This is a touchy subject for most condo owners and board members. So let’s say this up front in bold letters, REFER TO YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS REGARDING OBLIGATIONS OF THE CONDOMINIUM FOR SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS, COMMON ELEMENTS, AND MAINTENANCE OBLIGATIONS. Now on to the show.
Discussing window replacement for condominiums will require two or three separate posts. For this post we will discuss the generalities of window replacement and move on from there.
As buildings age and technology improves, replacing windows throughout a condominium becomes a necessity,not only in regard to energy efficiency but also in regards to water and air leaks and hurricane protection. Windows in condominiums built in the 1960’s and 1970’s were generally aluminum framed, single pane construction. These were terribly inefficient designs that created air leaks, condensation on the panes and eventually water leaks from wind driven rain. Leaky windows along the ocean may cause water damage, mold and mildew problems. In south Florida, the question of window replacement became a moot point after hurricane Andrew swept the area causing significant damage. Almost all windows facing the ocean were damaged beyond repair necessitating replacement with up-to-date windows, in 1992. The other side effect was a revamping of the entire building code for Miami Dade County. The rewriting of the building codes for Miami Dade County led to nearly every coastal county in the state rewriting their existing building codes. These new building codes caused a ripple effect through contractor, subcontractor and supply circles, including window suppliers.
Prior to 1992, it was discovered that windows were attached with only two or three screws around the edges. After Andrew, it was found that this poor installation process caused windows to become detached from buildings. One of the first upgrades for window standards was the number of attachment points for windows and sliders. Before 1992, few people thought that window replacement in condominiums was a reasonable undertaking. When hurricane Andrew removed their windows for them, the topic of windows became a central theme for condominiums. But choosing a window that would last for 20-25 years proved to be problematic and paying for them through special assessments proved to be costly.
In Florida, since 1992, two things have occurred: a building boom of high rise condominiums and a rash of hurricanes that have touched nearly every part of coastal Florida. Incorporating window replacement into these seminal events has created a whirlwind of controversy ranging from the local, condo board level all the way to the state level. In our next installment, we’ll talk more about how we’ve gotten to this point and how condominium boards are adjusting with the times.