Into the home stretch

August 2, 2012

While things remain fast and furious, we are heading into the home stretch and  I thought another progress report was about due.

I reported on most of these items at the Board Meeting last Thursday night but for those who could not be there you will likely get many of your questions answered by reading on.  If you were there, read on anyway as there are several updates on progress since Thursday.

I met with Martin/Martin Engineers and AGS Construction early last week to discuss the few warranty items still  left on their punch list.  Of the more than 100 leaks we had in our structures before construction there are about 5 or 6 that remain.  Most of those are relatively simple to correct but a couple of them are being quite stubborn.  That  said, they will be whipped!  Both the engineer and contractor will be back on site in  the near future to resolve ALL of the leaks.

The contractor is swamped with his current new jobs but that does not mean our job is not important or that it won’t get done.  It only means that they have to fit it into their schedule and that takes time.

While they are here there are other items that they will address including the stucco which has a few more repairs both to the original work as well as to the work already completed that has since been damaged.  They will also repair/re-paint  the top caps on 2946 which have shrunk since installation causing them to have gaps at the miter cuts and peeling paint in those same locations.  In addition, they have a few paint touch-ups to address and a few places where the concrete deck coating has delaminated and will need repair.   The 3X12 plank decking installed on 2946 elevated decks has dried and shrunk during this hot and dry summer.  This has caused some of the screws to pop.  They will re-drill and place new screws, replace some planks that are too bad to repair and belt sand other planks to eliminate trip and fall hazards.  All of these items are small jobs but added together will mean enough work to have them out for a few days to complete it all at once.  I’ll keep you posted on scheduling but expect it to be soon.

  

All gutters have now been cleaned, adjusted and tested. I have investigated what it would cost to have electrical snow melt coils installed in the gutters on the front of 2938 and 2946 to prevent ice buildup. 2946 has the necessary wiring, 2938 does not. I am still waiting for a final estimate from the electrician for this project before making recommendations.  One other point, we are still  finding a few minor places where the gutters have negative slope and do not drain properly.  If we ever get any appreciable rain again and you notice such a point, please let me know so I can have them back out to fix it.

The screens doors coming down and going into storage is the only expense left in the category of bird mitigation.   I am guardedly optimistic that we have solved the issue for this year and can discuss next year whether we want to take our chances and leave them down.  I’ve only found 2 swallows that have built partial nests  this year and was able to destroy both before they had time to lay eggs.  I have also scared a few birds out of the south tower to 2938 and a couple of townhome garages.  There is money left in the budget  to remove and store the screens again this year.  We’ll deal with next year when it comes.  One more point, a couple of the screens under the decks at 2946 have blown down and like so many small tasks is taking a few days to get the contractor out to put them back in place.  Soon though, I  promise!


Let’s talk about Landscaping.  We will not have the money to complete extensive landscaping.  My goal is to achieve a remake of our entry including a new or renovated sign, a clean-up and freshen up of most common areas, a re-do of the island at the south of 2962 and north-west corner of 2954, a completely renovated irrigation system, strategically placed rock around the buildings and the  fencing to protect  them  from irrigation stains/damage, and walk paths of gravel in strategic areas necessary for safe passage including the rear of 2938 and to the east of 2946 leading to the new gate. Also left from the original landscape job which was part of the construction at 2946,  a dozen or so plants are to be planted.  Keep in mind when you look at the images of the entry and in  the front of 2946 that they are ideas only and that they are when the plants are more mature as they will be in maybe 3-5  years  or so.

The most significant project will be the grading/drainage issues at the rear of 2962 and the north side of the tennis court and pool house.  This project requires the services of a civil engineer.   The Board voted at the meeting to retain the services of JVA Engineering over Martin-Martin as they are a local firm and gave us a much better quote to do the work.  They will start their work with a survey of the areas in question.  That survey will take place this Friday.  Once they have the survey complete, they will draw plans for proper grading and drainage and it will then be ready for bid.  Once the contractor has been hired and the work begins, JVA will regularly inspect the work to  assure accurate and effective end results.  I still remain optimistic that we can complete this work before the snow flies.

Also significant is the need for a major prune to our trees.  It has been years and we are past due.  I’ve got two quotes in hand and expect three more by the end of the week.   I am only specifying for removal of  trees that absolutely have to come out.  I’m working from the tree study that we had done previously and it has proved invaluable for this job.

All of the landscaping is going to be expensive and the  Board will  have to discuss the overall strategy going forward.  This has been a far more complex process than I had anticipated but I still feel good about the schedule and also think that we can determine how to achieve maximum results and still live within the budget.  The reserve study also has allocated $ in each of the next several years for items that we may have to defer.

As you know we have a lot of concrete work to do.  We had a number of comprehensive quotes before the project began last summer.   The strategy here will be to take all the quotes we got last

year and to update them and then to prioritize the work until we run up against a budget wall.  We can then decide if any contingency $ should be spent on concrete.

 

In addition to an overall clean up of the common areas once all construction is complete we will power wash and re-stripe parking spaces in garages at 2938 and 2946,  guest parking spaces on the island and miscellaneous curbs (e.g., fire lanes in front of 2938).  This work should be completed under budget and really freshen all of those areas.

The fence work is complete except for steel frames that are to be installed all the way around the two gates.  Those 6X6 posts on each side of the gates have shrunk, expanded, shrunk again and in one instance split down the middle from  top to bottom.  What this has done is to make the openings too wide at times and too narrow at other times meaning that the gates either will not close or will not open.   These steel frames will eliminate the expansion/contraction from infringing on the gates and should make them  open and close correctly all of the time.  The steel frames are constructed and are at the powder coater as we speak.  They will likely be installed by no later than the end of next week and hopefully sooner!

All of the plumbing backflows have just recently undergone their annual inspection.  All passed and were certified for another year with the City and State.

All plumbing work has been completed now except for the drains in the garage that need to be run under the concrete – I believe there are  3 of  them and hose bibs will be installed to the rear of 2938 and 2946 where we have always needed them and never had them.

A short punch list remains for the electrician and other than that the only major items for him will be the gutter coils electrical mentioned earlier if we move ahead with that and the installation of more outdoor lawn lights at the entry , center island and trash corrals.  That work will be coordinated with landscape and concrete work.

The interior ceilings and wood walls and doors in the garages at 2938 and 2946 will be painted.  This will be coordinated with the power wash and striping to be done in those garages so as to inconvenience those residents as few times as possible to accomplish the entire job.   We may also be painting  the top cap rails on 2938, a decision the Board will likely make at next month’s Board meeting.

The work  is slated  to convert the door closer spring motion sensors to digital light emitting sensors in the elevators.  No more closing doors on your grocery cart and on your own self for that matter.    This is part of our reserve study work for this year and the Board authorized the contract at last Thursday’s meeting.  It should be complete by the end of the month.

Has anyone noticed the new ironwork at the pool house on the windows at the north side.  It looks good and will serve to deter intruders all at the same time!

Also in the category of “have you noticed” are the new garage signs.  The entrance, exit and slow speed signs were just installed.  They look good and should be effective in keeping people from going the wrong way, from speeding and from parking in unauthorized parking spots in the garage.  Let’s hope so!

  

Final recommendations on locksmith work including new locks and re-keying will be forthcoming.  It will be about the last thing we do on the project as it almost always is with any construction project.

The steps to the mailboxes are being fabricated as we speak.  Once they are finished they go to the powder coater to be coated to exactly match the mailboxes. They should be installed within the next two weeks.  They should satisfy all  concerned including our residents, the City of Boulder and the USPS.  Pictured here is Jesus Ramos and his wife on one of the new steps in progress.   They are the steel fabricators who fabricated the rails at the south end of the pool and the new iron work on the pool house windows.  They do excellent work at reasonable prices.  I’d recommend them to anyone!

