Tag Archives: building

Skipton Building Society offers 3.5 percent interest on savings – are you eligible?

Skipton Building Society offers 3.5 percent interest on savings - are you eligible?

SKIPTON Building Society is currently offering an enticing 3.5 percent interest rate to eligible savers through one of its newest accounts. However, understandably, Britons are being urged to check their eligibility for this kind of account to avoid potentially being disappointed. It could, however, help many people to significantly grow their cash.Skipton Building Society offers 3.5 percent interest on savings - are you eligible?

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Rohaan building to concert pitch for Champions Day

Rohaan building to concert pitch for Champions Day

All roads lead to Ascot and Champions Day for the remarkable Rohaan following his startling performance in Ireland.

David Evans’ sprinter, who won the Wokingham at Royal Ascot in devastating fashion, appeared to have lost any sort of chance when tailed off at the start of the Flying Five at the Curragh this month.

However, he fairly sprouted wings to be beaten just two lengths into fifth by Romantic Proposal, and looks sure to be suited by going back up to six furlongs.

“All being well the next plan is Ascot, back up to six furlongs,” said Evans.

“He had a couple of blips at Newmarket and in France – but there were probably reasons for that, being too prominent. I think he just wants switching off, but not like he was in Ireland!

“He seems in good form still – I just wish it was next week and not three weeks.

“Haydock and Royal Ascot proved he handles very soft ground, and the softer the better for him, I suppose – but I don’t think the ground will be firm anyway.

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“He’s changed physically as the year has gone on. He was only a shell last winter and has just kept improving, but no one would have thought he would get to this sort of level.”

The Monmouthshire trainer added: “When he does it he just does it so easily – the two runs he didn’t, it was hard to fathom why after what he had done at Ascot.

“It was nice to see him come back to how he was, in Ireland. He was unlucky, but it’s nice to see it’s still there. I’ve never seen a horse make up so much ground in a Group One, to be honest.

“We know five furlongs is too short. He’s in good nick, and hopefully he’ll stay that way.”

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Yorkshire Building Society 3.5% interest rate withdrawn in shock for savers – where next?

Yorkshire Building Society 3.5% interest rate withdrawn in shock for savers - where next?

“Elsewhere, Coventry Building Society has a fixed term regular saver and lets savers build up to £6,000 in the year and pays 1.50 percent variable.”

Another top account is offered by West Brom Building Society, currently offering a two percent interest rate fixed for 12 months.

However, it is worth bearing in mind it only has 20 branches, and these are scattered exclusively across the West Midlands.

With a number of options at Britons’ disposal, then, the removal of one of the top paying accounts may not be the end of the world.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Deadly collapse of Miami building shines light on Florida’s condo politics

The line of condominiums and hotels along Collins Avenue that offer residents sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean is now broken up by a haunting pile of rubble.

A fortnight after Champlain Towers South, a 12-storey apartment building with 136 units, collapsed in the Miami suburb of Surfside, officials in south Florida this week called off the search for survivors.

Emergency crews switched their focus to recovering the bodies of victims of the collapse, which, as of Friday evening, had killed at least 79 people with a further 61 “potentially unaccounted for”.

The search for the cause of the collapse has also begun, although investigators say it is too soon to know how long it will take — let alone what the final answer will be.

Yet what is clear is that Champlain Towers South needed to undergo millions of dollars worth of repairs as part of a 40-year “recertification”, a process established in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to ensure that buildings remain safe in the face of decades of abuse from Florida’s sun, sea and salt.

Organising those repairs fell to the board of the condominium association, a legal entity staffed by volunteer owners elected by other residents, which maintains the structure and common areas of a building comprising individually owned apartments.

The repairs were delayed because of disputes over the cost. This had ballooned from $ 9m to $ 15m before the board voted in April to fund them via a “special assessment”, a charge levied for a specific project and a dreaded prospect for many condo owners who must stump up their share.

There are parallels to the crippling bills that some apartment owners are being forced to pay as landlords upgrade the cladding on their buildings in response to the deadly Grenfell fire in London four years ago.

A woman adds flowers to a memorial featuring photos of some of those lost in the Champlain Towers South collapse © Giorgia Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Fewer than a third of condo associations in the US have sufficient funds saved up for big-ticket repairs such as structural work or replacing a roof, and experts say delays and disagreements are common not just in Florida but across the US.

“Every condominium is like a little micro-society,” said Carolina Sznajderman Sheir, a partner at Eisinger Law that specialises in condominium law.

Sheir said that, while the 40-year recertification might sound like a “very matter-of fact” process, it often results in infighting among residents. “Here’s why it’s difficult: we’re talking about monumental projects, we’re talking about millions of dollars in restoration.”

“Boards that levy assessments are not popular boards,” she added. “People don’t want to pay huge assessments . . . And politics are politics, whether they’re national or on a tiny little board.”

