Shangri-La tower glass windows could 'spontaneously' shatter, warns strata

The strata includes 234 condo units at Shangri-La Live/Work, which covers floors 16 to 42, sandwiched between a hotel below, and more luxury, residential units above.

VANCOUVER, 1128 W Georgia St, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Strata minutes suggest that the Shangri-La's glass windows could need to be replaced at a cost of more than $60 million....................(Photo credit: Francis Georgian / Postmedia) , Vancouver. VancouvrReporter: ,  ( Francis Georgian   /  PNG staff [PNG Merlin Archive]Strata minutes suggest that the Shangri-La's glass windows could need to be replaced at a cost of more than $60 million. PHOTO BY FRANCIS GEORGIAN /PNG

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Strata owners have, for some years, drawn attention to allegedly faulty glass windows in residential condo units at the 62-storey Shangri-La tower in downtown Vancouver.

There have been complaints, some filed in civil claims, about alleged fogging caused by moisture trapped in between the panes that make up what are known as insulated glass units (IGU), or windows.

But there are now more serious concerns.

According to recent strata minutes, the inner panes of the IGUs apparently “suffer from a nickel sulphide inclusion and/or manufacturing defects, which can cause (them) to spontaneously shatter.”

Minutes described the possibility of windows cracking as a “real and unacceptable risk.”

The minutes also said some outer panes in the IGUs have “thermal stress fractures” that could mean “that sections of the cracked glass could … eventually become separated from the main assembly and fall to the areas surrounding the curtainwall, (and be) a source of risk for danger to the life and health of pedestrian traffic walking anywhere near the base of the building, the swimming pool area, as well as to occupants of other units.”

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AWM Alliance Real Estate Group Ltd., which manages the property, did not reply to Postmedia queries about the situation and whether it was taking any additional safety measures.

The strata includes 234 condo units at Shangri-La Live/Work, which covers floors 16 to 42, sandwiched between a hotel below, and more luxury residential units above.

Reports in a notice of civil claim filed some years ago mostly focused on condensation, with water dripping or sealant missing. There had also been earlier complaints about staining, and years of various engineering and legal investigations have ensued and continue.

The recent minutes noted that, over the years, shattered inner panes of glass meant some windows had already been removed and replaced on nine floors.

The minutes pointed to a recent amendment in early July to another notice of civil claim, which was launched by the strata in 2015.

This amendment names as defendants a list of developers, contractors and suppliers, including ones associated with Westbank Corp., the developer of the Shangri-La tower, and builders Ledcor Construction.

The building was completed in 2009.

The minutes said up to 70 per cent of the IGUs are allegedly failing “prematurely by decades and reaching just a fraction of their expected lifespan of 40 years.”

There is a different strata of units on floors 43 to 62 of the skyscraper, which is also separately seeking to remedy similar issues with its windows.

In all, each strata at the tower has two legal actions underway, one to recover costs under warranty via insurers and the other against developers, builders and contractors. All four cases have been set to be heard in October 2021.

Meeting minutes noted the cost of replacing all of the windows could be $65 million for the two stratas.

Between 2010 and 2011 in Toronto, when there were some 15 cases of shattered balcony glass crashing from tall downtown condos onto the streets below, some owners launched class-action suits against developers and contractors.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

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