The bike racks are ordered and  are expected to arrive about August 18.  We’ll have them installed soon thereafter.  The Board decided  on two racks for 4 bikes at the space in the 2938 garage leading to the elevator and 4 racks for 8 bikes at the north end of the garage in the extra space there.  The Board also decided on the inverted U designed racks that are thought by most bike aficionados to be the best choice.

 

Wrapping up, look for the new step stool at the trash area.  The lids to the bins are high and heavy and sometimes a little step will really help.  Please use it carefully and always put it back in place when you’re done. 

One quick additional note, the new house numbers should arrive any day and we can get them installed as soon as they do.  These are the numbers that the Board selected after reviewing a wide variety of styles, colors and sizes at several meetings.  I hope everyone likes them.   I’m sure most of you will!

That about covers it for one more time.  As always, thanks for reading and I continue to appreciate your cooperation, your support and your patience.  We’re almost done, stay optimistic, I am!

Vincent

Project Update

July 17, 2012

As the summer moves along so does the project.  I’ve had a number of questions lately so it seemed about time for a new project update.

Some have wondered why this all takes so long?  It’s a good question.  Last year at this time we saw countless workers here all day long day after day, week after week.  Comparatively,  it seems like things are going in fits and starts this summer.  Last year we had huge contracts to be performed by a few contractors.  They were long-term projects with start dates, target finish dates and specific contracts and budgets.

That remains the case with pending projects like the landscaping and concrete work to be completed later this summer.  But with many of the smaller  punch list oriented jobs, each individual item has to wait until enough work has accumulated to justify getting that particular trade on site.  If we call them out for every single job, we get charged a trip charge for every single job as well as the time it takes for them to gather materials, etc.  All of that time means money.  We can, have and continue to save a considerable amount of money by carefully planning and accumulating full days of work for the individual trades.

Some examples of this waiting include projects like the single piece of siding on the back of the pool  house that has been missing since we removed the old fence.  No  one was more ready than I was to get that replaced, but, it had to wait until there was enough work for a finish carpenter to come out and make a day of it.  That day has finally come. The repair to the siding,  the finish of the entry area to 2938 and a couple of other misc. carpenter tasks were completed yesterday.  We’ll prime today and hopefully paint by the end of the week. 

By the way, someone asked why we removed the fence in the back of the pool house anyway.  It saved us about $3,000 on fencing and helped with drainage issues behind the pool house.  Once we get the siding repair painted and the windows covered, it will look very nice and we’ll have saved around $1800 to $2000 net.  Again, it’s all about getting the highest quality job for the money spent!

Speaking of the painter, some have asked when we will stain the fence.  We have to move the irrigation that is next to the fence that is spraying the fence. That has to be remedied before we stain the fence.  But, prior to having  the irrigation moved, we need to complete the landscape plan.   Much of that design work is complete, however, due to drainage and grading issues at the front of the property, a civil engineer has to do a survey and complete engineering designs and drawings.  A civil engineering firm has been out and recently presented their proposal.  Once everything is in motion, you’ll start to visibly see what has been going on for a while now.  Without proper planning no project ever goes well.  Once the plan is in place and the work begins, it will go amazingly smooth and fast.

There are a number of other misc. painting sites all around and they will be forthcoming soon too.  That may include the top caps on 2938.  The Board will have to decide on those at their next meeting which is next Thursday night, July 26.

The really good news is that we are still on schedule for a fall completion of the project and we are still under budget, project to date.  I realize it is hard to remain patient this close to the end. It always is. Hang in there!  It will pay off in the  long run.  We are almost there.

Several points worth mentioning…The lawns are coming back after the severe stress of that outrageous heat wave and the irrigation malfunctions.  The grass in front of 2946 experienced a draught related fungus. With the easing of  the temperatures, rain and lots of irrigation, they are almost back to full health.  A further note on the irrigation,  our new controllers are installed and almost fully operational.  They are computer controlled so that they can be set and adjusted fully remote as conditions dictate.  They also have electronic connections to rain gauges on the property and automatically adjust themselves when there is rainfall in amounts sufficient to support the lawns.

Another question asked has been when to expect the signs to the garage entry and exit at 2938 to be re-installed.  The no parking signs are on order and the entry/exit signs from before the project will go up  as soon as the new signs are in.  I should be notified of the expected delivery date of those signs today.  Those are just a few of the several signs that will be made and installed in various areas of the property over the next couple of months. If you know of the need for a sign, let me know.

One place you may have seen progress is with the new handrails on the stairs at the west end gate to the pool/tennis court.  I  think they look very sharp.  It took forever to find a craftsman who could and would do the job at an acceptable price.  Now that that contractor has been found and has done such good work, I’m working with him on solutions for the steps at the mailboxes and coverings on the windows at the pool house. When you can’t see the progress being made behind the scenes it makes it difficult to feel that things are getting done.  I understand that.  Please realize that the nature of the work this summer  is that it seems like you go forever with nothing getting done and then one day all of a sudden, results!

Someone recently asked if we were still going to have lights at the trash corral and the answer is yes.  They will be some of the last items installed.

Completion of the punch list continues.  Although items are continually added,  net-net, the list is getting shorter.  If you have seen something new that you’ve never mentioned before you can email me and I’ll take a look at it.  If I don’t get back to you, it does not mean I’m ignoring you, it probably just means that the item you mentioned is underway and will be completed on schedule.

One item on that punch list that has recently received a lot of attention is the gutters.  Since the heavy rains a couple of weeks ago the repairs noted in areas that were deficient have been repaired.  The next rain, it looks like it could be any time, please continue to look at the gutters and report any additional or new problems.  As for now, all areas that have been reported have been repaired.

Oh yeah, the last blog stated that the combination on all of the gates would soon be changed.  However, due to several circumstances that have been beyond anyone’s control  there will be a delay in that change.  There is still some final adjusting to do on one of the gates.  One of the 6×6 posts split half way down the middle and was replaced yesterday, several  of the 6×6 posts are shrinking and swelling which makes them intermittently too wide or too narrow.  A steel frame is being built and installed to solve that issue. All those repairs,  coupled with the fact that we have a few units on the market right now and realtors want access to those gates makes me reluctant to change the codes just yet.  It does cost money to change the codes and doing it only once is preferable.  So for now, they stay the same.  You’ll be given plenty of notice before they do change. 

A couple of additional important notes, first, please use the compost bin in the trash area.  That is especially true for you who live in the condo buildings.  As you know, especially in 2938, we have long-standing issues with the drains from the kitchens clogging and flooding the units below.  We are going  to undertake a regular schedule for cleaning those drains, however, if everyone would compost most of the materials that they have customarily put down their disposal it would be a very GREEN solution. It  would save the “green” it costs to clean the drains as well as be “green” for  the environment by eliminating most of that waste that goes down the drain.  I have information on under-sink compost bins and compostable bags.  For information email me.

One final note, at the Board meeting on June 21, the Board adopted a no smoking policy at Kalmia Court Condominiums.    Smoking is now strictly prohibited on all General Common Elements and Limited Common Elements as well as all Restricted Common Elements within  the Project, including all walkways, drives, streets, parking spaces,  balconies, decks and patios.  Smoking is allowed within the Units as long as the smoke remains contained within the Unit and is not detectable by smell or otherwise inside other units or on any of the Common Elements including balconies, patios, and decks.

That’s it for this time.  Thanks for reading and I’ll be back to you once there is more to report.

Vincent

Its Hot!!!

June 23, 2012

I only thought it felt like summer in the last post!  WOW…today it is expected to hit 100+.  Welcome to the real summer folks!

This time last year we were hoping for a few dry days in a row  to  help speed along the project.  Now we are begging for  rain and our grounds are feeling the  pain.

