May 31, 2004
Board of Directors
Sapphire Bay Condominiums West
6345 Smith Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802
BY CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Re: Hurricane Protection The Shutters You Required SBCW Owners to Buy Wont
Protect from Hurricanes
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Within the last six months, the Board of Directors required all SBCW owners, who didnt
already have them, to buy hurricane shutters and have the Condo Association install them.
The shutters have arrived at the property, and a contractor is in the process of
installing them. The problem is that the shutters are being installed on the inside
of the windows, and not on all windows, and they wont help in a hurricane.
I contacted one of the owners of the company that manufactured the shutters purchased
by SBCW, "Hermex Southeast" in Miami, FL. The owner of Hermex Southeast said,
"What, you are putting the shutters on the inside? We never heard of that that
wont protect from a hurricane". I asked Warren Murphy, the owner of the local
St Thomas company installing the shutters at SBCW, why he was installing the shutters on
the inside of the windows. He said to me: "I told them a number of times that the
shutters wouldnt help, if they were installed on the inside. I was told to install
the shutters on the inside anyway." (Contractor Shutter Supply, 340-776-6654)
We contacted Frank Storms, president of International Hurricane
Protection Association (www.inthpa.com)
and he confirmed that shutters must be on the outside of the windows to provide
protection. In addition he said, what others had told me, that all the windows in a
building must be protected to protect the building. One unprotected window will
allow the hurricane (or tornado) to destroy the building. (At SBCW, the shutters are on
the inside of the windows in front. The windows in the back of the apartments have no
shutters). Mr. Storms volunteered that Dade County insurance carriers will not insure a
building for hurricane protection unless all the windows in the building have
shutter protection conforming to the "Code" on the outside of all windows.
Contact: Miami Dade Code Compliance, 305-375-2901.
At SBCW, it is very important that hurricane protection be professionally designed by a
recognized engineering firm experienced in the design of hurricane protection systems. I
believe that the open porches and the jalousie windows provide challenging engineering
problems. What seems to have happened here is that you knew, or at least Frank Barry knew,
that the protection being installed would not protect the buildings, and did it anyway.
Work should be stopped on the installation of the shutters on the inside of the
windows. The installation is unsightly and costly, and wont do any good. And the
owners have been given a false sense of security.
The problem here is three-fold. 1) The owners were misled by Frank Barry and the Board
of SBCW. We were made to believe that the shutters on the inside of the front windows
would provide protection, when the Board and Frank Barry knew they would not. 2) Over
$50,000 was wasted by the owners. 3) It is probably too late to design and procure/install
meaningful protection for the 2004 Hurricane season.
I trust you will check into this matter further and contact me and the other owners.
Very truly yours,
George R. Simpson, Owner C-4