17 January, 2012
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The fallout (ah, hum) from the crippling of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant continues in interesting ways. The foundation of a newly constructed 12 unit condominium in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, was completed using rock from a quarry that was placed under the expanded evacuation zone, April 22. The rock has turned out to be radioactive and the entire foundation is now contaminated and leaking into the first two floors.
The kicker – most of the residents there are displaced peoples from the evacuation zone. They don’t seem to be able to get a break.
I guess the next time I hear about a broken pipe or badly installed roofing I should be a little thankful that the in-floor heating is water piping – and not a nice little radioactive pile.
22 December, 2011
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Living in one of the few rat free places in the world, I never fully understand the devastation rats can have on a building or a lifestyle. These little beasties can chew through sheet metal and enjoy swimming through sewer lines and popping up through your toilet!
Now, I’m more concerned over those Norwegian rats (which the Norse must curse the name, as they did not actually originate from Norway), not those small mouse sized rats which have their own condominium developments.
In New York popular lore says there are 4 rats for every human inhabitant. This myth may become something more than true since the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene cut 57 of 84 full-time pest control positions in 2010.
Most condominium and HOA bylaws specifically forbid the ownership or breeding of rats. In this case, I’m fully behind this rule. I’m normally very open for owners to have pets of all types, but rats do pose a significant infestation risk in the case where they may escape. Sorry, I have a strong bias against rats. I highly suggest rat proofing.
I have the greatest sympathy for owners in developing nations. India and Bangladesh both have significant waste and garbage infrastructure deficits. A previous blog post highlighted a condominium corporation in India that initialized its own recycling program to cut down on local unlicensed dumping.
For Suhaila Majid of Titiwangsa Sentral Condominium in Jalan Cemur, Kuala Lumpur, their back lot parking has become a community dumping ground for garbage. This has led to excessive rats invading the grounds.
Singapore residents near a nature reserve have extra visitors every day for their first floor units. The infestation has been going on since 2003, and includes home invasions as the beast go for the food.
For North American condominiums and HOAs, I would think that any long term infestation should show up on an Estoppel, and all exceptional infestations should show up on board minutes.
15 September, 2011
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Sonoma County, North California, banned all smoking in multi-unit residences. This includes not only common property (hallways, parkades, grounds, common rooms and laundries, and more) but private units as well.
It will be phased in over 16 months – with common areas falling under the smoking ban in 180 days, new units a bit later, and then already built private units on 12 January 2013.
I’m a committed non-smoker, but I still find this kind of blanket smoking ban on private residences heavy handed and intrusive. I’ve commented before (here and here) that this is something that should be done at the condominium or HOA level, but not at the municipal level. And even then I’ve been hesitant to support this at all.
It’s rhetorical and silly but I add “should they look at banning ethnic food or outdoor bbqs” – specifically where bbq smoke has been identified as carcinogenetic, and I’ve been well known to whip up a whole kick-ass cloud of that fatty black soot for my neighbours to inhale.
The ruling is good news for the 85% of non-smokers (according to Sonoma County), but I can not wonder if this action is too much an intrusion, and if exemptions can be granted for medial smoking (which is not indicated in the motion).