Are Aquarius concrete balconies being properly tested in 2016?

Logo blue girlAre Aquarius concrete balconies being properly tested in 2016?

In August 2014 the Aquarius balconies were surveyed by ACG. The results were dismal (click here to see your balcony). No work was done at that time.  In April and May 2016 Aquarius Condo. Association selected among 6 engineering firms of solid reputation and experience Hillman Engineering to evaluate the needs of the property to obtain it “40 Year Re Certification” mandate by Broward County. Hillman Engineering has been working in this project since June 2016.  Early October Hillman provided preliminary results of selected concrete core. This is a typical test to verify how sound is a building structure.

The results of the core test revealed that out of 6 samples (cores) 5 shown strength of less than 2000 psi. The minimum acceptable is of better than 4000 psi. These results were considered problematic by some owners. They submitted the results to another engineering firm Optimus.

The following documentation is here presented to better inform the owners. It consists of the following items:
1.    Letter from Tanya Homleid, from Optimus Engineering exposing some doubts about the tests.
2.    A response from Andrew di Cesare, Hillman Engineering making explicit that all recommendations were already in the plans.
3.    The BOD of Aquarius decided to invite Optimus to conduct the additional required tests as recommended by Hillman. email message of David Slavin. (Tests to be conducted in 20 balconies selected randomly).
4.    Optimus declines due to other engagements. email message of Tanya Homleid.
5.    BuildZoom grades and percentiles of Hillman and Optimus in their professional performance.

1 One

OPTIMUS STRUCTURAL DESIGN LLC   CONSULTING ENGINEERS
7850 NW 146 Street, Suite 305, Miami Lakes, FL 33016
T. 305.512.5860 F. 305.512.5861   http://www.optimussd.com
October 18, 2016
Attn: Aquarius Condominium Association
2751 South Ocean Dr.   Hollywood, FL 33019
Re: Aquarius Condominium – Existing balconies condition and proposed repairs
Dear Sir:
We have been contacted by the members of the Aquarius Condominium Association regarding the proposed balcony repairs / replacement at the Aquarius Building. The building was constructed approximately 40 years ago; it is our understanding that balconies and other areas of the building had previous repairs and renovations. It is also our understanding that the building was fairly maintained during these past years.
We were provided with a copy of concrete testing report, prepared by Florida Engineering and Testing Inc. and dated September 2 and September 26, 2016. The report refers to cores provided by the client on August 18, August 26, September 19, 2016. The report also states that 6 cores were taken at the balconies at Building #1 and Building #2, and 2 cores were taken northeast plaza deck. It is not clear how these cores were obtained, and who supervised the actual coring process and core handling. Typically cores are obtained by the actual testing lab, and carefully preserved prior to testing to provide accurate testing results.
Based on the provided report, the obtained cores provided “by the client” were trimmed by the Florida Engineering and Testing Lab to 2”x2”x2” cubes, and then were tested to determine existing concrete compressive strength and also level of chlorides. The reports refer to ASTM standards, however none of the referenced ASTM shows the year of ASTM used (such as ASTM C42-13, ASTM C1218-15, etc.). It should be also noted that ASTM C42-13 does not specify that cubes 2”x2”x2” can be used for concrete testing.
Thus, the obtained results of the concrete testing to determine compressive strength appear to be questionable, and may require additional testing to verify the noted values. We suggest that an independent testing laboratory is retained by the Association to conduct additional concrete testing at the balcony areas, plaza deck and any other areas in question.
It should be also noted that Moisture Conditioning of cores was not done as per ASTM C42. This means that the test results may be different if cores were prepared as per ASTM C42-13.
As far as chloride content in concrete noted in tested samples, the water Soluble Chloride % is less than 0.15 as per requirements of ACI Code 318-14, for Concrete with exposure C2 –Concrete exposed to moisture and an external source of Chloride, which is acceptable.
It is not clear how it was determined that the existing balconies require structural repairs and removal in some areas (corner balconies). Typically this type of recommendation is provided by a licensed structural engineer, in a form of a comprehensive report and based on the detailed building inspection, concrete testing analysis, structural analysis of the existing structure for the required applied loads based on the existing concrete properties, condition and degree of deterioration of the existing reinforcement, etc. Structural engineer must issue a structural condition report and statement that based on his / her evaluation and analysis of the existing structure, certain areas require concrete repairs or removal / replacement. Structural engineer must also prepare a set of structural repair drawings which consist of general notes, specifications, plans and repair details for each and every condition, as well as a bid form with estimated quantities to be used by the contractor. It is typical for Condominium Association to obtain a minimum of 3 bids from the contractors, who are qualified and who specialize in concrete repair projects. Upon review of the obtained bids, the contractors are interviewed and selection is made by Association. The selected contractor then submits the repair drawings with specifications prepared by the structural engineer to the Building Department, obtains permit for construction and commences work once permit is issued.
Based on the above, we suggest that the following steps are taken by the Association, in regards to the existing balconies and concrete repairs which may be required at the Aquarius building:
1. Independent concrete testing lab is contacted to perform additional concrete testing.
2. Structural engineer is retained to conduct comprehensive inspection of the existing balconies, prepare signed and sealed structural condition report outlining his / her findings and recommendations. Report to contain pictures, concrete test results, existing reinforcement condition evaluation, structural analysis, code references, etc.
3. If it is determined that any areas require structural repairs or replacement based on the engineer’s structural condition report and proper evaluation, structural engineer must then prepare structural repair drawings, specifications and bid form for the project.
4. Repair drawings and bid form to be distributed to the qualified contractors (minimum 3) to obtain competitive bids for the project. Selection of the contractor is made based on the review of the submitted bids, interviews, references, qualifications and other requirements set by the engineer and association.
The above mentioned comments and suggestions were generated during our review of the provided documents. Our review was of cursory nature and did not include in-depth analysis and structural calculations for the existing balcony slabs. It should also be understood that the conducted review was based only on the information provided to our office as described above. The observations, opinions, comments, and recommendations contained in this letter are based on the standard structural engineering practice approach and are not based upon conjecture or inference.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding this review, we will be happy to assist you.
Best Regards,
Tanya Homleid, P.E.
REG. NO. STATE: FL 61706 / S.I. NO: # 7021292    Optimus Structural Design LLC

