Residents in Langford’s tallest apartment building are being strongly advised to relocate after the City received a report confirming structural and safety concerns that could cause safety risks to tenants.
The City has temporarily revoked the occupancy permit of the Danbrook One, located at 2766 Claude Rd., until recommended immediate repairs are made. The report, from the internationally recognized engineering firm WSP Global Inc., recommends immediate installation of temporary support to the building.
A summary of the report from WSP said issues with the building are related to the gravity system and the seismic force resisting system.
“The report highlights elements of the gravity system design that indicate a lower than code stipulated factor of safety and where the likely failure mechanism can occur with very little warning,” the summary said.
A full command response centre has been set up at 780 Goldstream Ave. by City of Langford staff to help tenants coordinate temporary hotel accommodation. Tenants are being advised to pack for a minimum of seven days. Pets will also be accommodated and the costs for temporary relocation will be taken care of by the City.
“This is ongoing and engineers are working very hard to come up with a solution and fix the problem but right now we are suggesting everybody should move out,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young.
On Friday evening, residents were visibly upset as they left the building. Some were crying and many were carrying blankets and other possessions as they loaded them into vehicles in the pouring rain.
Ashton Mackinnon has been living in the building since June. He works in the construction industry so he understands what’s going on.
“I know the building isn’t going to fall down tonight,” Mackinnon said.
He has to work tomorrow, so Mackinnon said he’ll spend the night. His partner is taking their dog to a hotel and Mackinnon will join them tomorrow to re-evaluate the options when he has more information.
He also questions why the issue is coming to fruition now, when the first complaints were made in April.
“It’s a very stressful time of year,” Mackinnon said. “It should have been dealt with when it was built.”
Young couldn’t definitively say how long repairs will take, but said the City hopes work can be done right away. He noted that residents aren’t being forced to move out but also said the building owner, Centurion Property Associates, could make a decision to close the building.
Engineers are currently working on solutions, Young said.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation and we’ll worry about the blame in the new year but right now our concentration is on the residents,” Young said.
On Dec. 3, the City received a notice from Engineering and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) about an investigation into one of its members for possible violations to the building code pertaining to the Danbrook One building.
Danbrook One is an 11-storey, 90-unit building with 86 occupied units. Residents moved into the new building in the spring. EGBC is the licensing and regulatory body that is responsible for B.C. professional engineers and geoscientists.
Concerns raised and reviewed by EGBC question whether aspects of the building’s structural design and its as-built structure are enough to mitigate risks to health and safety. After receiving the notice from EGBC, Langford hired WSP to undertake an independent investigation into the building.
The City notified residents of the concerns on Wednesday and some residents already began relocating to hotels the same day and Thursday.
The City has also notified the building owner and property manager that the City suggests tenants relocate.
Tenants who do not feel safe despite anticipated repairs and who want to consider relocating for the long-term will receive assistance in finding a comparable unit. The City will provide financial assistance to cover moving expenses.
Moving companies who have services available are asked to contact City of Langford staff and note their availability. Volunteers with vehicles are also welcome. Those wishing to help can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-857-0314.
Tenants can also reach out to the same e-mail address and phone number to speak with City staff.
The status of the building’s remedial repairs can be found at langford.ca.
– With files from Katherine Engqvist