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  1. #1
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    Default Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?
    Could someone, perhaps a Home Inspector or an Architect, advise me on this. There is a condominium unit with a bedroom that has no window to the outside (outdoors), yet it has an emergency exit door right from that bedroom that opens into a staircase that does not seem to have opening windows either. Also that master bedroom has two typical glass-block "windows" each containing 9 glass-blocks on a wall that goes out to an indoors public corridor and on the corridor's wall there are same-sized glass windows directly in front of the glass block windows. So basically this condo's master bedroom has only those glass block windows, but no (opening) windows or even doors to the outside that would allow fresh air in. Is this kind of bedroom considered a bedroom in South Carolina (Columbia)? Does that make the condo's value lower? How many bedrooms have you seen or exist that have no window whatsoever in a master or any bedroom to get fresh air in? Thanks in advance for your advise.


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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?
    Could someone, perhaps a Home Inspector or an Architect, advise me on this. There is a condominium unit with a bedroom that has no window to the outside (outdoors), yet it has an emergency exit door right from that bedroom that opens into a staircase that does not seem to have opening windows either. Also that master bedroom has two typical glass-block "windows" each containing 9 glass-blocks on a wall that goes out to an indoors public corridor and on the corridor's wall there are same-sized glass windows directly in front of the glass block windows. So basically this condo's master bedroom has only those glass block windows, but no (opening) windows or even doors to the outside that would allow fresh air in. Is this kind of bedroom considered a bedroom in South Carolina (Columbia)? Does that make the condo's value lower? How many bedrooms have you seen or exist that have no window whatsoever in a master or any bedroom to get fresh air in? Thanks in advance for your advise.
    Medicondo: Claustrophobic, but likely compliant.

    R303.1 Habitable rooms. All habitable rooms shall have an
    aggregate glazing area of not less than 8 percent of the floor
    area of such rooms. Natural ventilation shall be through windows,
    doors, louvers or other approved openings to the outdoor
    air. Such openings shall be provided with ready access or shall
    otherwise be readily controllable by the building occupants.
    The minimum openable area to the outdoors shall be 4 percent
    of the floor area being ventilated.
    Exceptions:
    1. The glazed areas need not be openable where the opening
    is not required by Section R310 and an approved
    mechanical ventilation system capable of producing
    0.35 air change per hour in the room is installed or a
    whole-house mechanical ventilation system is installed
    capable of supplying outdoor ventilation air of 15 cubic
    feet per minute (cfm) (78 L/s) per occupant computed
    on the basis of two occupants for the first bedroom and
    one occupant for each additional bedroom.
    2. The glazed areas need not be installed in rooms where
    Exception 1 above is satisfied and artificial light is provided
    capable of producing an average illumination of
    6 footcandles (65 lux) over the area of the room at a
    height of 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor level.
    3. Use of sunroom additions and patio covers, as defined in
    Section R202, shall be permitted for natural ventilation
    if in excess of 40 percent of the exterior sunroom walls
    are open, or are enclosed only by insect screening.
    All habitable rooms are to be constructed with an aggregate
    glazing area of 8 percent of the floor area, with
    a minimal openable area of 4 percent of the floor area
    being ventilated. The purpose of the glazing and the
    portion that is openable is to provide both natural light
    and ventilation for habitable spaces.
    Three exceptions modify the requirement of Section
    R303.1. Exception 1 permits the glazed area to be
    fixed or “not openable” when an approved mechanical
    ventilation system or whole-house mechanical ventilation
    system is installed. The mechanical ventilation
    system must provide a 35-percent air change per hour
    in each habitable room. As an example, if a bedroom is
    10 feet by 12 feet (3048 mm by 3658 mm) with an 8
    foot (2438 mm) ceiling height, the air change per hour
    would be as follows:
    10 x 12 x 8 = 960 cubic feet
    960 x 0.35 = 333 cubic feet/hour
    or 5.55 cubic feet/minute
    The whole-house mechanical ventilation system
    must provide outdoor ventilation at the rate of 15 cubic
    feet per minute (7.08 L/s) per occupant, based on two
    occupants in the first bedroom and one occupant in
    each additional bedroom. Thus, a three bedroom
    dwelling unit would require the whole-house ventilation
    to provide outdoor ventilation at the rate of 60 cfm.
    This is calculated as follows:
    First Bedroom – 2 Occupants
    Second Bedroom – 1 Occupant
    Third Bedroom – 1 Occupant
    Total Occupants – 4 Occupants
    4 x 15 cfm = 60 cfm (28.32 L/s)
    Exception 2 to Section R301.1 allows glazing to be
    completely deleted from habitable rooms where artificial
    light is available that is capable of producing an
    average illumination of 6 foot candles (6.46 lux) over
    the room at a height of 30 inches (762 mm) above the
    floor level and where a mechanical or whole-house
    mechanical ventilation system complying with Exception
    1 to Section R303.1 is installed.
    Exception 3 allows for the openings in a Category I
    sunroom (those in which more than 40 percent of the
    exterior sunroom walls is open) to provide natural
    ventilation when the exterior walls of the sunroom are
    open. Insect screening for these seasonal rooms is
    also acceptable to make use of this exception.
    Calculations should be submitted for review for
    each of the exceptions. Various handbooks are available
    from various lighting manufacturers for calculating
    the required illumination.