 

2  Two

Andrew Dicesare
Oct 19, 2016

to Bhagwan, me, Victor, Linda, William, David, Kevin

I do not find any conflicts with what we have proposed or reported and this document.  We reported preliminary findings of the 6 cores we have taken and suggested/ required we do additional cores to substantiate the initial findings and to include the same in our structural evaluation report.  The remaining items we are already under contract to perform.
Based on the above, we suggest that the following steps are taken by the Association, in regards to the existing balconies and concrete repairs which may be required at the Aquarius building:
1. Independent concrete testing lab is contacted to perform additional concrete testing.

2. Structural engineer is retained to conduct comprehensive inspection of the existing balconies, prepare signed and sealed structural condition report outlining his / her findings and recommendations. Report to contain pictures, concrete test results, existing reinforcement condition evaluation, structural analysis, code references, etc.

3. If it is determined that any areas require structural repairs or replacement based on the engineer’s structural condition report and proper evaluation, structural engineer must then prepare structural repair drawings, specifications and bid form for the project.

4. Repair drawings and bid form to be distributed to the qualified contractors (minimum 3) to  obtain competitive bids for the project. Selection of the contractor is made based on the review of the submitted bids, interviews, references, qualifications and other requirements set by the engineer and association.
Best regards,     Andrew DiCesare     970 W. McNab Rd    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309               954-975-9008 O   954-934-6699 M   http://www.hillmanengineering.com

 

3 Three

 

David Slavin <dslavin@apmanagement.net>
5:24 PM October 24, 2016

to ortjudith, bgupta1, me, Linda, vicrocha, William, Valeska

Dear Members of the Board,
From the Email below we will not be able to engage Optima within our schedule.
To dispel any potential controversy, we have already discussed with Hillman the need to maintain an independent chain of custody on the cores. They will be submitting proposal on that basis. The scope will include the drilling, extraction of core, patching, and then taking the samples to be tested. The Association will be invoiced directly. Hillman will only be monitoring the process and sending us an invoice at their hourly rate.
I will be forwarding the proposals on receipt. At this time Kevin cannot evaluate the cost.
David Slavin, LCAM  Property Manager    Aquarius Condominium Association, Inc.
2751 South Ocean Drive    Hollywood, FL 33019
Office: 954-921-7924  Mobile: 561.414.7343    Fax: 954-921-9768
dslavin@apmanagement.net

4 Four

From: Tanya Homleid [mailto:tanya@optimussd.com]
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2016 4:42 PM
To: David Slavin; William Coleman
Cc: ‘Andrew Dicesare’
Subject: RE: Aquarius Condominium Association – Proposal Request

Hello David
Unfortunately it looks like our prior commitments will not allow us to taken on this project, we have our staff assigned to other projects and we are running out of time before the end of the year. However, I  will be happy to review and provide our input regarding any reports, recommendations, etc. related to structural repairs prepared by your structural engineer.
Thank you,
Tanya Homleid P.E.   Optimus Structural Design, LLC   7850 NW 146th Street, Suite 305
Miami Lakes, Florida  33016  Tel: (305) 512-5860 Ext. 203     Fax: (305) 512-5861
Email: tanya@optimussd.com
http://www.optimussd.com

 

5 Five

BuildZoom Scores

Hillman Construction Corp has a BuildZoom score of 92, which places them above 68% of 191,428 contractors in Florida.
How is the BuildZoom score calculated?
Pro tip: We generally recommend hiring a contractor with a score higher than 95.

Tanya Homleid, Optimus has a BuildZoom score of 87, which places them above 21% of 191,428 contractors in Florida.
How is the BuildZoom score calculated?
Pro tip: We generally recommend hiring a contractor with a score higher than 95.

 

.o0o.

 

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About Cecilio Augusto Berndsen

Information Technology, Management, Project Management and Public Administration are areas I am familiar with. I am also interested in photography, wine, sailing, politics, economics, and economic development.
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