At least we can be thankful that we do  not have the fires that they have up north.  Today is  an especially bad smoke day.  Best to probably keep the a/c on and the doors and windows  closed.

Speaking of fire, it is a good time  to  remind  those  of us in the Kalmia Court that we are  a prime  fire target.  All wood siding and lots of lush foliage make  us very vulnerable.  I’m attaching a news article from October of  2010 about BBQ restrictions on our decks which are in  force by the City of Boulder. BBQ Article Oct 2010

In addition to those  restrictions, we were  recently reminded during a fire safety inspection that there are absolutely no outdoor electric  cord lights  allowed on our buildings.   The primary issue is that any outdoor plug must be GFI protected.  Even if we had those, which we do not, the plugs and cords attached to them must be outdoor rated.  We are not able to comply with these requirements for outdoor lighting at the Kalmia  Court so all of it is  absolutely banned.  All  of our owners will be getting emails and/or letters any day which  at  the direction of the Board remind them  of these restrictions and  ask for their immediate voluntary compliance.  We do have several infractions and hope you’ll understand that it is just the safe thing to do.  We have  a beautiful complex now and no one wants to risk a fire now or at anytime.

Of course, along with the prohibition on outdoor electric  lights, there  are absolutely no open flames except in approved bbq grills on any of our decks.  That means no torches, candles, or any other open flame.  Please be thoughtful  and careful and never place our homes at risk!

Moving on… the Board met last night in a marathon session.  I hope everyone appreciates the work  they do!  One of the first orders of business was to elect a replacement Board member for the spot left open by the resignation of Terry Reilly.  Ellen Wagner, owner unit # 25, was unanimously elected to the spot by the Board.   Ellen has lived at the Kalmia Court for several  years and as she says she  plans to be taken out of here in a box.  She is a retired professor of Philosophy and has loads of experience with boards in the academic world and brings a wealth of analytical and writing skills right when we need them  most.  Please join me and the Board in welcoming Ellen.

Before the meeting’s start at 5:30 pm,  the Board met with managers from JSN property management to talk about transition plans once I am finished with the project and our need for  a full-scale property manager at that time.

The regular meeting started with the normal formalities of call to order, review and accept the minutes of the  last meeting, acceptance of the financial reports, review of the maintenance report and other updates about the property management.  With that all out-of-the-way the Board got down to serious business.

After interviewing 6 firms, the Board made a decision to retain the services of  Business Management  Law Group  as new counsel to the Association.  This will save us considerable cost while we undergo a thorough review of the Governing Documents and all of our rules, regulations, policies and procedures.

Next the Board was briefed on the rental restriction ban currently in place.  The ban was extended for another 90 days to October 4, 2012.  During this time,  the ban will be reviewed by the Association’s new counsel and a more formal and comprehensive policy will be permanently adopted.  As a reminder, the Board is considering this issue to assure that we will be in compliance with current lender standards for percentage of rentals in condominium complexes.  There are recent updates and legislation that have been adopted that have been in response  to the mortgage crisis we have all experienced over the past several years.

The current rules and regulations at the Kalmia Court are incomplete and somewhat out of date.  The Board is undertaking a complete revision of them at this time. By the fall the plan is to have a handbook that will be provided to all owners and tenants which will give them the most up to date information on the policies, procedures, rules, regulations,  contacts, and other important information about living at the Kalmia Court.

The Board also briefly reviewed the maintenance plan which is a work in progress.  The first draft is complete and I am working with the engineers to make it a fully functioning document for the Kalmia Court.  Along with the review of the plan, I presented a comprehensive list of over 70 contacts ranging from bankers to plumbers who provide services to the Association.  While the list is dynamic, it is comprehensive and is available to the Board and the Association’s managers to make certain that access is always assured to the right vendor  for  the job when service  is needed.

The Board received updated financials and a status report on the state of the construction project.  A spreadsheet “punch list” was presented to the Board outlining most if not all  of the tasks remaining before the project is complete.  While the list is long, I reported to  the Board that I am optimistic that it is achievable by the fall which has been our target date all along.

AGS construction has been on site lately repairing the stucco work.  They are not quite complete due in part to some damage that has occurred since they were here.  They will be back to finish that work.  They also have some warranty work to do on the concrete deck coverings, a very few small stubborn leaks in the garages, the newly installed top caps on 2946 and some misc. paint touch-ups and windows to pop open.

   

The gutters on the front of 2938 and 2946 remain a problem.  I have quotes  in  hand to install heat coils in the upper gutters on  both buildings.  It is relatively easy in 2946 as there is house power provided at the eve of each unit’s roof.  The task is fairly simple to install the heat coils and plug them in.  On the other hand, 2938, which has some heat coils installed now, has no house power to any of the gutters or units affected.  Those units that do have heat coils now are using their own power to heat them.  I have an electrician and an electrical engineer working on the issue but it is not easy or inexpensive to solve.  The issue continues and a resolution should be proposed to  the Board by their next meeting in July.                   

Just about the time I  think the bird problem is solved  for good, they re-appear.  I shewed two out of the second floor of the tower at 2938 yesterday and another two out of the garage a few minutes later.  Old habits die hard and they have been  coming here  in droves for years.  We’ve just about whipped the problem but we must remain diligent.  I am hopeful that we can live without the screens next year but am alarmed at any thoughts of removing them before the end of this season.  They have  not even started their second nesting yet and bird authorities tell  me that some of them may not have even had their first this year due to the heat and dry weather.  Please keep the screens closed and maybe this will be the last season that we have to deal with those little pests! 

You’ll know the project is just about over when you see a slew of concrete trucks leaving  the complex exit.  One of the last things we’ll do  to complete this job  is to replace quite a few sections of the concrete drives.  We won’t replace it all  but enough to get rid of the major problem cracking areas.  Most if not all of the concrete in  the entry and exit will be replaced.  The areas to  the north and east of the trash area and other misc. bad spots in the drives and parking will be replaced. 

The landscape architect has the plot map in her hands and is outlining specifications as we speak.  There is a lot of work that has to be  done to complete the project.  Not  much of it is design work as much as renovation and repair.  There  still needs to be some grass removed and irrigation moved to prevent water against the buildings and the fence.  That irrigation also has to be moved away from the fence so that it won’t spray it.  All along the fence line there will be about a foot of rock and the sprinklers and grass will be offset by that rock to prevent overspray.  Once that is complete the fence will be stained and should not experience the unsightly water streaking that you so often see on fences.  The landscape plan also includes a significant tree pruning as recommended by the tree plan that we had completed in the spring.  Finally, the entrance will get a re-work and the plan is for a new sign.  As soon as we have the plans from the landscape architect and get the bids back for  the work, the Board will review them and determine what we have the money to complete and prioritize the projects and make final decisions. 

 

 

 

There will be rails on the stairs at the pool.  The fence builder is building them and delays with the fence have delayed him on the rails.  I hope to see them this next  week. 

 

  

 

 

The drywall in the mechanical rooms is almost complete.  The plumber only has the drains in  2938 and a couple of hose bibs to be done.  The electrician only has a few small bits to complete plus the rest of the  outdoor lighting to install.  We’ll soon be done with those three trades. 

 

The tennis court builder had told us that we would likely keep the pool clean  enough by just letting the rain do our work for us.  The only problem is  that there has been no rain.  I am looking into getting the court appropriately washed with a water broom as soon as possible.

We’ll also be changing the locks on the pool/tennis court area as well as the gates in the next few days.  We’ve had some unauthorized use by people from outside the complex who apparently have the code.  We will likely change them every year when the pool opens from  now on.  Keep an eye out in your email in the next few days for the new code.  The Board has also opted to start the pool security service up again this summer.  They lock the pool at closing time – 11:00 pm and open it back up the next morning in time for early swimmers.

