Earlier this month, the City of Toronto addressed an issue with the Shangri-La hotel and condo that we’ve seen a few times in Toronto condos elsewhere before over the past couple of years. The Toronto Star reports that on August 5, City Hall ordered Shangri-La’s developer to “remedy the unsafe building” due to falling glass from its balconies on five separate occasions over the last two years the building has been open. From The Star:
“The city’s building department and the developer have already removed more than 300 pieces of balcony glass from the Shangri-La to test for nickel sulfide inclusions, or microscopic imperfections in the glass that can cause spontaneous breakage.
“Inclusions have been blamed for balcony failures at three other new downtown highrise buildings in recent years: Festival Tower, One Bedford and the Murano Towers…‘You have to physically take the actual piece of glass, reheat it in an oven and if it breaks, you can determine if the cause of the break was nickel sulphide,’ said Mario Angelucci, Toronto’s deputy chief building official. ‘Likely if it breaks, it’s nickel sulphide.’”
Until testing and safety measures are complete, the developer has been instructed to build overhead protection for pedestrians at the bottom of the building, and to prevent condo owners and guests from using their balconies until they’ve been rendered safe.
Shangri-La is not a unique case in this. Over the past couple of years, media coverage of falling glass from Toronto condos has been something of a theme, with the CBC and Toronto Life devoting feature coverage to the issue in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Last October, a group of residents from condos that had experienced falling glass in the past were also approved to proceed in a class-action lawsuit against the building’s developers for the loss of use of their balconies. It might be some time before we see what comes of that, however: it could take some time before the case actually goes to trial.