Rear Staircase Safety Modification

Dear Members,

At the 5/24/23 HOA Board Meeting, the board will be discussing and voting on the 2023/2024 budget, so we encourage you all to attend. One of the topics that may affect the budget is related to the back stairwell.

One of the reasons Farmers declined to renew the 2023 insurance policy was because they considered the rear staircase too dangerous. One of the new carriers advised the Marina Chateau that they would cancel the policy if the Board did not agree to make the rear stairs safe. We moved quickly by securing a building permit, having a prototype built (second floor) and inviting the SF Building Inspector (SFDBI) to see if we were on the right track with the prototype. The prototype includes adding support and pickets to fill in the gap in between the railings as well as a side hand-rail. As this is considered a voluntary improvement, the SFDBI Inspector that visited the building stated that he would approve it once the stairwell was completed and built to the specs of the prototype.

After weeks of multiple communications, the current Underwriter changed course on requiring the staircase revisions, but has asked management, in writing, whether the HOA plans to proceed with revision. We are not sure what to make of this about face.

We are now faced with addressing the safety of the stairs and incurring a cost that may not be immediately necessary, or leaving the stairs as is and hoping that it does not cause an injury nor become a basis for cancellation of coverage at any point in the future.

The approximate cost to make the rear staircase safer is approximately $28,000. Those funds are not currently in the operating budget or reserves for this one item.

  • One option to fund this item is a single special assessment of $437.50 per unit.
  • The other is to add this expense to the budget’s operating account by increasing the maintenance category so that the $28,000 is spread out over 12 months. This would be incorporated into dues resulting in approximately $36.46 per unit per month increase for this item.

Before the Board decides on this topic, they would like to receive feedback via the following two questions:

Responses must be received by 12:00pm on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023.

1. Given what has been shared and your own observations of those stairs, are you in favor of proceeding with the proposed safety modifications to the rear staircase.(Required)
(Please visit the 7th floor back-stairs landing for full effect.)

Here are two photos of the current state of the staircase:

MarinaChateauPicture1 1 jpg e1684535841791MarinaChateauPicture2 jpg

Below is a prototype of the landing pickets and handrail on the back stairs. It also includes side stairs support (not pictured). This prototype has been reviewed by a SFDBI Inspector and was discussed with the insurance company.

MarinaChateauPicture3 jpgMarinaChateauPicture4 jpg
2. If yes, would you prefer a one-time assessment of $437.59 per unit or have this amount spread over 12 months?