Also at the pool, the Board rejected the idea of windows and have opted instead for  bars that will resemble the pool fence.  I’ll be in touch with the fence company this  week to get some  design ideas and prices.  I’m more than ready to get rid  of that  construction fencing!

Once we are complete with all  construction,  there will be a final clean and then we are done!

Moving on, the bank loan was refinanced earlier this month and the rate was lowered to a floor of 4.75% from 5.51%.  The reduction in  the payments will cover the fees for the refinance and we’ll see an overall reduction in the payments by around the start of next fiscal year in March 2013.  For those with their portion of  the loan  still outstanding it won’t  necessarily mean a reduction in their monthly dues, but, it may mean that they will not see an overall increase in dues this next year.  I am reasonably optimistic but can not be certain.  Of course, for those who have pre-paid their portion, there will be no effect.

The Board has made the decision to put a bike rack next to the elevator area in the garage at 2938.  It will relieve the congestion at the rack in the garage at 2946 where several bike owners from 2938 are presently parking their bikes. 

Thanks to the creativity of some unknown residents, the height of the mailboxes has been  temporarily partially resolved.  Liability and other issues with the USPS and Boulder Building Department don’t allow these to be permanent solutions however.  I am investigating and trying to design a step that can be permanently installed which will solve the height issue and meet USPS and local building codes.  The boxes can not be lowered per USPS code so a step is the  only possible solution.  The doors also cannot be re-ordered and that would only be a temporary solution anyway that would quite possibly cause others problems in the mean time.  It  won’t be solved overnight but it is in  the works.

We’ve recently had an  issue with someone from  outside the complex parking in a reserved space in  the garage.  The Board decided to place the signs back up and to institute a towing policy for  cars illegally parked in reserved spaces and for booting cars illegally parked in guest parking.  The guest parking policy will be inforced and notice will be given to all  residents before that begins. The entrance and  exit signs to the garage will be re-installed soon.  Please always remember that it is a one way garage with the north end being the entrance and the  south the exit!

 

The Board had a  long discussion about outdoor decorations on the front areas and back decks of condominium owners.  We have gotten lax and a bit out of control in several instances in enforcing current declarations and rules on  the  matter.  The Board heard several complaints and acted to notify those offending residents that they will have to remove some items.  All residents will be notified in  the next few days of what needs to be attended to and a more precise and concise policy will be developed and enforced for the long-term.  We do have residents with very attractive outdoor decorations and our ultimate goal is to achieve some cohesion and continuity of all residences. 

Finally, the Board re-affirmed its policy about limited access to the roofs of our buildings.  There are limitless reasons that this has to be accomplished.  Among them is insurance, liability, gutter damage, roof damage, and basic safety.  It does not forbid access to the roof but  only defines the circumstances and procedures for that access. 

 

 

That about wraps it up for  this time.  Stay out of  the heat.  Go to the pool but don’t forget  the sunscreen!  And by the way,  it is really appreciated when you put the furniture back where it belongs once you are finished with it. 

Thanks for  reading.

Vincent

It feels like summer…

June 6, 2012

These high 80 and low 90 days make it feel like summer although it won’t be for another couple of weeks.

Progress continues, The trash area is nearly complete.  It will be so much easier to use and everyone agrees that it is much more attractive!  Some have asked about shorter dumpsters and that is not possible, however, we will  acquire a step stool and place it in the bin area for those who are challenged by the height of the existing bins.

Speaking of height, virtually everyone loves the new mailboxes but as fate would have it,  some of the top boxes belong to shorter residents.  The boxes are precisely to USPS code and can not be modified.  I’m researching available solutions, step stool, permanent step, ?…Not sure yet but there must be some solution.

Last post I mentioned some irrigation  leaks and line breaks.  They seem to  keep on  coming.  There are a few brown spots  in the grass that are a result of those breaks.  Valley Crest was out today and we went through the entire system.  Adjustments will be made in  the  next few days and hopefully the brown will go away soon after.

The fence work is nearly done.  The gates were hung yesterday and final adjustments to the locks will be made in the next few days.  the combinations on those new locks are the same as those at the pool.  If you need  to know those numbers, please email kalmiacourt@hotmail.com.

We now have a cleaning service that cleans the pool area weekly on  Mondays.  They will wipe down the  tables, sweep/blow the deck area, clean  the bbq and baths,  etc.  They will place  the furniture back in its proper place but it really helps when each of you places any furniture you move  back  in  place before you leave the pool area.  Enjoy the umbrellas but please be sure to put them down  and  tie them in  place  after you finish with using them.

 

I’ve also got a quote on window enclosures for the  breeze-way areas on the patio area at the pool.   The Board will soon decide on the best way to enclose those open areas for both air circulation and security.

The signs into the 2938/2946 garage for entry/exit/one way will be back in place one day soon.  They have  waited to replace for the stucco work to be complete.  Please always observe the one way direction of our parking lot/drives and garage.  It is very dangerous when people go  the wrong way even if it is just for very short distances.

Speaking of the stucco work, everyone loves the new caps and yes,  the scuffs to the rest of the stucco will be repaired.

The swallows are back in town.  I’ve scared them  out of the 2938 garage and the south tower in  the 2938 building on  a couple of occasions this week.  Please  keep the screens closed at all  times.  We’ve just about whipped this problem but we can’t give up now!  Maybe one day they won’t come back at all.  We can hope!

The new porch at the center/elevator entry to 2938 is nearing completion.   It will be a gross improvement over the old one that was falling off the building.  The steps leading to  the south entrance/tower to 2938 is slated for replacement this summer as well.

Some of you may have  seen or heard the fire truck/ambulance on the grounds on Monday afternoon.  We had a guest of one of  our residents that went for  a walk in the extreme heat and became overheated and fainted and fell.  She is recovering but it was a close call.  Be really careful in this heat.  Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and take your walks in the early morning or late afternoon/evening.

The new house numbers will be ordered any day and the landscaping plans are in  the works.  Plans for the remaining concrete work are being  made.  Everything is coming together and we are on schedule for an end of summer completion.  Once we’re done,  we’ll have a giant open house to show the real estate community and  hopefully the local press everything we’ve accomplished.  It should be a boost to values, especially for anyone who is planning to sell anytime  soon.

Stay cool!

Vincent

Memorial Day Update

May 25, 2012

This week leading into the holiday weekend has been a busy and productive one.

The pool has been readied for opening and will be open later today as planned.  We have had the new plaster surface re-acid washed and the finish is a near perfect diamond blue now.  One more wash at the end of  the season  and it will be absolutely perfect and  it looks beautiful!  Now if the sun will only shine we’ll have a lovely memorial day and start to the summer season.

Another quick note about the pool,  when we started the pump/filter up this  season, a leak  was  discovered in the sand  filter for the pool.  It was a 1/2 day repair and was handled  quickly, efficiently and cost effectively by our excellent pool  care company,  Advanced  Pool  Care.  They removed  the sand, fixed  the leak and  replaced the sand  with new sand.  That is something  that has to be done about  every five years anyway and it was about due.

The new mailbox installation is complete.  The next step is for  the Post Office to come out  and to install their master lock  and transfer the mail from the old boxes into the new ones.  They then approve the distribution of the owner’s keys.  I’m still  working on  a distribution system and have some  ideas but pay attention to your email this next  week as I will send you an email blast to let you know how you will receive your new keys.  Until that notification, (which I hope will be by the end of  next  week), continue to use the old  mailboxes.  I absolutely can not believe the huge improvement to the look of the entire complex  those new mailboxes have made.  I’ve had rave reviews and as one  resident said it best, “they are so  handsome!”  A big improvement on the old wouldn’t you say?

 

 

They have made such a huge impact that the Board has authorized going forward with the  new house  numbers for all units and buildings.  The numbers were approved months ago but a few concerns and glitches delayed them.  I am  optimistic that we can  have them on  site and  installed  by the end of June.