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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Uhmm, aren't you forgetting the Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings part for bedrooms??

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    Uhmm, aren't you forgetting the Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings part for bedrooms??
    Erby: Yes. I was only addressing the lighting issue. I hadn't yet unstuck my eyelids when I read the original post. It would not be compliant regarding the emergency egress issue, since the corridor is interior. So then, it is both claustrophobic and a death trap.

    R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.
    Basements
    and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency
    escape and rescue opening. Such opening shall open
    directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where
    basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency
    egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping
    room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement.
    Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided
    they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches
    (1118 mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a
    threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an
    emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a
    bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with
    Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by
    this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the
    emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency
    escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height
    below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a
    window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency
    escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public
    way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.




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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    From the 2006 IBC - Note: the IRC does not apply to that building.

    Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required.

    To my knowledge, there is no exception from the requirements for Natural Ventilation (1203.4 - the same 4% as in the IRC) and Natural Lighting (1205 - the same 8% as in the IRC).

    From the 2006 IRC, which South Carolina uses also.
    - SECTION 403
    - - HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS
    - - - 403.1 Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply to buildings with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

    - - - 403.4 Emergency escape and rescue. Emergency escape and rescue openings required by Section 1026 are not required.

    I started to post code references for all applicable sections, but this post would have been unwieldy in size and content, and not readable.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    From the 2006 IBC - Note: the IRC does not apply to that building.

    Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required.

    To my knowledge, there is no exception from the requirements for Natural Ventilation (1203.4 - the same 4% as in the IRC) and Natural Lighting (1205 - the same 8% as in the IRC).

    From the 2006 IRC, which South Carolina uses also.
    - SECTION 403
    - - HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS
    - - - 403.1 Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply to buildings with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

    - - - 403.4 Emergency escape and rescue. Emergency escape and rescue openings required by Section 1026 are not required.

    I started to post code references for all applicable sections, but this post would have been unwieldy in size and content, and not readable.
    JP: I won't revisit the condo discussion with you - it's a waste of time. I would like to know though, since you believe this comes under IBC and not IRC, how is it that the ICC can justify providing less protection for condo dwellers than for single-family dwellers?


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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: I won't revisit the condo discussion with you - it's a waste of time. I would like to know though, since you believe this comes under IBC and not IRC, how is it that the ICC can justify providing less protection for condo dwellers than for single-family dwellers?
    Because it is not "less protection".

    Those buildings should be fully sprinklered, and have fire-resistance rated separation walls, with fire-resistance rated egress corridors, with even greater fire-resistance rated enclosed stairways, which are required to have a fan come on automatically and pressurize the stairways to keep the smoke out, etc.

    You noticed, I am sure, my reference to:
    - SECTION 403
    - - HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS
    - - - 403.1 Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply to buildings with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

    Are you going to climb out of your unit and onto a ladder from, say, the 23rd floor, located about 250 feet above the ground?

    What I'm curious about is the "window" and the "glass block" in the wall which separates the master bedroom from the corridor, unless that corridor is "outdoors".

    I did some fill-in inspections on a similar structure in the Florida Panhandle, and one bedroom did not have a window (for natural light and ventilation), I asked to building department I was helping out where that was allowed in the code and they said 'We have all of our plans reviewed by the ICC, I'll check for you.' The answer was that, being as that bedroom abutted an exterior corridor, and the building was at metal stud framing stage, that windows were going to be added into those exterior walls, that they were just missed on plan review - some units had windows in those walls, others did not, it was an oversight on the type of units which did not have the windows in that wall. As it turned out, each of the units without those window were the same type unit, and that had just been missed
    on plan review. Really was not a terrible error to correct, 2 units per floor, 6 floors (it was a 7 story building with the first floor containing the amenities, offices, guard desk, grand entry, etc., with only a few units on the first floor) so 12 extra windows was not too bad to have to cover.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Thank you for your comments and information. I'm a potential buyer of the unit yet the no ventilation window in the master bedroom is a big turn off. Let me put in some more details to make sure I get the right answers:

    The condos website: www . loftsatbowercommons . com

    The unit probably has some kind of ventilation solution for the bedroom, yet the only thing I can see is A/C opening grill on the ceiling.

    The unithas no bedroom window (except two small 9-glass-block windows) is in the unit on the first (second; middle) floor in the middle building with an encased loggia (covered balcony). It is the most beautiful unit yet I believe it's value is lowered, so is the value of the rest of the development by several possible mistakes made by the developers.

    The condos are right in front of a huge shopping area and in the middle of all kinds of malls, stores etc. The buildings as you can see have 2(3) floors) with entrance on the rear.

    Now about the unit. The unit has an "outdoor" (yet indoors) corridor and stairs encasing almost two walls of the bedroom. If you can see on the website (I haven't checked it), it's the unit # 204. So there is no outside staircase or totally indoors corridor, yet that corridor (or a walkway) is separated from outdoors by an exterior wall. The corridor has no in any way openings to the outdoors apart of small windows (not sure if they open). The bedroom has the emergency exit door in the back corner of it thus making furniture arrangement very difficult and a tough task. There are sprinklers (covered with plastic white circled covers) I think in every room. There is A/C. Yet the only "ventilation" is to open a living room balcony door or balcony window and wait until the entire unit gets fresh air sending fresh air via the narrow corridor deep into the master bedroom in the back of the unit. One could open the emergency door in the bedroom (weird) and then walk the corridor/walkway (which is not open to outdoors yet it has outdoors wall) then walk down the stairs, open the security coded door and leave it open (can one do that? other residents may protest) to let fresh air into their bedroom, also releasing any possible smell from it.

