REFER TO YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS REGARDING OBLIGATIONS OF THE CONDOMINIUM FOR SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS, COMMON ELEMENTS, AND MAINTENANCE OBLIGATIONS.
We spoke in the previous blog post how Hurricane Andrew changed the face of the construction industry in Florida. Today we’re going to talk about the changes that occur in the window industry and how Boards of Directors need to stay current.
One aspect, albeit an important one, of condominium window replacement is architectural standards that are applied to window selection. Although some condominiums require owners to replace windows at their own expense, the Board of Directors has color and design authority, meaning a window must conform to certain sizes and colors.
In the 1990’s, a popular window style used was a bronzed aluminum sash with insulated glass. A number of condominiums used this style as a replacement since they were readily available and came in standardized sizes or custom sizes. But as we’re seeing 20+ years later, these windows are no longer available in the “square box” style used in the 90’s. The bulky sashes have been trimmed down with different architectural styles added. As a result, new bronze windows are no longer exact matches from the 90’s. Functionally, after 15 years or so, these windows would typically lose their interior seals (double pane insulated glass is two pieces of glass sandwiched together with a gas in between the panes, sealed around the edges). The result was windows that began to fog over and become opaque. Another issue for ocean front condominiums was the constant salt air and moisture exposure caused these windows to deteriorate.
The point is that members of the Board should address window standards for their condominium every five years or so. Technology has changed dramatically over the last several years making windows made just 10 years ago obsolete. Improvements in thermal management, materials and impact resistance means Board members should stay (somewhat) current on the latest window improvements. While not everyone will replace their windows simultaneously, a generalized standard should be adopted in terms of sash/frame size and color. In short, select a high quality window with a reasonable warranty (10-15 years), that is state of the art and tested within the last 12 months, and most importantly, move forward with your window project in a timely manner before the technology you’ve chosen becomes obsolete. There are a number of instances where a proposed window project can languish for five years or more before a condominium Board of Directors decides to move forward, money being an important consideration. However, the longer you wait, the farther away from the latest technology you get.