A quick reminder too,  please be careful  when using the new center exit/stairs at 2938.  The new handrails/half walls will go up next week but until then use caution in that area.

You’ve also likely seen the AGS trucks and crews back on site this week.  The first of  the week they were  doing the warranty work on the stucco and are now capping the parapet walls to the entry and exit of the garage with metal flashing.  This is being done  to protect the top surface of the stucco.  It was an idea on the part of  the contractor  and  is being done  at their expense.  This is a generous gesture on  their part  as this treatment is expensive  and  time-consuming.

You may have been concerned about the installation of  the flashing if you have looked at  it up close.  I certainly was when I  first saw it.  It appears to be scratched.  This is a perfect example of what I always say, never look at a job in progress and worry about the flaws.  Wait until you are presented with the finished  product and then if there are concerns point them out then.  The flashing has  a plastic cover adhered to  it and that is what appears scratched.  There is colored caulk and paint to match the metal to be applied once  the installation job  is complete.  Finally, the plastic will be pulled  and we’ll have attractive and durable  new top caps.  I can’t wait!

A few landscape notes.  Thanks for the many nice  emails, calls and messages about how nice  the  lawn  looks.  It will only get better from here.  Also, several  have  asked about tree trimming.  The landscape service trims branches  up to 12 feet  high when they are here on  their weekly visit.   Anything  over  12 feet  requires a professional tree company with the proper equipment and insurance.  We’ll  have  a major prune this summer.  So please point out trimming near  your unit for  the lower branches and be as patient as possible  for  the major trim which is coming  soon!

I would say that we have conquered about 95% of the leaks  that we had in the garages at 2938/2946.  We do  still have 3 stubborn leaks that we have found.  The engineer and contractor are creating  a strategy to finally conquer these leaks. Not bad considering that  we had around 100 or so leaks  before we  did the major work last  summer.  It will be repaired  and most if  not all will  be warranty work  from last year.  Again, patience  is appreciated.

There  is also  a pretty good size  leak in  an irrigation line in front of 2946.  We  are trying to detect its location  without having to dig up the entire  front  lawn.  It is a tedious task but one that we hope will be successful with  as little intrusion  as possible.

Thanks for your kind words, consideration, cooperation and  assistance.  It  won’t be near the summer we had last year and once we are  done it will be beautiful and we can return to peaceful summers that we have come  to love at the Kalmia  Court.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!  I may see you at the pool.

Vincent

Spring has sprung and the project is back into action!

May 15, 2012

Welcome back to the Kalmia Court blog.  Spring has finally sprung and we are back into action with the final stages of the project in full force.  There have been lots of questions over the past couple of weeks so I thought the best and fastest way to answer most of them is with the blog.  Here goes…

The major projects that will be completed this summer are the fence, the landscaping and the concrete work.

The fence construction is 90% complete with the balance to  be done this week.  Just as the fence construction was winding down a couple of weeks ago, I had a barrage of calls from a number of  residents each asking about the finish stain color.  Everyone seemed to  agree that the new fence was beautiful but none seemed to agree at all about the new color except that it should not be the  old  dark  wood color stain from  the past.  Since we still have almost half of the old fence that was stained the dark color, I had my work cut out for me to please as many as possible.

Some  wanted no stain at all which was not an  option as we already have the old half with the dark stain and no way to get it off.  I had first been told that  we could not stain over the dark stain  with a lighter color stain.  That  proved  to be partially true except that by digging much deeper,  I was able  to find that  there is an oil  based STAIN that can be tinted colors and once applied it looks like paint.   While it looks  like paint, it is actually stain so it preserves and protects the new cedar from damage that paint and the elements can cause.  Voila, a new idea was born.   The Board reconvened and  decided that the fence will all be stained (old and new) with this new paint color tinted STAIN.  The body of  the fence will be the same color as the body of our buildings with the top caps and trim being the same color  as the trim  on our buildings.  It should look great.

The fence should be done as I said in the  next week.  I had the contractor who  will apply the stain out today and they can likely do  the stain in the next 3 weeks or so.  It won’t take long and will look great and cohesive.  Glad for the objections as this is a better option!  Another note about the fence, there will be a gate on the south-east corner of the property that goes onto the cemetery property for a short distance and out to the diagonal almost right at the bus stop.  It will have a combination lock with the same combination as the pool area.  Very convenient!

The landscaping work is lagging a little behind.  Valley Crest landscaping has completed the landscape work that was  required for the structural repairs completed last summer.  The only thing that is left with their work is some plants installed and some final irrigation work.  They still have to find and repair an irrigation issue that is still allowing water into the foundation area of an old leak in 2946.  It is not one of the leaks that  was causing structural damage but more of an annoyance.  It will be found and fixed.

There are a number of other areas that require attention and some areas that will be improved this  summer.  The plans are being made for that work as we speak and include attention to  the rear of  the pool house and to the south of  Kalmia  Ave, work to the rear of 2962 with regrading and some new hard surface features, work to the rear of 2954 where some trees are dead and have to be removed and some work  done to freshen the rock  and make the walking safer back there.

 

The east end of 2946 needs some care as does the south end of 2954.  The rear of 2938 will have the grass removed about 6 feet against the building and a rock walk installed there.  That will eliminate the irrigation against the building.  Many of the beds throughout the property need to be repaired, refreshed and cleaned up.  There will be some attention paid to the center  island  of the property and we hope  to give the entrance a face  lift with a new sign and bright warm welcome to our newly renovated property.

 

The tree study conducted last summer will be very helpful in planning for a good tree prune later in the summer.  A few trees likely have to come out and hopefully a few new ones will go in.  We still have some damaged trees from  this  winter’s heavy snows and strong winds.  All tree work can and should be finished by the end of the summer.

The concrete work includes several areas of the  drives, sidewalks and curbs.  Also included in this early  concrete stage is the replacement of the steps/entries to the three stairwells  in front of 2938.  Two  include new steps, one new walks and one new rails.  Included in this stage is the installation of the mailboxes.  (Check out the photoshop image that Nancy produced.  These mailboxes promise to look sharp!)  That all starts later  this  week and I hope to have the new mailboxes ready to receive mail by the end of next week and most definitely by the end of the month.

  

This stage will also finish the garbage corral.  So  with any luck and diligence on  the part  of the fence company, the concrete company and the stain  company, we should be finished with the fence, mailboxes  and stain by the end of May.

The pool deck is getting some repairs to cracks and a fresh coat of sealer as we speak.  That is the advantage of the overlay decking material that we chose last year. It can be repaired and  will look as good as new.  The plaster did  not completely properly cure last year so the pool is being drained and the plaster acid washed and prepped so that it will cure to the rich blue color that it is meant to be.  That work is ongoing now.  The pool  and spa will remained closed until opening day which is May 25, Memorial Day Weekend.  By the way, the locks on  the gates will be fully operational by then too!

Several other questions have arisen  and  I’ll try to  answer most  of them here briefly now…

Why do  the front decks on 2938 and 2946 look so dirty and what are we going to do about them and  when? – The decks on 2938 and 2946 had the protective water tight coating placed on them as part of  the construction project last summer.  It really worked but since the water could  no longer go into the garage below, much of it stayed on  the surface and froze.  That required the use of lots of ice melt.  The product we used has a residual effect but it does leave residue.  The good news is that with a good  power wash, they can be thoroughly cleaned.  That power wash takes place tomorrow.  It should look as good as new by tomorrow night.

When will the orange security fence protection  that is in  the window area of the pool house that faces the street be replaced with some other more permanent and attractive protective barrier? -  When the decision to  remove the old and ugly fence was made, it was obvious that those windows would  need protection.  It has  not yet been decided for sure what will go there but please  rest assured that it will be practical, utilitarian and attractive.  While the orange barrier is  not attractive now, something will be.  Not certain exactly when but sooner rather than later.