    I believe the developers "ruined" their entire project with this unit (2 of these are there) which has the most beautiful loggia and the view to the shopping area. Also some of the faux windows are covered with wood "mosaic" which looks rather like a storage building. Behind the faux windows are either closets or something else. The roof is flat yet has accent roofs in the front like an undersized hat on the front of your head.
    Not a big problem, can live with that. The biggest one is lack of window to get fresh air into the master bedroom.

    I'm not a construction specialist. Can somehow the unit's 204 bedroom window problem be solved (by actually making a window to outdoors by reconstructing part of that building in the back? Is that possible? How much would that cost?

    P.S. Here's the floor plan of that unit: The Lofts at Bower Commons - Luxury Condominiums in Columbia, South Carolina - you can notice the two small "windows" in the back wall of the master bedroom as well as the escape door.

    Last edited by medicondo; 03-16-2009 at 07:46 PM.

  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    medicondo

    I love it................Location.......Earth. Light up another one for the rest of us!


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because it is not "less protection".

    Those buildings should be fully sprinklered, and have fire-resistance rated separation walls, with fire-resistance rated egress corridors, with even greater fire-resistance rated enclosed stairways, which are required to have a fan come on automatically and pressurize the stairways to keep the smoke out, etc.

    You noticed, I am sure, my reference to:
    - SECTION 403
    - - HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS
    - - - 403.1 Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply to buildings with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

    Are you going to climb out of your unit and onto a ladder from, say, the 23rd floor, located about 250 feet above the ground?

    What I'm curious about is the "window" and the "glass block" in the wall which separates the master bedroom from the corridor, unless that corridor is "outdoors".

    I did some fill-in inspections on a similar structure in the Florida Panhandle, and one bedroom did not have a window (for natural light and ventilation), I asked to building department I was helping out where that was allowed in the code and they said 'We have all of our plans reviewed by the ICC, I'll check for you.' The answer was that, being as that bedroom abutted an exterior corridor, and the building was at metal stud framing stage, that windows were going to be added into those exterior walls, that they were just missed on plan review - some units had windows in those walls, others did not, it was an oversight on the type of units which did not have the windows in that wall. As it turned out, each of the units without those window were the same type unit, and that had just been missed
    on plan review. Really was not a terrible error to correct, 2 units per floor, 6 floors (it was a 7 story building with the first floor containing the amenities, offices, guard desk, grand entry, etc., with only a few units on the first floor) so 12 extra windows was not too bad to have to cover.
    JP: Of course the fact that, in reality, this building is, like most "condminiums" in my experience, only three stories, does more or less rend asunder your proclamations.

    I vote that you should venture into parachute sales. That is, after all, why they were invented: to help folks escape smoke being blown on high.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Of course the fact that, in reality, this building is, like most "condminiums" in my experience, only three stories, does more or less rend asunder your proclamations.

    I vote that you should venture into parachute sales. That is, after all, why they were invented: to help folks escape smoke being blown on high.

    Well, ... I'm not a "smoke jumper", and with the information given, how was I to know it was not a high-rise?

    That said, ... it is not a high-rise ...

    I started to say that "a little information would have been helpful", but, what we had was "a little information" and it was not at all helpful, was it?

    Sooo ... I've got to not assume it was a high-rise and assume it was a low-to-mid-rise. Being as I have seen more high-rise condos than low-rise and mid-rise condos, I opted for the one I was most familiar with.

    How many ways are there to say 'oops, I assumed incorrectly, didn't I'?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    I'm a potential buyer of the unit yet the no ventilation window in the master bedroom is a huge and probably critical turn off, a dealbreaker to me.

    which is a dealbreaker.
    That common theme runs through your post - deal breaker.

    I suspect you are more in the category of "former" "potential buyer", which, from your descriptions of you dislikes and what is there, might just be a good thing for you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That common theme runs through your post - deal breaker.

    I suspect you are more in the category of "former" "potential buyer", which, from your descriptions of you dislikes and what is there, might just be a good thing for you.
    I wonder if there is a true professional among you, who could comment (without little flamings and fights between yourself that spill out onto your customers sometimes) not to about me who i am, or not to help me decide (to buy or not to buy), but to comment on the unit and the "features". I'm not here to find a YES or NO answer or a go-ahead or to help me to break the deal encouragement. No. I'm here to discuss and to ask how many of you saw a luxury condo with no window and an escape door next to a headboard of a bed and whether it is accordingly to SC building code. To discuss possibilities whether such a condo can be rebuilt to add a window, etc. I'm not a construction specialist, once again. Then I will decide myself silently whatever decision I have to make. I mentioned the word dealbreaker, because it's a part of investment and a possible dealbreaker for everyone, not just me. It is not supposed to be a question on what I am supposed to do. So please at least one professional be a professional.

