaction, and to help clients understand and verify the condo documents needed to close the deal. Be sure to use our quick and easy search feature, or contact us at 403-519-9102 or via email to see how we can help you in all your real estate needs in Calgary.