“Hotel Arras sprinkler failure causes significant water damage - Citizen Times” plus 1 more

“Hotel Arras sprinkler failure causes significant water damage - Citizen Times” plus 1 more


Hotel Arras sprinkler failure causes significant water damage - Citizen Times

Posted: 15 Apr 2021 12:00 AM PDT

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ASHEVILLE - A sprinkler system failure caused significant water damage in multiple condominium units and hotel rooms in the upscale Kimpton Arras Hotel, the city's tallest building and a downtown landmark, according to city of Asheville building permits.

The demolition alone needed to remove damaged materials will run over $400,000, an estimate in the permits shows.

One permit request, for electrical work, was filed April 15 and reads in part: "Due to sprinkler failure, water damage occurred in multiple condo units (15). Because of multiple layered fire walls, drywall, insulation, flooring, cabinets and other non-structural demo is needed to dry out condos correctly."

Another permit, filed April 12 for demolition work, states work is to be done through the building from the ground floor to the 12th floor. It lists 12th floor damages resulting in but not limited to "drywall, insulation, flooring, electrical fixtures, cabinets and contents."

The permit indicates "thermal imagery aided with moisture detection meters."

That permit also states demolition is needed in hallways and maintenance rooms on the 10th and 11th floors, as well as multiple rooms on each of the floors from the ninth to the fourth. Hallways and housekeeping rooms also need work.

The Kimpton Arras opened in October 2019 after a four-year renovation and upgrade of the former BB&T bank and office building that stripped the 17-story building down to its steel framework. It's now considered 19 stories because of changes to an upper mechanical room and a basement level.

More: Asheville's tallest building changing face of downtown again

The Arras includes 128 hotel rooms and 54 one- and two-bedroom condominiums, with the condos boasting initial sales prices from $600,000-$1.7 million. The building also has two restaurants, Bargello and District 42, as well as a fitness center, meeting room space and in-room products by local vendors.

Hotel rooms, according to an online search for late May, start at $502 a night.

The Citizen Times on April 28 emailed a list of questions to the McKibbon Hospitality Group, which manages the property, including what caused the sprinkler failure, the extent of damages and if residents have been displaced. In response, McKibbon Communications Manager Sarah Shellabarger sent a two-sentence reply.

More: Asheville became a top tourism destination, then banned new hotels. How did we get here?

"While a subcontractor was working on the sprinkler system, a leak developed, damaging a number of residences and hotel rooms," Shellabarger said via email. "None of the major mechanical systems were compromised and the hotel and restaurants remain fully operational."

Permits on file list the cost of work for the demolition as $410,000. Mountain Restoration Services Inc. is handling the demolition work.

Permits also indicate the city, through the Fire Marshal's Office, issued a stop work order on the sprinkler system. It states Cleveland Construction was doing work without a fire sprinkler permit.

Deputy Fire Chief Christopher B. Budzinski said the city conducted and approved the fire sprinkler system in August 2020.

"After the final permit was issued, a sprinkler system issue caused a fire alarm activation on April 6, 2021," Budzinski said via email. "Due to the fire alarm investigation, the Fire Marshal's Office was notified of unpermitted work that had occurred on the fire sprinkler system."

The Fire Marshal's Office issued a stop-work order April 16, "which requires any further work on the system to be reviewed and permitted. Currently, a permit has been applied for and is in the plan review process," Budzinski said. 

More: Asheville hotelier McKibbon criticizes city leaders: 'Allowed vandals, thugs to run amok'

The transformation of the BB&T into the Kimpton Arras spanned four years. 

Developers have not stated the cost to renovate the building, though hotelier John McKibbon, a partner in the project, told the Citizen Times in 2017 it would have been far cheaper to tear down the BB&T and build anew, but he felt it unlikely the city would agree to a development with the former structure's height. McKibbon purchased the building, originally finished in the mid-1960s, for $7.5 million.

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Tribunal quashes small claim from owner of water-damaged strata unit - Canadian Underwriter

Posted: 29 Apr 2021 12:54 PM PDT

Your client owns a strata apartment in a high-rise. Water starts coming in from the ceiling from the unit above. The night security guard visits the higher of the two units but neither the occupant nor the security guard can find the source of the leak. Should the owner be liable if a plumber does not respond immediately?

In the case of Alameer v. Zhang, released Tuesday by the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal, the answer was no.

Hadeel Alameer owns a strata unit, [number 707 in the building] in which her tenant reported water coming in from the ceiling on May 18, 2020.

The resulting damage cost Alameer $5,318.67. She took Yi Zhang, the owner of unit number 807, to the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Alameer did not have insurance coverage for her costs, which included drywall, paint, flooring and emergency drying.

Alameer's claim was dismissed.

iStock.com/Motortion

The night that Alameer's tenant reported the leak coming from above, Alameer contacted the strata's night security guard. Zhang's father — who was home in unit 807 at the time — let the security guard in. Both Zhang's father and the security guard tried but could not locate a leak in unit 807.

So Zhang contacted a plumber the same night, who said they would come the following day.

The morning of May 19, the plumber that Zhang called went to both units 707 and 807. Eventually, the plumber eventually identified a leaking hot water pipe inside a wall within a closet next to a bedroom in unit 807. The plumber repaired the pipe.

Evidence before the CRT included a letter from the plumbing firm to the strata corporation.

"The plumber stated the bedroom floor appeared dry until they 'neared the far end of the clothes closet'. It was when the plumber opened the closet door that they discovered 'a flood in the compartment' which eventually led to the leaking hot water pipe," CRT member J. Garth Cambrey wrote in the ruling.

Alameer argued that Zhang should be liable — an argument the CRT ultimately rejected.

Alameer argued that if the plumber came to unit 807 the evening of May 18 instead of the following day, then the damage to the unit she owned would have been minimal.

Zhang countered that it was the plumbing contractor who decided to wait until the following day and that it was not reasonable to expect her father and the security guard to identify the leak in her unit.

"Because the leaking pipe was inside a wall and largely confined to a closet, I find it was reasonable that the source could not be located by visible inspection," wrote Cambrey.

The letter from the plumbing contractor indicates the plumber had difficultly locating the leak the following day, Cambrey noted. Cambrey also found that Alameer did not prove that had the leak source been identified the night of the 18th, less damage would have been caused to Alameer's unit.

No photographs or other evidence was provided to the CRT allowing Cambrey to compare the extent of the damage existing in the evening May 18, 2020 to that on the morning of May 19, 2020, Cambrey wrote.

The day after the plumber came to Zhang's unit, both Zhang and Alameer were told by the strata corporation that the pipe repair was not the strata corporation's responsibility and that the strata corporation's insurance would not cover it because of the $250,000 deductible.

Alameer' s claim before the CRT was $5,000, or nearly $319 lower than her actual cost. One issue before the CRT was whether or not the dispute is a strata property dispute under the provincial rules. Unlike many small claims, strata property disputes are not limited with the CRT to awards of $5,000. Ultimately, Cambrey found that the dispute fell under CRT's small claims jurisdiction rather than its jurisdiction for strata properties.

Claims involving two strata unit owners do not necessarily fall under strata property rules because there can also be an independent basis of tort, noted Cambrey.

Alameer initially filed her claim as a strata property claim. During the CRT's facilitation process, the case manager cautioned the parties that the claim may not be within the CRT's strata property jurisdiction, and were asked to address this jurisdictional issue in their respective submissions. However, neither party did so.

Feature image via iStock.com/Vadym Plysiuk

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