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RE: What is it about Condos

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Ahhhhhhhhh yes....condominiums.

My firm designs about 2500-3000 units a year all over the US and offshore.


The problem with condos is that you end up with so many owners (sometimes
hundreds of them in one building or development) once the developer hands
over control of the project to the homeowner's association.


You have to look at demographics of typical condo buyers:

Often, unit buyers are, to be honest "uptight yuppies" (and yes, many are
lawyers) that raise hell over the slightest Imperfection on ANYTHING.

How do I know this?

When I bought my first house, a mid-priced townhome in Chicago, I was stupid
enough to be elected association president and had to deal with 79 whiny
babies who complained about EVERYTHING. Don't get me wrong, some of this
(maybe 30%) was legit and there were problems to be sure...but most was so
trivial that it made me crazy...



Anyway, at every assoc meeting, there was a mob of unit owners that demanded
that
We "sue the pants off of everybody, developer, architect, contractor"

The firm I worked for at the time did not do the structural on that project,
but we ended up doing a lot of work with the architect and developer.


Each month, I had to convince them that suing was the last thing we should
do....our reserve was so small that any law firm would have depleted it in a
month.

We fixed the problems ourselves and kept assessments from rising.

However, most associations are not like mine....they are litigious!


There are, in fact consulting a/e firms that the vast majority of their
business is to
Go to condos and inspect the buildings and drawings for the associations to
give them grounds for a lawsuit against the developer and design
professionals.


David L. Fisher SE PE
Senior Director

Cape Cod Grand Cayman Holdings Ltd. - Cayman
Fisher+Partners Structural Engineers Ltd. - Cayman
372 West Ontario Chicago 60610
75 Fort Street Georgetown Grand Cayman BWI
319 A Street Boston 02210


312.573.1701
312.573.1726 facsimile
312.622.0409 mobile

www.ccgch.com
www.fpse.com






-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Johnson [mailto:markajohn(--nospam--at)yahoo.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:09 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: What is it about Condos

I was talking with another engineer that does
residential in the SF Bay area who is a principle of a
old mid-sized firm, i.e. not a fly-by-night place.  He
said that they also used to do condo projects but that
they had been sued on 100% of the condo projects they
had done, so they no longer do them.  If I heard him
right and if he is close to right, that's incredible
and it tops all similar statements I've heard about
them

What is it about condos that makes them so legally
crazy?

MJ

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