By Rich Pollack
Flo Furino and her husband, Frank, needed to get away from the noise coming from their balcony, as workers chipped away at the concrete.
Their aging building at the Coronado Ocean Club in Highland Beach — like many other buildings in town — was suffering from the wear and tear of time, and repair efforts were under way.
“The noise was terrible,” Flo Furino said. “We couldn’t stand it.”
It turned out the noise was the least of their worries. Shortly after the Furinos left home, a high-pressure cable on the balcony snapped, sending concrete flying through the sliding glass door and throughout the entire home.
Fearing for their safety, the Furinos and other residents of the Coronado packed Highland Beach Town Commission chambers last month, hoping for some help in making sure no more accidents occur.
“Someone could have been killed,” Furino says.
What the residents discovered, however, is that town officials’ hands are tied when it comes to complaints between homeowners and contractors.
After listening for more than an hour, Town Attorney Glen Torcivia told commissioners the issue needs to be resolved by the condo association’s board of directors, the contractor it hired and the engineer responsible for oversight.
While the town couldn’t directly help residents, Commissioner Carl Feldman believes there is a benefit to having the issue brought before the commission.
“We brought it out in the open and facilitated getting the engineer, the manager and the contractor talking to residents,” he said. “Hopefully this situation will help other condominiums that are having the same work done be better prepared.”
During the meeting, a representative of the Coronado’s board of directors told commissioners the association is aware of residents’ concerns and is working with all involved to keep residents’ safety the priority while work is being done.
Residents and representatives from the association also told commissioners that inspectors from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also had been to the construction site, but a report has not yet been filed.
In a letter to commissioners and Mayor Bernard Featherman, Flo Furino said she was concerned that the town’s building official, Mike Desorcy, wasn’t more responsive to residents once he was contacted.
But while residents would like to see the town oversee the job, Desorcy said oversight of such projects falls on the shoulders of the contractor and engineer hired by the condominium association.
“We are a review agency,” Desorcy said. “The role of the building inspector is to go out and make sure that work complies with the building codes. At the end of the day, the engineer sends me a certificate of compliance certifying that the work has been done per code and per specifications.”