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Flurry of Defects Follows Building Boom

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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The condo boom in New York City’s burgeoning Brooklyn borough is apparently bringing a boomlet in construction defects with it.

Attorneys, architects and engineers report fielding a rising number of calls from condo owners complaining of structural defects in newly constructed homes, according to a New York Times article published Friday (March 6).

New York City
© iStock.com / dell640

Attorneys, architects and engineers report a rising number of calls from condo owners complaining of structural defects in newly constructed homes in New York City.

The grievances range from problems with elevators to water infiltration and inadequate insulation.

‘Here We Go Again’

“My phone is ringing already on projects that were just completed,” Steven D. Sladkus, a Manhattan real-estate lawyer, told the news outlet. His firm has dozens of active construction defect cases.

“Uh-oh, here we go again.”

Many fear that developers racing to complete projects are repeating the mistakes seen during the last housing boom—performing substandard work, opting for cheaper materials, taking shortcuts and hiring unqualified subcontractors, the article states.

While many developers are new to the game, others whose buildings have had problems in the past are taking another stab at construction, the Times reports.

“It’s like the developers did not learn their lessons,” real-estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey told the newspaper.

Facade Problems

The article highlights several new condo developments that have experienced problems.

For example, the city has ordered a partial vacate order for 500 Fourth Avenue, a 156-unit condo in Brooklyn that opened in 2010, according to the Times.

In 2013, concrete fell off the 12-story building’s balconies and facade onto the street below, the article reports.

site planning
© iStock.com / SharpPhotoPro

Many fear that developers racing to complete projects are repeating the same mistakes seen during the last housing boom—performing substandard work, opting for less expensive materials, taking shortcuts and hiring unqualified subcontractors, the article states.

The city’s Department of Buildings also ordered scaffolding and a sidewalk shed to protect pedestrians on the sidewalk.

The repairs will reportedly cost the condo board $1 million to fix.

One of the developers behind that project, Itzhak Katan, is being sued at two other condo properties he helped to develop, according to the newspaper.

Water Woes

Residents in another housing development, 550 Grand Street, which opened in August 2009, told the Times they began to see water infiltration problems in 2011.

The condo board says the storm drainage system was never connected to the sewer system. The roof also leaked, pipes burst and critical fire-stopping measures were missing, according to the report, citing case documents.

Still, the demand for housing continues. Despite the alleged problems and ongoing litigation at some of these condo projects, buyers are often not dissuaded from purchasing units in them, the newspaper reports.

   

Tagged categories: Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Construction; Developers; Residential contractors

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