Mosler Lofts is a 148-unit high-rise condominium built in 2007 in Seattle, Washington. When construction defects were identified post-occupancy, the owners and the developer reached a settlement. In 2014, we were retained by the owners to correct these deficiencies and orchestrate a project that would bring the occupied condo up to code.
Bringing an occupied building up to code can be a significant task. When a new building is built, it is a construction site from start to finish, making it fairly easy to get access to correct any defects. In contrast, correcting defects in an occupied building means the contractor must perform construction activities in someone’s living room—a much more delicate environment than a work site.
The Mosler Lofts project presented additional coordination issues when communicating with tenants who were not owners and whose private units had unique features, such as delicate Venetian plaster walls, large murals, and outdated and unmatchable flooring. With so many variables, our team viewed this project as 148 smaller but overlapping individual projects.
To orchestrate such a large and complex project, our first step was to come up with a effective communication plan that involved all the invested parties. Our goal was to resolve the construction defect in each unit within only 3 or 4 weeks while working in multiple occupied units at once, so precise scheduling was essential. The factor that had the biggest impact on our successful communication was conducting a team preview of each unit that included the consultant, the superintendent, the trades, the liaison, the owner, and any tenants. At these meetings, the parties discussed schedules, reviewed special circumstances, and set expectations.
Construction completion times varied for each unit, but the residents said they felt informed and empowered with a voice about what was happening in their own unit, on their floors, and throughout the building. We made efforts to communicate special circumstances and accommodate the residents quickly and efficiently, saving time, money, and headaches. This approach benefited all parties involved, keeping disruptions to a minimum and the construction schedule on track. While every project in an occupied building is different, good communication is always the critical factor that ensures project success.
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May 6, 2019
Mosler Lofts Condo Association
Building Enclosure Consultant