Why is there clutter around and when will it be cleaned up?  -  There are still remnants and signs of construction in several places around the property.  I’m aware of them and like you they drive me crazy.  What is really crazy though is to try to get them all  tidy too  soon  as cleaning and organizing too soon just means it has to be done over again and that would mean twice the cost.  If you are like me, it is hard to be patient, but please try and we’ll save some dollars and it will all look great by the end of the summer, I  promise!

What about the screen doors on 2938 and 2946? – Well, knock on wood, they seem to have done an excellent job on  deterring the lovely little darling swallows.  We were able to completely deter  them from our buildings last summer and here we are now 3 weeks past when they arrived last year and so far I’ve not seen a one.  We must remain diligent as they have two nestlings per season  and could fool us and move in  later if they saw an opportunity.  I must say that I am guardedly optimistic though that the summer may come  when we don’t have  to have  the screens.  I know you all  would be sorry to see them go (NOT!), but go they may one day!  In the meantime, please treat them kindly and report any damage so that we can preserve our assets in case we do still need  them in  the future.

A quick run down on a number of other items from the punch list;

Stucco: There has been chronic chipping on the new stucco.  This problem is being repaired by the contractor under warranty as we speak.

Gutters-I have  been exploring how to prevent ice buildup on the gutters on 2938 and 2946. (Townhomes have problems with ice buildup on the backsides of those buildings but the ice does not create problems on walkways as it does on 2938, 2946). One possibility is using heating coils in the gutters. Some owners have heating coils which are effective, but they are expensive to run.  To install heating coils would require would require re-engineering electrical panels and the addition of some breakers. It is not certain yet whether the electrical wiring on these buildings could handle to additional load.  Consequently, after some discussion the Board authorized me to contract with an electrical engineer to assess whether it is feasible to install the coils, with the fee not to exceed $1000.

A few other quick bullet points that will get attention before the end  of the summer:

  • Drywall in mechanical rooms
  • Plumbing work: garage drains, hose bibs
  • Electrical-lighting - outdoor on the entry and center island and the east side of driveway
  • Paint the garages interior ceilings and storage room walls , 2938 & 2946 including storage room doors (exterior walls and doors only)
  • Renewal, replacement, repair and new installation of signage throughout the property
  • Chimneys will be inspected and cleaning recommended sometime before the snow flies next winter

Finally, AGS Construction will be on site several days over the next few weeks for punch list and warranty work including the stucco as already mentioned, the repairs to the top caps newly installed on the decks at 2946, and there is some repair work to be done to a few areas of the concrete deck coatings on 2938 and 2946.  If you have seen anything or have any areas of concern with your units (windows painted shut, etc), please let me know and we will address them.

One final question answered; when is my contract up?   The short answer is when the work is  done but in reality a more precise answer is by the end of the summer/early fall.  We’ve got the construction to finish, the governing documents to re-write and the maintenance, operations, policies and procedures to complete and document.  A lot of work  for the summer but it can and will be done.

One last piece of construction project related news is that the Board is pursuing refinancing the construction loan to a lower interest rate.  It looks promising that that will be accomplished soon.  It won’t lower payments right away but should really help in  the long run.  Stay tuned for more details at a later date.

This post has been longer than I had hoped.  I needed to catch up.  Going forward I’ll try to keep the blog up to date and make more frequent and more brief posts.  It may not be as pretty as last summer but hopefully the information will be just as helpful.  In the meantime, if you have maintenance issues, please report them to JSN Property Management online  where you can enter your own maintenance requests.  In the alternative you may phone JSN client services at 303-482-2213 ext 1.  They are very helpful and it is a much better and more efficient way to stay on top of maintenance issues rather than me or the  Board  trying to keep track of it all.  I’ll still oversee the work for  the time being but they will keep track of it.

If you have other questions please post them as comments on the blog and I’ll try to answer them in a future blog real soon.

Thanks for reading!

Vincent

 

Game – Set – Match

October 3, 2011

As  you have likely noticed, the tennis courts are complete.   A couple of the Board members initiated the court one day last week.

The only access for the moment is through the pool area.  Enter the gates to the west of the pool and then to the tennis court at the gate near the south end of the fence.  We will eventually have a new gate combination locking knob set on the east side of the court.  That will also become the ADA accessible gate when we can get the access walkway poured, likely in the spring.

You may notice that the center of the  net is dipping a little.  That will need adjusting by the tennis court folks when they are back out to install the windscreens.  That may be around the end of this week or the beginning of the next.

The landscape company will be blowing the leaves each week but for the next few weeks it will be a full-time job.

I’m posting a few pictures of before, during and after.  What a huge difference it makes.  Enjoy the new court and remember these few simple rules. Especially note the rule about appropriate footware for use on the court!

Vincent

 

 

 

 

 

Finally…

September 17, 2011

I am finally getting around to a new blog post.  Lots has happened in the three weeks since the last one.  It seems like I’ve been busy 24/7 and writing the blog kept getting pushed to the back burner. So this morning I’m up early and am determined to get this blog written and to Nancy for posting today.  There is lots to cover so I’ll dig right in.

Where to begin?  I guess right outside my own front door.  Work has been proceeding at a frantic pace on 2946 ever since the last post.  The siding repair and replacement is complete and the painters are finishing their prep today.  All of the beam work is complete and the new wood plank decks are installed.   There is still some finish shimming, shaving and adjustment to some of those planks that has to be done.  That will happen in the punch list stage which I’ll talk more about later.  I hope for the painting to be complete by the end of this next week.

The concrete decks on the first floor have been sandblasted in preparation for the deck coating which will be about the last step in completion of 2946.    The roof was completed and passed the inspection of the city this past week.  It will be inspected and certified for warranty by the manufacturer one day soon.

Now I’m on to building 2938.  The deck coating continues in earnest. It is about 75% complete.  It was about 50% complete last week when it rained all day that one day and we could already see considerably less water in the garage.  It was complete to its current state when it rained all night on Wednesday.  Again, a dramatic reduction in water in the garage.  While it was painful to see all that rain coming down before we are finished, it has actually been a blessing in disguise as we’ve been able to see areas that need more attention as well as  areas that are sealed for sure.   I’m optimistic and looking forward to when we are completely sealed!  With any luck, we’ll have a dry week this next week and the deck coating will be complete and we’ll be water tight.

Once all the deck coating is complete and the garages are buttoned up and tight, there will be french drains installed around the front sides of both 2938 and 2946.  We already have one french drain in front of 2938 but it was incorrectly designed and built and has  done little if any good to date.  It will be re-built as part of this project.   All of the plants in front of 2946 will be removed from about 10 feet away from the building and some of them in front of 2938 will have to go as well.   We should be able to save most if not all of the trees.   The drains and grading will be complete this season but the new plantings may have to wait until the spring.  We have to design and build drip irrigation for those areas for the new plants that will be low water users and draught tolerant but will need water to start.

The Board has retained the services of a landscape architect to help with the initial design of the drainage and grading and may use her for future work around the grounds as well.  In any case, the initial required landscaping that I have just described will be completed this season and the rest of the grounds will be addressed in the spring.  For all of those who have asked, yes, the entry will be renovated and there will be some improvements or a replacement of the sign.  No designs have yet been considered but there will be time  for that over the winter and we can construct it in the spring.

Speaking of the landscape, in the last post I noted that the lawns had taken a beating with construction. After the post, the lawns continued to brown and I realized something was wrong other than the construction.  I called in the landscape maintenance company and they discovered that the main irrigation valve had been turned off.  That likely happened when the backflow on that valve was tested and certified and they forgot to turn it back on.  It is back on  now and disaster has been averted.  The lawns are greening back up, just in time for winter.  One further note on the landscape, the Board has just awarded the contract for landscape maintenance, irrigation maintenance and snow removal to Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance.  They replace Urban Farmer who had been our service provider for this past year but with disappointing service and results.  Valley Crest is a privately held nationwide company with over 1200 employees in the greater Denver/Boulder metro area.  We are optimistic and encouraged that they will provide us excellent service and that our lovely grounds will be returned to their previous beauty during this next year.

