On Saturday June 23, 2012, a section of the rooftop parking structure collapsed at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Since then, details have emerged that this preventable tragedy was likely the result of many years of mismanagement. It was reported by CBC News that the owner opted to ignore the results of professional investigations and forego the recommended repair work in favour of temporary patchwork repairs carried out by unqualified maintenance staff.
Global TV’s Antony Robart reached out to Martin for his expert opinion on commercial restoration projects and building safety. His interview appeared in two separate News Hour segments, titled “Questions emerge about history of Algo Centre Mall’s roof” aired on June 25th, and “Safety history of the Algo Centre mall” aired on June 26th. You can view these segments below:
The tendency to defer crucial repairs to infrastructure is not a new phenomenon. There is a systemic problem across all levels of private industry and government, when it comes to ensuring that there are sufficient funds set aside or made available for the proper repair and maintenance of infrastructure. Even now, the Gardiner Expressway, one of the City of Toronto’s busiest and well-known highways, is shedding large chunks of concrete, some of which have already struck cars driving underneath, due to several decades of neglect.
Unlike many other types of buildings in the province, condominium developments in Ontario are protected from these sorts of funding problems by the Condominium Act, which necessitates that all condominium corporations maintain a Reserve Fund, for the sole purpose of “funding major repair and replacement of the common elements and assets of the corporation” (i.e. anything that falls outside of the boundaries of the individual units). Though adherence to the Act is not absolute, and many condominium corporations still lack sufficient reserve funds, it is becoming increasingly clear that this type of approach — legally requiring funds to be placed in reserve for major repair and replacement of infrastructure — is becoming increasingly necessary in a city and province faced with aging infrastructure.
Martin Gerskup has over 25 years of experience performing audits and Reserve Fund Studies for condominium corporations in and around the Greater Toronto Area. He is an industry leader in pioneering Reserve Fund Studies that go over and beyond the legally-required minimum 30 year cash flow period, ensuring proper funding for condominium corporations in the long term. For more information on Reserve Fund Studies or anything else mentioned in this post, please feel free to contact us.
Update: July 16, 2012
Since this article was originally published, Martin has been quoted in several additional Global TV interviews, following up on the developing story of the Algo Centre Mall Roof Collapse, which can be seen below:
Global National – EXCLUSIVE: Documents reveal condition of Elliot Lake mall
Global National – New questions about mall engineering report