Glass breaks at ‘cruise ship’ condo
Developer has been sued for spontaneous breakage before
A few months ago, Stephanie Fusco was inside her condo when she heard a large crash from outside. When she opened her balcony door, she found, as she described it, “tons of glass on the balcony.”
“I would say, three or four handfuls,” added Fusco.
So after, she was sent a newsletter on Sept. 8 from the condo board warning of an “unusually high number of balcony glass breakage” and prohibiting children from going out on their balconies. She was ruffled enough to post the letter on her Twitter account.
“It’s definitely unnerving whenever glass is falling, especially in a residential area,” she said.
Fusco and her husband live at the Arc Condos, on Bayview Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East, a 15-storey building that is known for its cruise ship–like design. She has noticed a number of balconies boarded up with plywood around her building, visible from the street and the nearby Bayview Village shopping centre.
The developer, The Daniels Corporation, came under fire after glass panelling fell from its Festival Tower, the 41-storey condo located at 80 John St. above TIFF Bell Lightbox, between May 2010 and August of 2011. This resulted in a $20 million class action lawsuit against the developer, which was approved for trial in 2013.
An Ontario Ministry of Housing report from 2015 on glass balconies stated that there were about 30 incidents of glass guard breakage between 2010 and 2011 on 11 buildings in Toronto.
According to Dale D. Kerr, an engineer with GRG Building Consultants, glass breakage is more likely to occur in newer condos, due SHEPPARD AVE. E. HIGHWAY 401 to nickel sulfide inclusions in tempered glass, which are small contaminations in glass that can expand over time and create stresses in the glass.
When plain tempered glass breaks, it falls down in small chunks from the size of a pencil eraser to that of a dime.
“Probably the worst that should happen is, if somebody happens to be right there and gets hit by little pieces of glass falling, they might get cut,” said Kerr. “But they’re not likely to get killed.”
As a security measure, many condo buildings keep landscaped areas underneath their balconies, and specific requirements prohibit the use of plain tempered glass 150 millimetres from the edge of the balcony, to contain any broken glass on the balcony slab.
The Arc Condos and Daniels Corp could not be reached for comment.
The Arc Condos at Bayview Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East by The Daniels Corporation