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As Gables Insider has reported previously, the David William has long suffered from issues with flooding in its garage, calling into question its structural integrity.
This week, a new concern arose. RH Engineering submitted an engineering report to the Home Owner’s Association Board and management with numerous issues surrounding the building’s rooftop pool and the potential damage this may have caused.
The City finally took action on this on February 3rd, posting a notice on the building, giving the David William until February 9th to submit a letter from a structural engineer confirming the building is safe for occupancy. Click here to see page 1 of notice. Click here to see page 2 of notice.
The Inspector’s Report
The report repair recommendations reads as follows:
- “Concrete repair to surrounding structural members associated with the terrace area joists, slab, and columns is required.
- Concrete repair to the pool structure is clearly required.
- But there are concerning results from this in-depth analysis of the pool existing conditions which are:
a. Existing concrete strength is deficient.
b. Chloride ion content in the concrete is high.
c. No waterproofing admixture in the concrete.
d. Membrane liner has failed as evidenced by the large number of water leaks below the pool surface structure.
e. Existing concrete damage to pool is estimated to exceed 50% of the pool structure with approximately 65% of the pool requiring repair.
f. The depth of the pool and associated weight is large. Increasing the weight concern for the building structure is an inconsistent concrete mix used for the pool that varied from the original specifications.
g. Pool concrete is now approximately 57 years old and with the constant exposure to chlorinated pool water and lack of waterproofing it may have reached its life expectancy.
- We recommend that the structure associated with (only) the pool – beams/walls and slab be completely 100% removed and replaced with a newly designed waterproofed structure. This would also allow for the possible reconfiguration of the pool size/depth allowing for reduced weight on the structure.”
The report adds that, “based on the size of the pool there is approximately 38,470 gallons of water in the
pool which equates to a weight of 320,840 lbs.” The David William did not immediately empty the pool, rather waited until after the Martin Luther King, Jr. long weekend (January 15 to 17) to do so.
Even more concerning, reports to Gables Insider are that RH Engineering informed management that the pool needed to be drained immediately on July 29, 2021. The board sent out letter that pool would be drained on August 2, 2021.
On February 3rd, the David William began doing work on the pool. However, according to the City, “The David William has not applied for permits.” The scope of the work is unknown. Emails to management at the David William were not returned.
The report does not outline any structural study beyond the pool deck regarding the potential integrity of the surrounding building structure.
According to some longtime residents of the David William, they are aware of complaints from residents residing below the pool, in 2020, regarding water intrusion into their units. They explain that a City building inspector had been onsite before and made aware of the issue. However, according to the City’s Development Services Director Suramy Cabrera, in an email to Gables Insider on February 3rd, “the City’s Chief Building Inspector went to the site today at the direction of the Building Official. I am unaware of any of any prior site visits.”
The pool had work done in 2010 according to City permits. However, according to the inspector’s report, no updates were made to the pool or its concrete, which it describes as being 57-years-old.
Residents also reported receiving calls from the inspector disavowing any knowledge of prior visits to the building.
Neither the HOA nor management of the building informed the City of the findings in the report. The City states that “we received the report from a resident on Sunday, Jan. 30.”
Not The Only Current Issue
This is not the only issue currently affecting the David William. Gables Insider has been informed by several residents in the building, that the David William recently installed drip pans in the parking garage due to water intrusion from planters located on the main floor of the property above the garage.
Residents have also reported seeing spalling and cracks on the garage ceiling.
Similarity To Champlain Towers South
As you will recall, preliminary reports about the Champlain Tower South building collapse in Surfside last June, have shown that water intrusion from planters, over the years, probably led to the catastrophic failure of the pool deck above the building’s underground garage. Champlain Towers South was built 17 years after the completion of the nearly 60-year-old David William, 1981 and 1964 respectively.
The City informed Gables Insider it had no knowledge of the issues with the planters and that they did not need a permit to place the drip pans.
New legislation is being discussed in Tallahassee to require that reports such as these be submitted to building departments at municipalities and/or counties in a timely manner to ensure the safety of residents.
With the continued construction in the area, some residents of the David William have voiced concern to Gables Insider regarding the structural integrity of the building if construction continues near the building. At Champlain Towers South, although the final report is still months away, it has been reported that investigators have been looking at whether the structural issues the building had due to the water intrusion were escalated by the vibrations caused with high-rise construction in the neighboring property.
The David William is scheduled to comply with its 50-year inspection in 2023.
UPDATE: Letter from Board to Building Residents
Following Gables Insider’s article, the Board of the David William sent a letter to all residents with the following text:
Yesterday evening, the City of Coral Gables posted the attached Notice of Emergency Action.
As such, we are sending out this communiqué via e mail and we are hand delivering a copy to each resident. Copies were also posted on the bulletin boards.
Our structural engineer will submit the requested letter to the Building Official on Monday, Feb. 7, confirming that the building is safe for continued occupancy.
We also wanted to clarify that the structural engineer has been tasked with providing a plan for the required pool repairs since before the letter of the City was published. Naturally, this is a process that takes time.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that the pool area remains cordoned off with the pool drained as it has been since August 2, 2021, following our engineer’s advice.
It is important to note that the health and welfare of all occupants has been and will always remain the top priority here at the David William.
We will provide all residents with a copy of the structural engineer’s letter to the City next week that will further clarify the situation.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Alejandro Garcia, President”