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August 01, 2013

Ask Maria — Condos in crisis

Historic flooding puts everyone on edge

Maria Bartolotti

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Dear Maria: My condo is flooded, what should I do?

On June 21, 2013, Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared a state of emergency in the City of Calgary and in parts of Southern Alberta. Thousands forced to leave their homes due to the worst flooding the city has ever witnessed.

As a Property Manager, I witnessed first hand what the devastation did to some of the buildings that we manage in the downtown core and surrounding areas. The lights were out for some of our buildings, but we continued to work with condo owners of a condominium who had their parkade completely flooded.

I cannot stress enough the importance of communication in a traumatic situation like this, especially when owners have been misplaced from their homes. But the best advice I can give affected condo owners right now is patience. And it will likely take more of it before things get back to normal.

Daily communication, onsite visits, updates and meetings with the owners is very important in a devastating situation as this. Our efforts were spent reassuring condo owners that we are working hard to get them back into their homes.

The public has to understand that there are a great deal of factors involved in restoring the building before condo owners are allowed back into their homes. Here are some steps that we are taking to help our homeowners.

All the water needs to be pumped out by the restoration company and all affected areas must be properly disinfected, carpet and drywall removed. New fire panels, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and possibly elevator equipment must be installed.

The problem that we run into is an acute shortage of trades, including electricians, cleaners, and contractors.

Condominium owners need to understand that every contractor hired is absolutely stretched to their capacity trying to complete the work awarded to them. We cannot afford to jeopardize the quality of living for the sake of speed.

The property management companies are dealing with hundreds of buildings, dozens of contractors, and ultimately trying to restore each community to its original habitability, while not bankrupting the condominium corporation. This is an incredible balancing act, that we strongly doubt any disaster planning could have made easier.

Stay Strong Calgary. Until next time...

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