    Last edited by medicondo; 03-16-2009 at 10:30 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    1 not bedrooms regardless of code section applied
    2 sounds like horrible place why would you want to buy into such problems
    3 why are you looking into a solution for the developers problems
    4 I do lots of condos RUN Away
    5 the amount of info you states makes me wonder

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
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  15. #15
    medicondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    1 not bedrooms regardless of code section applied
    2 sounds like horrible place why would you want to buy into such problems
    3 why are you looking into a solution for the developers problems
    4 I do lots of condos RUN Away
    5 the amount of info you states makes me wonder
    Response to your # 5. It is because I am interested in the 1. The Location; 2. The loggia/balcony; 3. The living room; Why would I want to help solve developers problems? Cause I don't want them to repeat them in our area, cause I care. You should be the ones who should care most that developers don't waste time building something like that which has golden head and a rotten tail. Finally I provide lots of info only in my second post. It is because I realise how important is for you The Professionals to know all the detail before you make the correct "assessment" of the "issue"or whatever it is called in English. Sorry, my English is not perfect. I know, developers hate when a customer points out their weak points, so I don't expect developers to discuss it with me, perhaps neutral persons should, such as Home Inspectors.

    P.S. I used to live in Chicago for several years.

    Last edited by medicondo; 03-16-2009 at 05:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    First I had to remove the fluff which was added, but was not wanted us to comment on (then why add it?)

    Second, I would not work for a client such as you appear to be as my clients wanted my opinion, which I backed up with code, and it appears you want ... well, not quite sure what you want, other than you want to be told what you want to hear, but you are not giving us enough information to determine what it is you want to hear.

    So be it.

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    I wonder if there is a true professional among you, who could comment ..., but to comment on the unit and the "features".
    We are not here to comment on "features". If you like the balcony, so be it. If you did not like the balcony, you would not be interested in it.

    Home inspectors are not there to try to sell you on "features", that is what real estate agents do.

    No. I'm here to discuss and to ask how many of you saw a luxury condo with no window and an escape door next to a headboard of a bed and whether it is accordingly to SC building code.
    We answered that, but here goes again:

    Yep, seen them before, had them corrected before too.

    An escape door next to a headboard is not a bad idea, in fact, safety-wise, it is a good idea. It is up to you to decide if *you* like it there or dislike it there.

    Without sufficient information, such as 'is the entire building equipped with an approved automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2", which would exempt out the requirement for an EERO.

    Such as 'does the door from the bedroom lead to "a fire-resistance rated corridor having access to two remote exits in opposite directions", which would exempt out the requirement for an EERO.

    There is a listing of 7 things we would need to know to even remotely be able to decide if that meets SC codes.

    To discuss possibilities whether such a condo can be rebuilt to add a window, etc.
    Everything *can* be done, whether or not the condo association would give you permission or not is beyond what we can advise you of.

    I mentioned the word dealbreaker, because it's a part of investment and a possible dealbreaker for everyone, not just me. It is not supposed to be a question on what I am supposed to do. So please at least one professional be a professional and not an old gossiper
    You mentioned the word "dealbreaker" many times, enough to imply that your intent was same.

    If your intent is not that, then you could have used other wording.

    Sorry in advance for you not liking my response, but you did ask the questions and you did not want other information included.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
    medicondo's Avatar
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    Default What could be the solution for the fresh air intake?

    Jerry,

    these are best words:

    "Yep, seen them before, had them corrected before too."

    Brief and simple. The code may not be music to my untrained ears. All I wanted to know. Sorry for my failed English, I thought that windows or escape doors were some kind of "features" too. You name it, please. You corrected me and thanks. I am not an native English speaker. It's hard to ask questions to native English speakers, let alone to argue with (them).

    I have re(a)d the code and all posts, yet I didn't find simple facts like the one above. All I wanted to know that you've seen them before and that you corrected them and since yo know how to correct them, the most important what SOLUTION could you advise that can be applied, cause I'm still interested in the unit. And yes, I understand you are not a/the real estate agent.

    Regarding an escape door in a bedroom next to your pillow, well, it means one has to keep the door area free of furniture, which means no king size or even queen size bed fits into the 12 feet wide area deducting about 4 ft. for the door remains 8 feet for the bed (in a Master Bedroom of a Luxury Unit) and the side tables (you name it). That's the smaller problem. The bigger problem is lack of fresh air in the bedroom. And I don't mean to criticise, but to find a SOLUTION how to fix it. How to get a window in there and how to get instant fresh air in that M/B without pulling it via ventilation ducts or A/C. Also how to solve the privacy issue and the sound-proofing of the door, but the main issue here is fresh air (window). Sorry for not using a perfect Engllish. I try my best to spell and grammar. I've seen native speakers spell worse.

    P.S. There are sprinklers in the ceiling of every room (hidden under plastic caps).

    Regarding fixes I don't mean to buy it and then fix it. I mean, they fix it and then I buy it yet I want to suggest them what can/should be done before I buy it. So the condo assoc. permission is their business.

    Yes, I mentioned "dealbreaker" like a parrot, I guess, yet I did not mean I'm buying from you or am not buying at all, I meant I don't want to break the deal because of the window/door issue and I am seeking help how to solve and fix it.

