August 2011 Archives

August 2011 Board Update

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Hallways Project Renovation: Thank you to all of our residents for being patient while we perfected the plan for the final phase of the hallway renovation. While we would liked to have finished the project already, additional options came up that needed to be researched at length. Better to spend the time to get the details right than just rush through the project.

  • Nearing Door-Hardware Upgrade: We expect the door-hardware contractor will have all the parts needed to begin upgrading door chimes, door knobs, door-knob plates (surrounding the door knob and bottom lock), and kick-plates by early September. We will need your doors to be opened for us during that work, and we will soon be sending you a schedule of work to begin the process of coordinating that with you. Locks and lock cylinders will not be replaced due to the cost and difficulty. Therefore nobody will need new keys. About 10 doors in our building have existing hardware on them that is in the way of the new rectangular door-knob plates, and will get a small rosette instead, similar to what most doors have now, but in silver to match the new hardware. These choices were made to save approximately $30,000 for the building in additional door/locksmith work and we are confident the finished result will be both cost effective and attractive
  • Hallway Carpet has arrived: The carpet we ordered for the hallways (back in January!) has arrived at our contractor's warehouse. however we want to wait until after the door hardware is done before we install the carpet. This is to avoid having the door-hardware work accidentally damage the new carpet. As of current plan, we are hoping to begin carpet installation in September, if possible
  • Security Cameras Installed on All Floors: Our camera system was upgraded to include a pair of cameras on each of our residential floors for added security and so that any damage done to our new walls/doors/floors will be traceable and can be billed to the appropriate unit instead of coming out of our co-op's repair budget. Additional cameras were added to the lobby level and garage, and a much-upgraded recording system was put in place.

New Exterminator Company: "Dial-a-bug" is our new exterminator service company, operating on the same twice-a-month schedule as our last company. We made the switch in an attempt to find a contractor that is as responsive to our building's needs as possible. In our first cycle, as some of you noticed, the timing we are used to was not successfully communicated to the new contractor and we are working with them to make sure we all know the correct time-frame for their bi-monthly visits. Sorry for the inconvenience to those of you who were affected by this miscommunication. It was not the new contractors' fault.

New Windows in the Garage: As we have more residents than ever using our garage space due to our very successful bike-parking program, we are happy to announce that Tony, our super, who is also a professional window glazier, has completed our garage-window replacement project, letting a great deal of additional light into the garage and cleaning up the overall look of the space. There are no more blocked/cracked windows and debris around them has been cleared. The board is looking into the possibility of turning off some of our fluorescent garage lights near the window wall during the day on a timer to save on our monthly electric bill, which could, over time, more than pay for the modest cost of this project. Stay tuned! 

Exterior Repair Project Moving Forward: Our largest building project to date - more than twice as big as our boiler replacement and hallway renovation combined - will be our exterior repair. Engineers have submitted plans, bids have been sought, a contractor has been selected, and we're in the process of securing permits and finalizing documents. In the meantime, the board has selected a contractor to remediate the asbestos found in a few locations on our roof, which must be taken care of before the main project can begin. The board has also selected a separate contractor to monitor the air during the asbestos work, as required by law. This is the same procedure we followed just prior to our boiler replacement. The board has done its best to find the most affordable and quality contractors and materials for this project. The cost is still significant and will be discussed at future shareholder meetings. Construction work is expected to begin this fall barring any unforeseen delays, beginning with the street-side of our building, which will coincide with the installation of a sidewalk-bridge above our sidewalk frontage.

Sprinkler System Installed: As our garden committee continues to green our many gardens, we have installed an in-ground automatic sprinkler system on our street side, to protect our vegetative investments. This replaces the hose-with-holes-in-it method previously used by our staff to water our street-front garden spaces, and is thus a significant improvement for our building. A similar system is being discussed for the back-yard and side-garden spaces in the future.

Garden Improvements Continue: Our back garden is flourishing with activity as the garden committee presses ever-forward with their many plans for our shared out-door space. The inner-course of benches were removed allowing for more active play areas while still maintaining ample sitting areas. More benches may be removed/reconfigured in the future, based on a forthcoming master-plan for the re-design of the garden that will balance the many uses of the garden space. In the meantime, many new plantings fill the existing soil areas and a new tool-shed and donated hammock are now in place. Limited composting is being done on a trial basis, and visual improvements are planned for the garbage-bag/recycling-bag holding area on the side of the building. Our first vegetables are growing on the side of the building as well, a mini-version of the planned community garden on the garage roof.

6 Vent Fans Are Being Replaced: Recently, the motors in 6 of our many bathroom vents on the roof malfunctioned. If you noticed your bathrooms getting much steamier during hot showers lately, this is the cause. Replacement of all of the broken motors is underway. Vents are on from roughly 6am to Midnight daily when functional.

Sewer Repair Complete: This was not a building project, but it sure did impact our lives for the past few months, and we're all happy it's over. Here are a few details for those who are curious: They originally came by due to back-ups in the sewer line on the corner of Foster and E 18th Street that luckily did not affect our building. They opened the intersection to find that the original sewer line, made of a half-arch of brick from the turn of the century, was still in use. The original line on our block had long ago been replaced with a pipe, but the intersection was left alone at that time due to the cost and difficulty of working around the latticework of competing underground utilities on our corner. This time the back-up was at the intersection and although they had large machines, they had to hand-dig 14 linear feet of ground to clear out the space around the sewer. They also had to remove and replace a very old gas line that was in the way of the sewer replacement. These two factors added a great deal of time to their work.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors only. They do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of the 616 East 18 St. Owners Corporation, any of its staff members or residents, or Maxx Management.

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