by Tim Patricio
It’s a mess. No doubt about it. We are all understandably weary with exterior work continuing into a second summer. Some of this work is on PTCA, but much of the mess is related to what ComEd is doing. Very soon we expect to begin a project to replace plumbing and sewer lines above the lobby ceiling. This will compound the challenge, but we hope the work out front is over by the time we commence the work in the lobby, so there is at least some relief.
Last year the Association began the Driveway/Plaza Project. This entailed replacing the old top coating, replacing the waterproof membrane underneath, resolving leaking problems in the garage, and improving the aesthetics and safety with lighting improvements and an ADA compliant entry ramp. The project was budgeted for $950,000 and to date the Association has spent about $822,000 on the work completed.
The bulk of the work was done last year. However, many components remained including the vertical panels along the sidewalk, sealant work, and many ‘punchlist’ items including replacement of several sections of the topping slab that were not complete. We are withholding a significant sum to make sure the work is completed to our satisfaction.
We expressed concerns to the contractor over areas of the slabs where the pebble texture is very inconsistent. So they replaced these slabs. The new ones are very noticeable, and stand out against the others which are already weathered and dusty. However, before they are completely done, the entire plaza will be professionally washed and sealed. This process should make the entire area look like new.
Tuckpointing and flashing replacement along the masonry wall was completed. Conditions along the base of the masonry wall, where the concrete and topping slab meet, were so deteriorated that much of the base of the brick wall ( the first 4 to 5 courses) had to be rebuilt. So, the Board made the choice to accelerate plans to perform tuckpointing and repairs along these locations. This continued this spring with work on the wall adjacent to the Circle driveway.
When considering the masonry repairs, the Board looked at possible replacement of the mismatched brick wall in the Circle Drive. This would have cost about $45,000. However, after seeing how well the tuckpointing improved the appearance of the wall, we did not pursue this work.
We also completed electrical and lighting work, but there is more to do. The Board asked management to come up with a way for the light fixtures at the base of the columns along the entrance of the building to appear more consistent. Unfortunately, due to the high elevation of the structural slab, two of the fixtures protrud and creat too much of a trip hazard without adding a plate. So we may install additional plates so the fixtures appear more consistent.
All this finishing work has been relatively quiet and pain free. So you might ask, where is the bulk of the mess coming from? ComEd is replacing the roof to the main vault serving Park Tower. This has been quite a lesson in the nuances of street-side excavation. The work going on within the gated area along Sheridan is without a doubt complicated, noisy, dusty and at times very unpleasant. And they will be there for a while yet. Going by their schedule, they will be done by July. However, in reviewing the plans and progress independently, we feel this will more likely be the end of July or into August.
The work is necessary. All you need do is recall the condition of the sidewalk along this location to realize something was going on below it. Leaking occurred at times and concrete walls and ceilings were beginning to show significant signs of deterioration including cracks and crumbling.
Once ComEd is done, our contractor will finish the vertical paneling along the sidewalk. We expect this to come together pretty quickly once ComEd demobilizes. The panels will be installed and finishing work and sealants will be completed. Unfortunately, due to the timing, this will all take the bulk of the summer. We cannot control much of this. But if the stars and planets are in alignment, and we get good weather and no surprises, it is our hope the work will wrap up by August.