Moving on, I hope most of  you got the email about our new trash/recycle/compost service that began the first of the month.  I won’t try to rehash all that information but will pass along  some handy tips about composting that I have learned this last week.  I am excited about the new compost service and have purchased a kitchen compost bin with compostable bags to fit.  It is the perfect size to fit right below the sink and next to the trash.  You can put all food scraps, any non-recyclable paper including shredded paper, paper towels, paper napkins, and kleenex right in that compost bin.  I’m amazed at how  little trash we now generate.  Most things go in recycle or compost.  I love being green, speaking of, that is the color of my new compost bin (of course!).    This bin is available for the best price I found on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Exaco-Trading-ECO-2000-Kitchen-Collector/dp/B0017WOFSI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316269555&sr=8-1 .   There’s a better description of the product, including sizing here: http://www.exaco.com/ECO_kitchen.shtml. If you have not done so yet, please read the previous email and look at the very handy attachments!  Maybe I’ll re-blast it…that’s a good idea.

On to other things, an update to the tennis courts – The fence is complete (Renner even extended the fence all the way to the pool house at no extra cost – they are a great company!)and the concrete pad is curing as we speak.  It has to cure thirty days before it can be surfaced and made ready for play.  I’ll know on Monday when that work will begin but it will be either this week or no later than next.  It will take about 3 to 4 days to complete the process.  They first apply one coat of concrete primer, then flood the courts and patch low spots holding water to within 1/16″ in 10′ as defined by the American Sports Builders Association.  This will be measured when temperatures are 70 degrees and rising, in direct sunlight after a 1 hour wait.   Next they apply one coat of World Class Acrylic Resurfacer, then two coats of World Class Color Coatings with each color chosen.  (Ours will be blue inside and green outside – just like the pros of course ! :-)  Silica-sand and water will be mixed into the color to achieve a slow speed of play and to provide texture.  Finally, they will  layout and stripe the tennis court with 2″ white lines in accordance with the USTA specifications for doubles play.  Line tape sealer is used as a prime coat for crisp edges.  Finally they will clean up job related debris and leave the court ready for play.

Next up, the pool, which is closing for the season on Monday - Several of you have noted some of the cracks in the pool deck.  There is an especially unsightly one at the south end of the deck by the gate and another where the steps are at the northwest corner of the pool.  There is also some sinking of the deck under the canopy.  Concrete being concrete, this is bound to happen.   The advantage of the overlay system that covers most of our deck is that it can be removed and repaired.  We will  never stop all of the cracks short of taking up the entire deck and re-pouring it extra thick and with lots of rebar.  We can patch it though and that will be done in the spring in time to re-open the pool next summer.  At that same time, we’ll put another sealer coat on the deck and re-caulk as necessary.  I’ve also learned this last week that the caulk around the coping stones in the pool can be painted.  I wish I would have known that sooner as I think it is not the most beautiful feature of our otherwise lovely pool area.

Also at the pool area we’ve had security lights installed which are motion detection activated and on a timer so that they only work after the pool closing hours.  It  should considerably improve our chances  of preventing vandalism and trespassing at the pool area after hours.  We will likely install some drainage and lighting at the east side of the pool/west side of the tennis courts where you see the open trench at present.  That work will be complete before winter comes. 

The spa stays open year around.  Several have commented on the temperature of the spa lately.  The spa maintenance service strives to maintain it at 102 – 104 degrees.  It occasionally may get slightly warmer, especially if it has not had the cover off for a number of hours. It will cool off some once it is open and in operation.  On a few occasions, it has also been reported as too cool. That is likely the result of  having not been covered and being used just before that time leaving to little time to re-heat.   Many of you have also reported the torn straps on the cover to me.  I have placed a warranty claim with the manufacturer and they are replacing the skin of the new cover.  We should have it in 3 or 4 weeks.  They are placing two handles on the two sides that open this time.  I think some people were using the straps to open the cover as the one handle in the center was too awkward and inconvenient to use.  Once we get the new one and get it installed, please use the handles at all times and never the straps. Thanks!

A few other things, the stucco is complete at the rear of the buildings 2938 and 2946. It looks great.  The exposed aggregate retaining walls in the front of the buildings and at the tennis courts will get stucco too.  They will be done once the snow melt concrete  entrance and exit drives are completed which should be by mid-October.  Next, the sheet rock work in the garages at 2938 and 2946 is about 90% done.  Once we get finished with the deck coating above,  the rest will be finished.

I know most of you have seen the new guard rail addition at the base of  the stairs at 2954 #43.  That is not just some fancy addition but was required by code to complete the stairway to that unit.  The former stairs just ended on a landing with no rails or protection at all from the steep drop off.  It  was dangerous and not to code thus the addition.  I think it is an attractive feature as well, I hope you agree but realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The new  mailboxes and message boards will be ordered this next week.  The style and color have been selected by the Board and they will likely be here and installed sometime by around the end of November.  This is a picture of what they will look like courtesy of Nancy and Photoshop.  Thank you Nancy for this and for all your hard work on this blog too!

That brings us to the punch list, all the things that have to be done to be complete.  While the individual items make up a long list, I’ll mention a few…gutter repair and/or cleaning that we’ve missed, painting the gutters that have been repaired or installed, paint touch-ups throughout the property, deck touch-ups and re-dos, drywall repairs, lots of cleaning, and on and on. If you know of problems, please email them to me. It is far more likely to be taken care of  than if you catch me on the property or phone me.   I’ve got lots to remember right now and my memory is not what it once was.

It is a pleasure to be able to tell you that I can see the finish line in sight.  Many of the crew from AGS have already ended their time here and most others will depart soon.  Two men we have all come to appreciate and love are Matt and Jose.   Jose’s time here will likely end next week but Matt is here to the very end.  I want to express my appreciation to both of them.  If you see them around, tell them so yourself.  They have grown quite fond of the Kalmia Court and many of you as well.

I’m pleased to say that we are at least on time and maybe slightly ahead of schedule. We’re under budget to boot.  It has been a hard summer,  one that none of us will ever forget but it has been and  will be worth it all.  When we’re finally done with the work for this season, we’ll be left with landscaping, concrete and fence work for next spring and summer.  In the meantime, over the winter months, we’ll be planning for that work and doing some work on our policies and procedures and rules and regulations. The end result will be a user-friendly resident’s guide to life at Kalmia Court.  That is something many of you have asked for and we’ve needed for a long time.

Thanks for reading.  Enjoy these last few days of summer and look  forward to the quiet times  ahead in winter.  No matter your point of view, the  views at the Kalmia Court in both summer and winter are simply picturesque!

Ciao,

Vincent

In Other News…

August 26, 2011

All over the grounds of the Kalmia Court there is plenty of exciting progress.  My confidence that AGS can be out of here by the end of September is growing by the day.  That would  beat our original goal of being done before the snow flies which I hope will not happen before Halloween.    

The beam and deck replacement on 2946 is  down to the last beam.  It is the cross beam that was found to have virtually completely failed.  It will be replaced rather than repaired and we are waiting on the vendor to supply that beam so that the job can be completed.

In the meantime, the painting is complete on the east and the west ends of 2946 and is proceeding on the back.  The siding replacement and repair is underway and the scaffolding is being moved to the front as I speak.

