Clarification from EXP on their earlier Additional Investigations Report

On Wednesday, 26 October, Strataco delivered a package containing the following to the door:

First, I hate to be a grammar nazi, but the new report clarifies a somewhat confusing 7-page report by cramming more grammatical errors than were in that report into a 3-page report. I know that EXP are engineers and not English majors, but for a few hundred thousand dollars you’d think they could have someone edit their reports. But I digress.

By my reading this doesn’t change much. There were questions after the first report about exactly where, on the north end of the east wall, moisture was found. The “clarification” doesn’t get that specific except to say that the testing was conducted at the “window sill locations at the EIFS trims.” In short, testing showed some “water ingress” but “no deterioration of the wood components at the exploratory openings … [and] no visible deterioration of the sheathing … at the exploratory opening location.” Further, EXP says that “it is our opinion that there is likely no current systemic deterioration of the exterior wall assembly.”

Further testing will be conducted, and testing will be ongoing (“… this portion of the exterior wall assembly [should be] periodically monitored and adequately maintained”) if we choose to stick with what was voted on at the 29 September SGM — i.e., not to do any work on the north end of the east wall at this time. If Owners would like to revisit their decision, apparently the option to include the north end of the east wall in the current project (at extra expense, of course) is available until 31 January 2012 — although, as yet, there is no SGM scheduled at which we might vote on this.

On a slightly different but related topic, I note the following quote from the clarification report:

However, for the benefit of the building and the Owners, exp issued a letter report dated: September 29th, 2011, to ensure the Strata makes an informed decision. Regretfully the report was issued on the day of the SGM, which we acknowledge might not have provided adequate opportunity for all the Owners to review.

While EXP claims that “it was not exp’s intention to provide a report for the additional investigations conducted”, I don’t recall them saying that and I can’t imagine any Owners would not have expected a written report to complement the written reports we’d already received from Dubas Engineering and RDH. Be that as it may, the submitting of a report on the day of the SGM at which we were to vote on this crucial project is the direct result of poor management and abysmal communication on the part of Strataco and the Strata Council.

Several times between the SGM on 17 February (at which we voted to proceed with the supposedly 4-month pre-construction phase) and mid-September (7 months later) I appealed to Strataco and members of Council for information about what was happening. Each time I was either ignored or told that “there is nothing to report”. Written updates during that period amounted to one memo dedicated to what was happening, and a few very vague sentences in the minutes of Council meetings. Then, around the middle of September, there was a flurry of activity and reams of paper delivered to us, all with the bare minimum of notice legally required for an SGM. (Actually, going by postmarks, the earliest legal date [under sections 45 (1) and 61 (3) of the Strata Property Act and section 25 (4) of the Interpretation Act] for the SGM was 1 October, not 29 September.) On 29 September I also received, at the tail end of the flood of paper and in reply to several emails over the previous months, an incoherent letter from Strataco asking me “to exercise a certain amount of patience and understand[ing]”!

The bare minimum of notice and the holding of the information meeting only eight days before the SGM meant that it was impossible for any Owners to examine any documents and provide feedback on the agenda of the SGM. It also made it impossible for any Owners to point out the fact that things like the EXP report were missing. Had Strataco and Council meaningfully kept Owners in the loop throughout the pre-construction phase and during the period between the pre-construction phase and the September SGM, we’d have all benefited from the extra oversight that all of our observations would have provided. As it was, we were treated like mushrooms, and then the avalanche of paperwork in the middle of September was supposed to make up for it. I don’t think so. Certainly in my eyes it didn’t.