We would like to take this time to provide an update of conditions with explanations of where and how we determine scheduling settlement work.
As many owners know Parkfairfax has a great deal of marine clay which expands and contracts depending on the time of year. Buildings indeed do move and cracking will occur more when conditions are dry and in some cases close or almost disappear when conditions are very wet. In order to gauge conditions on each building the engineers do a complete exterior analysis which includes pictures, comments, drawing and recommendations. Management then reviews the report with the engineers making note of areas that need immediate work. All major work must be approved by the Board of Directors. The buildings are listed by priority – high, medium, low and minimal or no distress.
We just received the latest full survey report (posted on the website, under the Resources tab, Buildings and Utilities link, then click on 2017 Survey of 285 Buildings) from Structural Rehabilitation Group, LLC (SRG) which updated the last report from 2010. The survey was begun in November of 2016 and was completed in February of 2017. Based on this survey we currently have 31 high priority (several buildings in this group have already had substantial work done but are monitored for up to three years after to make sure any new issues have not arisen). At present only one building (718) is slated to have under-pinning, foundation stabilization, water proofing and de-watering done and that work will begin by the end of this month and take about five months to complete. This is the largest project undertaken to date. The remaining high priority buildings are monitored in cycles. Some have crack gauges installed and are checked every three months which also includes a surveyor “shooting” elevation points for accurate evidence of movement. Some buildings are monitored every six months and the remaining are monitored on an annual basis. These buildings in the future may need further foundation stabilization. However any exterior brick/mortar cracking will be repaired beginning this month and continuing into the summer.
Secondly there are 58 medium priority buildings. These are buildings that show cracks of less than 1/8 of an inch and that have had minor work done in the past. This count is down by three since 2010, which is good news. Here, too, we will remedy brick/mortar cracking. Repairs will begin in the summer. These buildings more than likely will not require any further foundation work.
Next are low priority of which there are now 66, down from 78 in 2010, also good news. Here cracking is measured at 1/16 inch or less. Based on need, many of these will not be addressed at this time unless the cracking is related to a door or window opening.
Last are minimal or no distress buildings of which there are 138 – which is down from 150 back in 2010. These buildings have no observable cracks and/or evidence of masonry repairs and only show in some case minor hairline cracking.
Questions regarding stoop replacements have been asked and we follow a set of procedures in determining replacement and/or repairs. The stoops and steps are independent of the building foundation and in some cases have shown movement even when the buildings are stable. There are many factors at work and one is water intrusion.
First is both condition and pitch. If a stoop is clearly showing damaged brick, spalling treads or visible concrete damages and the pitch (slope from the building) is greater than 4 percent they are placed on the high priority list for replacement. The Association budgets for 15 full replacements annually, and the Association only replaces railing on both sides when a new stoop is installed per current building codes. Owners can at their own cost install railings with approval of a routine application through the main office.
Second is medium priority where we can perform the needed repairs with either our in-house staff or our contracted concrete/brick work company, Almo Construction. This can include capping and filling any damaged steps or risers, replacing or re-pointing brick and mortar, and sealing the joint from the stoop to the building. We have already in the past two years begun to add the Rhino Gutter Guards, which in effect eliminate the old “leave catchers” which are attached to downspouts. This is a huge failure point as water in heavy rain just splashes over and saturates both the brick and the ground – which can eventually cause erosion in some cases. You will note many locations where the down spouts are now hard piped into the drains.
Lastly, when the annual painting cycle is performed, our staff when painting front doors will note any stoop issues, many of which are very minor. Residents may note small re-pointed areas in the brick and we do regularly re-visit many stoops and repaint prior to their normal scheduled cycle.