 

The structural engineer Tuesday signed off on the bar joist installation in the 2938 and 2946 garages and the City Inspector did the same Thursday morning.  The welders were here yesterday morning finishing off their last few corrections and the grout work will be completed by the end of the week.  If all goes as planned, I am guardedly optimistic that we can button up the drywall starting early next week and could have our garages back in total use by that same time.  Hallelujah!

The deck coating continues full force on 2938.  The first 5  back decks were completed last week, however, we experienced some problems with one of them  and it is being re-done as we speak.  Not sure if it was a mixing error, surface conditions or what but AGS is correcting it and there are absolutely no problems with any of  the others.  The rear decks on the north end of 2938 will be complete by the end of this week and we  move to the front and south ends of the building either later today or early next week.  All the cracks in the north end of the building are being filled, caulked and prepped for  the coating.  Hopefully  the entire decking job on 2938 will be complete by the end of next week.  (Weather and Murphy permitting)

You may have noticed the paint crew sanding and prepping the top and rail caps on the newly installed stairs.  I was not happy with the finish and it is being re-done to a higher standard.  They just got in a bit of a hurry and are being more careful and methodical with the work going forward.

Several have asked about the landscaping.  The grounds have taken a beating with the construction but rest assured that there is the budget and plans to repair and replace landscaping once the construction is complete.  There will be regrading, removal and replacement of some plantings and re-routing of some irrigation.  We’ve had to cut back on irrigation to make way for the workers but we’ll be back to normal one day soon.  We can expect our usual lush grounds to return by next summer.  Our tree plan that is contracted with resident Craig Jones should be completed in the near future and will help us to plan for the fall pruning of our trees.

A few other projects that are underway: All of you who live in 2938 and 2946 know of the problem we’ve always had with the drains that run on top of  the concrete and into the trough drain in the 2938 garage.  Other than being messy and an eye sore, they are not a real problem in summer, but when winter comes it is a different story.  Two of those drains have been re-run to empty directly into the entry trough drain. The rest will be re-run to go under the concrete and into the trough drain in the center of the garage.

    

On another note, that new spa cover, yes I  know it is ripped already. The tie down straps are required by code. Once we have the final inspection, we’ll be able to improvise a solution for them and then either repair this cover or hope for a warranty replacement or some other solution. It will be repaired but just has not reached the top of the stack in terms of what must be done right now.

The Board has voted to extend the season of the pool opening this year and it  is now scheduled to close on the 19th of September.  Get your laps in,  that day is closer than you think.  (The spa stays open year round)  Some have asked what we’ll do with the furniture when we close the pool.  It will be covered and stacked under the canopy of the pool house.  The covers I am getting provide excellent protection and the furniture will be just like new next year when we open the pool.

Each day I get a little closer to that magic moment when the roof on 2946 is deemed complete!   It can’t come a moment too soon.  I was up on the roof earlier this week  and it is going to be an amazing new roof and for that I’m pleased.  The roofing system that is being installed is called Duro-Last and hallmarks itself as the world’s best roof.  It is being installed by certified installers that are factory trained and rated on each job they do.  The crew that is doing our roof has a consistent rating of 97%.  Any rating below 90% and a crew would lose its certification.  I’m very impressed by their work.  Once the roof is finished, the manufacturer sends out a  representative to certify the work and to  issue the warranty.  We should not require a new flat roof on this building for at  least 30 years and the maintenance is minimal in the meantime.  Here are a few pictures of the work in progress.  As I say, I’m pleased with the job they are doing but, the constant pounding, hacking, sawing and noise can’t come to an end one minute too soon! A conversation with the foreman of the crew on the roof indicated that they will  be 95% finished by day’s end.  Yeah!!!

The City of Boulder building department inspector was here Thursday  morning and signed off on the final permit for the roofing on 2954, the steel bar joists in the garage and the new stairs throughout the property.  He will be back next week for the sign-off on the roof on 2946 and hopefully that will be it.

I think that about wraps it up for today.  Should be lots more to update you  on next week.  We really are making progress fast  now and I’m glad to say that we are  in the home stretch!  As always, thank you for your patience, cooperation, assistance and for being good neighbors.

Thanks for reading,

Vincent

Kalmia “Court”!

August 25, 2011

The pouring of the tennis court Tuesday morning was quite exciting.  It all started a few minutes before  7  when I walked out my front door and saw this massive boom attached to a pump truck on the horizon.  It was quite a sight!

I digress, the work on the tennis court began a week ago Monday (August 15).  The work started with demolition of the old court and fence, excavation of about 12 inches deep all around the edges of the existing asphalt and removal of all the existing gates, poles, and posts that would be in the way of the newly constructed court.

Next, fill soil to backfill areas that were low was brought in and graded to a final laser levelled sub-surface.  That fill went directly over the asphalt.  Leaving the asphalt in place is economical and adds to the structural stability of the sub-surface conditions. It leaves the asphalt in place rather than going to a land fill making it green to boot. We like that in Boulder!

After everything was to the  specified grade, they laid post-tension cables in place, wired them together and set the forms that the cables attach to and that hold the concrete in place until it sets up.

Those steps all led up to the pour Tuesday morning.  For more on  the process you can refer back to the blog post of July 30th where I covered each step in some detail.

Now I’ll pick-up where I left off at the beginning.    Tuesday’s pour was my first opportunity to see construction of a post tension slab.  It was fascinating watching everything that goes into the process.  From start to finish we had 4 companies,  about 35 workers, 25 to 30 pieces of heavy machinery, 10 truck loads  of concrete and it was all  topped off with about a dozen resident spectators.  We should have sold front row seats to offset some of the cost!  Most of the Board members were there and residents from every building stopped by for all or part of the pour.  The day was all perfectly orchestrated by Renner Sports Courts, our contractor for the court.  They did an amazing job and the whole process came off without a hitch. 

It was quite a spectacle to behold.  The concrete trucks formed  a queue along Kalmia  Avenue. They were all coordinated into place by a radio controlled operator.  There were about a dozen stations from along Kalmia through the entrances and exits and  throughout the circle through our complex  where the concrete trucks were maneuvered to reach their ultimate destination, the boom pump truck.   That boom was operated by one man with a hand-held remote control (the ultimate Wii!)  that carefully pumped the  concrete precisely into place.  He roamed the court just in front of the laser controlled screeding machine (finishing machine).  Behind that followed men with long finishing poles to get as smooth a finish as possible.  Next came the final finish machine.  One resident commented that it looked like the ultimate amusement park ride.  It did look like fun but I’m sure glad I wasn’t responsible for its quite precise finish work.

The posts were carefully placed using a measuring tape and level to get them precisely right.  The net posts will be placed in a later stage in sleeves that were installed about a quarter-inch below the surface of the new concrete.

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Yesterday,  Renner was back on site to strip the forms and tension the post tension cables for the first time.  They  tensioned them just over half way today and will do the rest in 7 days to  a tension of 33,000 pounds per square inch (p.s.i.) and will finally be anchored at 28,900 p.s.i.  They stretched the cables about 4 1/2 inches and will stretch them about 4 more inches next week.  The cables will then be cut about three-quarters of an inch into the concrete and permanently anchored and grouted in place.

The court will then sit and cure for the next three weeks, at which time it will be surfaced with an acrylic surface that is durable, easy to maintain and simple to repair.  In the meantime, the new fence will be built sometime next week and about the middle to the end of September we’ll be able to host our first match.  Anybody up for the first game? A quick additional note, the Board has selected the current color combination used by the US Professional Tennis Association on their courts.  It will be blue and green as shown here on the Bear Mountain courts here in Boulder that Renner recently completed. That court has the same windscreen as we will have.  As you can see,  it will return the privacy to the pool area that we originally had.

That’s it for the tennis court today.  I’ll post another blog tomorrow covering all the rest of the exciting progress on our project.  So long for  now  and thank you for reading.  See you back tomorrow.

Cheers,

Vincent


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