    I must also note that I'm not a reseller, agent or anyone who gains from all this. If I bought that condo it would not be for resale, but for a main residence. So your help will not go to anyone's profit and it is appreciated.

    Also I want to thank everyone who responded to my post and provided excellent information.

    Regards,

    Medi


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    medicondo

    I love it................Location.......Earth. Light up another one for the rest of us!
    I hope you really love it... :-) yet my precise location is Columbia, South Carolina and it's not an attractive area for most people to move to, yet i like it.

    Last edited by medicondo; 03-16-2009 at 08:32 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What could be the solution for the fresh air intake?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    All I wanted to know that you've seen them before and that you corrected them and since yo know how to correct them, the most important what SOLUTION could you advise that can be applied, cause I'm still interested in the unit. And yes, I understand you are not a/the real estate agent.
    All "problems" can be fixed.

    From the web page, these are "pre-construction", and if still "pre-construction", or not far along, then, yes, correction is still "possible".

    I say "possible" because it depends you the units exact plan and that of the building. The floor plan and building layout on the web page were less than helpful.

    In the ones I've had corrected before, the corridor was an "open to outdoors" corridor.

    Your description defined that as "The unit has an "outdoor" (yet indoors) corridor and stairs", which leaves me slightly puzzled.

    Not to worry about English, I was born here in the States and all I know is English, and I still have problems with it.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: What could be the solution for the fresh air intake?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    All "problems" can be fixed.

    From the web page, these are "pre-construction", and if still "pre-construction", or not far along, then, yes, correction is still "possible".

    I say "possible" because it depends you the units exact plan and that of the building. The floor plan and building layout on the web page were less than helpful.

    In the ones I've had corrected before, the corridor was an "open to outdoors" corridor.

    Your description defined that as "The unit has an "outdoor" (yet indoors) corridor and stairs", which leaves me slightly puzzled.

    Not to worry about English, I was born here in the States and all I know is English, and I still have problems with it.
    Take a look at the unit layout plan that lists # 204 and a few others:

    The Lofts at Bower Commons - Luxury Condominiums in Columbia, South Carolina

    Now take a look at this plan of the entire development:

    The Lofts at Bower Commons - Luxury Condominiums in Columbia, South Carolina

    At the end of the Flat # 204 (beyond it, across the corridor in the back of it) you will see the punctuated line (wall) that is an outside wall of the public/common corridor that leads to other flats and to the stairs that go down to the main entrance for these couple flats. So the Unit's # 204 master bedroom's back wall is also a wall of the corridor which is completely enclosed indoors. Another wall of that corridor is also an outside wall of the entire build, a supporting wall. The niche intruding into the unit # 204 is not part of the condo. It is some kind of public storage or tech. area. Or perhaps that's the elevator! That wall has many small rectangular square windows with glass in them and is heated in that corridor by a wall A/C unit. So the corridor behind the master bedroom is a shared corridor to enter the flats and also it is cxommon heated space. How do I explain?

    Yes, the Master Bedroom has a closet. Of course it does. Yet that closet's walls do not face to the outside. The entire unit only has windows to the outside on the front of it (facing South). It should be made shorter, perhaps a one bedroom or a studio unit. One could buy it as a 1 bedroom and remodel the master bedroom into a huge walk in closet or a huge bathroom. Anything but a bedroom.

    And since this unit # 204 is in the middle floor sandwiched between a future coffee shop and a third floor condo townhouse unit (that has it's living room and kitchen on a second floor) then to me a fix is unlikely unless they hire a professional architect, who does not put them in trouble again. Why I think so, because if you eliminate that corridor them how other flats residents are gonna get into their flats? The only solution is to rip off some or all of the back wall of the entire building and build on some solution. This is why I posted here in hopes someone has an idea.

    My only idea is to re-register this flat as a 1 bedroom flat with a huge closet in the back of it or simply rip out some walls and completely reorganise it, yet that will still not bring windows into the back of it, because the back of it intrudes "too deep" into the building allowing little for ventilation.

    One could open the living room's windows and let the entire unit cool down (in winter) or heat up (in summer), but that'd cost some money to every time re-heat or re-cool the entire flat (condo). So, if this unit was less costly one would probably just live with the problem (until they get sick from mold in the master bedroom - I have one bad experience living in an unvented bedroom in Florida). The thing is - the developers took good land and made a rather inferior product, which needs to be fixed. I am not giving it up, yet I need to find some solution how to get a lot of fresh air into the M/B at a reasonable cost (if I buy it or rent it).

    Another fact - 10 units (as stated) were sold, 6 remaining. Yet I haven't seen anyone living there yet. Also the owner of the "no window" unit is selling it below cost. Not sure if it is good time to reconstruct the parts of the building now. Is it?

    So it's a puzzle to you developers.

    :-)


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    First, let's start here:

    Is the attached drawing (I overlaid the unit floor plan over the building layout plan) what you have?

    What is the back wall?

    I see at least one egress doors which swing the wrong direction and interferes with another egress door. Also, I see some other doors which will likely *not* open as far as required.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Jerry,

    You got the glass block thing right (red line). That's exactly where those two glass block "windows" (each making up a 3 x 3 glass blocks rectangular; no ventilation or opening, just glass blocks) are on a bedroom wall going out into the indoors corridor (walkway).

