Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts.
Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including:
- Water leaks.
- Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs.
- Declining resale potential.
Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom.
One developer calls glass-walled condos “throw-away buildings” because of their short lifespan relative to buildings with walls made of concrete or brick.
“We believe that somewhere between, say, five and 15 [years], many, many of those units will fail,” said David House of Earth Development, which bills itself as a socially responsible property developer. House, who also has experience in the standard development industry, spoke to CBC as part of a special three-part series on the issue that starts Monday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on CBC News Toronto.
No other city in North America is building as many condo towers as Toronto, where they have reshaped the skyline, overshadowed once-prominent buildings such as the Rogers Centre and, in many areas, blocked Lake Ontario from view. About 130 new towers are now under construction.
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Article By: CBC News Canada