Town Hall Meetings

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Berkeley Co-op Window Installation Project

The Board's FAQ regarding the window installation project is found at the bottom of this page. 

On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, The Berkeley Board hosted a virtual Town Hall Meeting to provide information and discuss the Berkeley Co-op Window Installation Project.  A second virtual Town Hall with Tindel Windows was held on Tuesday, March 22 to fully explain the process and answer additional questions.

 

If you missed one or both of the Town Halls, you can view recordings of them below before the Board's FAQ.  

Berkeley Co-op Window Installation Project - Town Hall #1, February 2022
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Berkeley Co-op Window Installation Project - Town Hall #2, March 2022
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Berkeley Co-op Window Installation Project - FAQ

We are pleased to advise you that the Board of Directors of Berkowners Inc. has finalized a contract with Tindel Windows to replace all of the windows at the Berkeley. The total cost of this project, in addition to other necessary capital improvements such as the ongoing waterproofing, will be in excess of $5 million.

 

After careful consideration, the Board has put in place a three-step plan to pay for this project, consisting of:
a) drawdown of existing reserve funds;
b) sale of three apartments currently owned by the Cooperative; and,
c) a special assessment.

When our Coop’s underlying mortgage was refinanced in 2018, just over 4 million dollars was taken out of equity. This money was earmarked for the windows. Being that we are in the position of having 16 Treasury-owned units, the Board has decided to only use 3 million of the reserve and sell 3 apartments we have recently gotten back. This allows us to keep a healthy reserve of approximately 2 million.

 

Please see below for a summary of the Board’s thinking on this matter, presented in Q&A format. We will be pleased to discuss this further at the forthcoming Zoom Town Hall Meeting we have scheduled for Tuesday February 22. Invitations for all Shareholders will be forthcoming.

 

Why do we need new windows?

The current windows have reached the end of their useful life. Windows such as ours are expected to last 30 years. Ours are approximately 36 years old. Many Shareholders are dealing with excess noise and drafty air. Some windows are impossible to open or fail to remain open. It is the co-op’s duty to provide working windows that deliver comfort for our Shareholders. And it is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to keep the buildings in shape in the most fiscally responsible manner.

 

How does the window cost break down?

Base window/labor cost: $3.6m

Hallway windows: $250k

Window glazing, double low E with argon (UV ray protection): $130k

Sidewalk shed: $140k

Re-install air conditioners: $130k

     Total: $4.3m

(Costs are approximate)

Describe the planning process. 

In 2019 a Windows Task Force researched architects and the Board evaluated them. Douglas J. Lister was selected. Doug has 30 years experience working on Landmarked buildings. More than 90% of the work at his firm is building facade restoration and roof repair. Doug has a Master of Architecture from Tulane University with a focus in historic preservation. And he has a postgraduate diploma in facade engineering from the University of Bath.

From late 2019 into 2020 Doug prepared drawings and specifications for the window replacements. During that time he inspected approximately 60 apartments that had leaks. A decision was made to do interior waterproofing. After a bidding process NY Contracting was given the job of waterproofing. Eventually more Shareholders reported leaks. As of now about 60 of 100 apartments have had waterproofing. 

How was the bidding process done?

The Board and Doug Lister invited 4 window installation companies to make presentations and bring a sample of the window they would use. We asked 3 of these companies to install windows in one of our empty apartments. Then we asked another company to do an install. We received five bids. Bids were sealed, delivered to the co-op’s architect, and opened simultaneously by the Board and managing agent. Bids ranged from $3.9m to $5.9m. At approximately $4.3m, Tindel’s winning bid was the second from the lowest cost. We decided against the low bid due to the poor quality of the window as installed. Tindel’s bid involved the Northern 5000 series window. (Note that the second highest cost bid included the same window in their proposal.) Aside from costs and materials, we were advised by our architect and managing agent that Tindel has reputation for producing high-quality installation work in New York cooperative buildings with similar constructions to our buildings.

 

Can we see an example of the window? When will work start? How long will it take? How will I receive notification when it is my turn? Who will enter my apartment?

We have a sample of the full window and will be moving it to the basements of each building soon. The contractor will start measuring and fabricating soon. We are hoping the installations to start by summer. It should take about 6 months to complete, assuming 2-3 apartments are done a day. When we get closer to installation, we will have a Zoom for Shareholders to meet a Tindel representative to fully explain the process and answer questions.

Can we pay up for windows with a higher noise reduction grade?

Unfortunately, this will not be possible. This was comprehensively debated by the Board. Ultimately, we relied on the architect’s and installer’s recommendation to keep one window option, for the following reasons:

  1. The Northern 5000 series windows will provide an Outdoor/Indoor Transmission Class (“OITC”) sound attenuation rating of 28 decibels (dB). The “buy-up” option provided windows with a rating of 31dB. While this difference is moderately noticeable to the human ear, we were advised that the difference was not significant enough to introduce extra complexities that would result from different apartments receiving different windows. Those complexities would raise the cost of the whole project, not just the individual apartments.

  2. We have been advised that the base windows, with a fresh, high-quality installation, will provide a significantly improved sound environment over the existing windows.
     

What will happen with my window air conditioners?

Tindel’s bid includes re-installation of any window air conditioner units in place at the time of window installation. Please be advised that rules will be implemented that ensure future air conditioner installations are performed in a manner that does not void the window manufacturer’s warranty.