    Next to the master bedroom I believe is an elevator (lift) well/door. It adds noise to the master bedroom, but in this case that's not the discussion point.

    The "L" shaped wall you marked red is a solid wall and those "openings" are actually windows with normal glass (not sure if they open, probably not) and those windows are about 2 x 2 ft. in size (small) rectangular/square. They are same size as the master bedroom's glass block "windows", so the light is helped to come into the Unit # 204's master bedroom a little bit. So that wall that looks like punctuated thick line is indeed a supporting, outside, main wall of the building, nothing that let's air in.

    I think egress door in the master bedroom opens inwards into the bedroom. Yet I'm not sure, it is possible that it opens outwards into the corridor. I don't remember.

    The blue line marks correctly the main entry to the unit, the stairs (right) that go up (marked by you as "DN") to the entrance to the Unit # 204 and some other stairs (left) that I'm not sure about. Also the corridor sandwiched between the unit's 204 master bedroom and the supporting rear wall of the building (with tiny windows which face North).

    Please note that the stairs marked "DN" actually go up to the door of the Unit # 204. You enter the secure-coded door at the ground level and walk straight up and slightly left to the Unit # 204 main entry doors.

    Thanks

    M/C


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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What is the back wall?
    I found the answer in your post:
    That wall has many small rectangular square windows with glass in them and is heated in that corridor by a wall A/C unit. So the corridor behind the master bedroom is a shared corridor to enter the flats and also it is cxommon heated space
    That common corridor is required as there must be two separate and distinct means of egress in two different directions, that corridor connects the units on each side of the two stairs with the two stairs, allowing for two egress exits.

    The only way I see out of this problem is to remove the windows in that back wall and make that interior corridor into an exterior corridor.

    Opening that up exposes the back of your unit to the outdoors, so your unit can obtain natural light and ventilation by replacing the master bedroom glass block with operable windows.

    Of course, though, opening those back wall windows up into openings creates its own problems as it would then change the dynamics of the entire structure vertically above and below.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-16-2009 at 10:26 PM. Reason: I was typing when you answered with your post
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Revised drawings showing down where down is.

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  25. #25
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    Default Let's assume we're on fire

    Let me tell you the "trick" how to get out of this Unit # 204 and out of this building. You either take the main entry doors and run (or fall) down the long stairs (don't injure yourself) and the exit is rapid. Or, you can push your bed side table aside, unlock your master bedroom's door, open it (watch out for running neighbors if the door opens outwards or your teeth if inwards), then run right around the corner, down the corridor, open the door, turn right, then run all the way down that corridor (going South now) then turn right, turn right again, then run/fall down the long stairs and exit the building. Would you make it alive out of your master bedroom's escape door or rather fight the fire and get out of your main entry doors instead? Now there's a big chance that if you can't get through to your main entry doors inside of your unit, there's a chance that the rear exit all the way around your flat is on fire as well and no exit is possible. Yet the tiny corridor windows are either too high up or too small, or even worse, they don't open. And your windowless bedroom is all full of smoke and smoke has nowhere to go. Wouldn't you get confused which way to run in case of emergency? I vote for the main exit. The rear exit is nearly useless. So how does one get out of the building fast and safely in case if they need to get out of the rear exit? Ask the Architect!


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Revised drawings showing down where down is.
    Yes, exactly, and the exit is straight down the stairs with no turns. I believe that exit/entrance is the only exit/entry point for the entire sandwiched building.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    I think egress door in the master bedroom opens inwards into the bedroom.

    The door from the master is shown as opening inward, however, the corridor outside the master bedroom is shown swinging against the direction of egress, it should swing with the direction of egress.

    Also, when a door opens, it should not block more than 50% of the required width of a corridor at any point in its swing, and, when fully opened, it is not allowed to project from the wall greater than 7".

    The only "easy" solution I see right now, and it is not by any means "easy", is to simply go back over the design (for fire rating, building finishes, weather resistance, exterior walls, etc., with the windows in the rear wall "removed" and see if it is even a possible correction.

    "Structurally", removing the windows harms nothing with regard to supporting the structure above.

    "Structurally", removing the windows takes some of the wind loads off that wall and places them on all the walls which are now exposed to the outdoor air.

    "Thermally" if affects the insulation required in the walls.

    There are many other things which removing those windows would affect, not the least of which is that corridor is drywalled now and the interior of that corridor, flooring, walls, ceiling, lights, everything, would need to be outdoor rated.

    Like I said, just because removing the windows is "easy" does not mean it is an "easy" thing to accomplish.

    It's too late tonight to even try to think about all the things which that would affect, but ... it is one "option".

    And it would solve your problems (while creating a host of other problems).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Let's assume we're on fire

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    Would you make it alive out of your master bedroom's escape door or rather fight the fire and get out of your main entry doors instead? Now there's a big chance that if you can't get through to your main entry doors inside of your unit, there's a chance that the rear exit all the way around your flat is on fire as well and no exit is possible.

    "Now there's a big chance that if you can't get through to your main entry doors inside of your unit, there's a chance that the rear exit all the way around your flat is on fire as well and no exit is possible"

    Incorrect.

    There is a slim chance of that. That is what those corridor doors are for, they separate the stairways from each other, it there is a fire in the corridor, you can exit either way. If there is a fire in the stairway to the right, you can exit the master bedroom. If there is a fire in the stairway to the left, you can exit the main entry doors.

    If there is a fire in your kitchen and you are in the master, exit the master, and if in the living room or other bedroom, exit out through the windows or doors to the balcony or rescue ladder.

    With a fully automatic sprinkler system, your choices are enhanced.

    There are also exceptions when fully sprinklered which eliminate the requirements for various things.

    Not sure if there is an exception which allows for elimination of natural light and ventilation "for that purpose". There is an exception for not providing natural light and ventilation, but those were put in the code to accommodate all of the "media rooms" now being installed where no one wants a window, they want it dark.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I found the answer in your post:


    That common corridor is required as there must be two separate and distinct means of egress in two different directions, that corridor connects the units on each side of the two stairs with the two stairs, allowing for two egress exits.

    The only way I see out of this problem is to remove the windows in that back wall and make that interior corridor into an exterior corridor.

    Opening that up exposes the back of your unit to the outdoors, so your unit can obtain natural light and ventilation by replacing the master bedroom glass block with operable windows.

    Of course, though, opening those back wall windows up into openings creates its own problems as it would then change the dynamics of the entire structure vertically above and below.
    Or bulldoze it and rebuild :-) Yet I was thinking about a similar solution, just extending the outside corridor towards north (more expensive to accomplish), so just cutting big openings in the supporting wall would do the trick, yet there are two problems as the least:

    1) Supporting wall is weakened;

    2) The corridor where the elevator is needs to have two insulated outdoors doors (left and right one);

    In that case either the elevator will become semi-outdoors or then add one door at one corned of the master bedroom in that corridor and another door in another corner, then all residents would be walking via outdoors corridor to get from the entry to their flat unit.

    Kind of weird entry for residents of units # 201, 202, 203 and 301: outdoors => entrance => indoors corridor (pass the elevator doors) => outdoors corridor => another indoors corridor = their flat condo. :-)

    Also in that case the Unit # 204's master bedroom wall would need to be rebuilt and better insulated and bigger window (low and elongated probably) installed that opens up to let the fresh air in.

    What a challenge! Yet it probably can be done, but is it worth it for just one unit? I think it's worth it. But does it still make sense?


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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    But does it still make sense?
    There you go asking those trick questions again. The ones you said you did not want us to answer.

    No.

    Sorry, I answered it anyway.

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Let's assume we're on fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "Now there's a big chance that if you can't get through to your main entry doors inside of your unit, there's a chance that the rear exit all the way around your flat is on fire as well and no exit is possible"

    Incorrect.

    There is a slim chance of that. That is what those corridor doors are for, they separate the stairways from each other, it there is a fire in the corridor, you can exit either way. If there is a fire in the stairway to the right, you can exit the master bedroom. If there is a fire in the stairway to the left, you can exit the main entry doors.

    If there is a fire in your kitchen and you are in the master, exit the master, and if in the living room or other bedroom, exit out through the windows or doors to the balcony or rescue ladder.

    With a fully automatic sprinkler system, your choices are enhanced.

    There are also exceptions when fully sprinklered which eliminate the requirements for various things.

    Not sure if there is an exception which allows for elimination of natural light and ventilation "for that purpose". There is an exception for not providing natural light and ventilation, but those were put in the code to accommodate all of the "media rooms" now being installed where no one wants a window, they want it dark.
    That is if (if) the other stairs are actually an exit and not stairs to a 3rd floor. I don't recall seeing another entry or exit into that building.

    How about no ventilation? I've read that mold may grow in a room with no ventilation which can turn into a health hazard. It did in the place I lived. Imagine smoking in your master bedroom. Or farting. Where does the smoke/gas escape to? You'd have to fan it into the bathroom where you must keep the bathroom fan turned on all the time and make sure you install the most powerful bathroom fan. Or let it vent into the common corridor.... The no light thing in a bedroom is kind of mild problem to no problem, but no ventilation thing in any bedroom should not be allowed by any codes.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    There you go asking those trick questions again. The ones you said you did not want us to answer.

    No.

    Sorry, I answered it anyway.
    Thanks, no problem. Thank you for your support and help.

    Last edited by medicondo; 03-17-2009 at 11:15 AM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    It seems, and I suspected, and we proved it now. Bulldoze it. :-)
    Mediwhacko: And that, smart-ass, takes you right back to my original posts, unprofessional as you may view them: the unit, in my professional opinion, is both claustrophobic and a death trap.

    It is stupifyingly presumptuous and patronizing of you to pay a visit to a group of professionals and then, armed with whatever "knowledge" you believe yourself to have accrued osmotically through sitting in the same space with the occasional HGTV broadcast, attempt to critique the answers you receive and the method by which they are conveyed.

    Unlike my cohorts here, I would not only refuse to have you for a client, bot once having met you in said condo, I might be sorely tempted to use you to test JP's theory that falling from heights can be injurious.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Let's assume we're on fire

    Quote Originally Posted by medicondo View Post
    That is if (if) the other stairs are actually an exit and not stairs to a 3rd floor. I don't recall seeing another entry or exit into that building.
    Those other stairs are drawn showing it going both up and down.

    This is the way I view codes, and it is the way codes are written, and why they are written:

    Building codes (in fact, probably every code known to mankind on planet Earth) are "minimum requirements", and, as with most minimum requirements, you are allowed to do something less if you do something else considered equal or better (and equaling "minimum" is not a great goal to have).

    Thus, building codes are the minimum standard required by law, they are not "good", "better", or "best" construction practices - codes are simply the least you are required by law to do ... it really is that simple.

    Now, for a developer/architect/engineer/contractor to design to "minimum", and include exceptions to that "minimum", leads me to contemplate that the design and construction, *at best*, meets "minimum requirements". That's pretty easy to understand, right?

    I say *at best* because we know that nothing is ever built quite as good as its design because of construction tolerances and conditions in the field. The architect uses a sharp and fine pencil to make his drawings with (used to, not the computer makes those fine lines), the contractor and the persons working on the job site use, at best, a carpenters pencil and draw on scraps of 2x4 (that is the "carpenter's notepad"). I ask, how fine of a line can you draw with a carpenters pencil on paper, much less on a 2x4?

    That 'rough line' from the carpenter is translated over to a marking on the floor/wood/wherever and someone with a saw (with even less precision) cuts/drills/etc at that mark.

    Construction is one big tolerance for error, and when constructing out of concrete, that tolerance gets even larger.

    Now think back to what we are working with here: fine lines and exact drawings by the architect who designed the project to meet, but not exceed, code. Why meet, but not exceed, code? Well, for starters, one is legally required to meet code, and one engineers the value out of it by not exceeding code - that is known as VE (Value Engineering, or, as I put it, engineering the value out of it).

    "Value" is when you get what you paid for, and then some extra. "Value" is not when you buy something advertised as "luxury", "quality", "custom" and then receive "minimum code which is legally required anyway".

    Does that condominium building meet code? I'd have to do some more checking, and the answer might be 'Yeppers, it sure does meet minimum code.', and which I would follow with a question for you 'Are you buying, i.e., paying for, "minimum housing"?' You implied it was somewhat pricey for what you are getting.

    'Somewhat pricey' and 'minimum' (in my book anyway) just do not go together.

    That would be like going to Macy's for a 'Dollar Days Sale', you should understand going in that the only things you will be able to buy are what no one else wanted EITHER.

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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    This thread is nonsense. I can barely get myself to respond to this ridiculous path mendo is on. I can smell a bad Condo building from the street and this one is definitely on that track.
    You are just looking to put yourself into a world of misery. Those sales you mentioned are probably only paper sales from the developer to associates or relatives to make it appear units are moving. I doubt deeds have actually been recorded. Very common developer ploy around here.
    Your responses to Jerry's analysis fall somewhere between laughable and disrespectful. You seem hell bent on finding the right rationale to buy into the building, even knowing the problems.
    Buyers like you can't usually be stopped with sound advice. Too bad

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  36. #36
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    This thread is nonsense. I can barely get myself to respond to this ridiculous path mendo is on. I can smell a bad Condo building from the street and this one is definitely on that track.
    You are just looking to put yourself into a world of misery. Those sales you mentioned are probably only paper sales from the developer to associates or relatives to make it appear units are moving. I doubt deeds have actually been recorded. Very common developer ploy around here.
    Your responses to Jerry's analysis fall somewhere between laughable and disrespectful. You seem hell bent on finding the right rationale to buy into the building, even knowing the problems.
    Buyers like you can't usually be stopped with sound advice. Too bad
    Don't be so harsh, I am stopped from buying it thanks to you all. Never meant to be disrespectful.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Thanks Jerry for all the information and it is appreciated very much. I did believe that the developers met the code somehow yet as you say calling it a luxury is probably just for the outside view. I keep to my opinion that the developer could build something better there, especially they should have exceeded the code, because they are local developer, which should show some respect and pride to their own area by building something better. Yet they decided that someone is going to be willing to be sleeping in a congested bedroom. I also am shocked by Mr. Miller's post. Is this his usual post. What did I do to upset him? I do have a sense of humour, yet I did not mean to tease anyone. I am interested in discussing all things construction since I used to work at a construction and built several houses of my own and remodelled a lot.

    Regarding the units being pricey actually that's when they sell them at a discount. Full price was completely unaffordable nearly 400K and up. I did not joke when I said "bulldoze it". Yet now I only hope there's some small development possible next to it. Hopefully not by the same developer.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Condominium bedroom without a window to the outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Mediwhacko: And that, smart-ass, takes you right back to my original posts, unprofessional as you may view them: the unit, in my professional opinion, is both claustrophobic and a death trap.

    It is stupifyingly presumptuous and patronizing of you to pay a visit to a group of professionals and then, armed with whatever "knowledge" you believe yourself to have accrued osmotically through sitting in the same space with the occasional HGTV broadcast, attempt to critique the answers you receive and the method by which they are conveyed.

    Unlike my cohorts here, I would not only refuse to have you for a client, bot once having met you in said condo, I might be sorely tempted to use you to test JP's theory that falling from heights can be injurious.
    Mr. Miller, Honestly, you have no sense of humour whatsoever. While I appreciate and thank for some of your early posts, but ths post of yours going to get some serious attention. You don't even know who you are threatening. I will consider sueing you for these comments and threats since physical violence is stupid. Expect just that. I made copies of your post. I hope the Moderator will issue you a notice as the least.


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