Annotated photograph explaining the collapse of The Champlain Towers in Miami

Marta Reeves knows only too well how the process can descend into acrimony. Her family has lived for more than three decades at the Imperial at Brickell, a 161-unit building located about 12 miles south-west of Champlain Towers South. Built in 1983 along Biscayne Bay, its distinctive “red wall” can be seen in the opening credits of the 1980s television show “Miami Vice”.

The situation at the Imperial underscores how debates over how to pay for repairs can lead to hostility: owners with varying incomes and differing philosophies over how much maintenance is necessary snipe at one another, sometimes over Facebook or email.

Reeves won a seat on the Imperial condo board in 2010, and was part of a co-ordinated slate of officers elected in March 2018. The five new board members passed a $ 1m special assessment to repair the roof, cooling tower and elevators because the building lacked enough reserves to pay for the work.

The board subsequently decided to replace the 944 windows along the famous red wall; an engineer’s report from more than a decade ago had said they were reaching the end of their useful life. The building’s 40-year certification, coming due in 2023, called for a waterproof “envelope”, while new building codes specified the glass should be able to resist the impact of hurricanes that batter Florida’s coastline.

So the board passed a $ 9m assessment, which would have cost homeowners between $ 45,000 and $ 62,000 per unit. Despite securing financing to help homeowners bear the cost, Reeves and her fellow four board members then lost their bid for re-election in February 2020.

The current and former boards of the Imperial condo disagree on maintenance for the 944 windows along its ‘red wall,’ which can be seen in the opening credits of the 1980s television show ‘Miami Vice’ © Claire Bushey

“It’s not a popular job when, after years of not fixing things in a timely manner, the piper is going to come,” said Reeves. “That’s what got us voted out.”

Reeves looked on in frustration as the new board tried to tackle the repairs with what she perceived as less organisational acumen than before. “I’m not saying that they’re not fixing it,” she said. “They’re putting Band-aids on it.”

Rissig Licha, a member of the Imperial’s current board, dismissed such suggestions. In an emailed statement, she said the board had “made compliance with the 40-year recertification its primary objective since assuming office”.

The board also said it had “actively communicated” with owners during the process and had sought out “the best structural and construction experts and specialists at considerable expense”.

Florida has 1.5m condos, more than any other state. State law requires associations to have a schedule to pay for big repairs, but there is a loophole: homeowners can vote to waive paying into a reserve fund. Only six states require condos to maintain “adequate” reserves without giving homeowners the option to waive the requirement.

Sheir, the attorney, noted that many of Florida’s condo owners are retirees and are therefore less concerned with the long-term upkeep of their property. They would prefer to keep the monthly association dues as low as possible, she added.

“People just don’t want to pay higher assessments,” she said. “They’d rather have the money in their pocket than in someone else’s.”

Failing to keep money aside for capital improvements is a problem across the US, but it is particularly acute in Florida, where the climate exacts a harsher toll on buildings. Constructors use concrete because the weight of the material protects against hurricanes, but over time Ultraviolet rays and salty air end up corroding the material, according to Sinisa Kolar, vice-president of the engineering and architectural consulting firm Falcon Group.

The rest of the condo was demolished on July 4 © Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Some local politicians have suggested that Florida should cut the recertification process from 40 years to 20, which Kolar said would “make everybody aware of the work that they absolutely need”.

But Robert Nordlund, chief executive of Association Reserves, is sceptical of whether legislation can force condo owners to budget for future repairs.

What might make more of a difference, he said, is if insurers and mortgage lenders considered the state of a condo association’s finances when setting premiums or making a loan. Lenders generally only require that a condo association’s reserve fund be 10 per cent funded before they are willing to give a mortgage to a buyer.

“The risk factors are there, and they’re so obvious,” he said. “I don’t know why they’re missing those clues . . . I wonder if this is a time that they will start to learn and refine their underwriting standards.”

The Surfside disaster has gripped the residents at Imperial, just as it has at condo buildings throughout Miami.

Emergency support columns were placed in the building’s parking garage last week, but Licha said the structural engineers hired by the condo association “have not identified repairs or conditions not ordinary and consistent with similarly situated buildings of the same age group”. Reeves agrees with the current board that the apartment block is structurally sound.

Still, at least one resident seemed unnerved this week. He stopped his car in the garage to tell Reeves that he had written to the board to express his worries. She told him to keep writing: tragedies sometimes bring change.

“It is a very high cost,” he replied.

Miami Beach apartment building ordered to evacuate

The rest of the Champlain South tower is seen being demolished in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4. 
The rest of the Champlain South tower is seen being demolished in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4.  Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images

The rest of the Champlain Towers South building was demolished Sunday night, and officials hope it will now be safer for rescue teams to expand their search with fewer reinforcements.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he hopes the demolition will eliminate a potentially dangerous threat to workers and possibly open an estimated third of the remaining pile to search and rescue teams.

With the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa looming, officials and rescue crews were increasingly concerned about the safety of those searching the rubble and the potential the rest of the structure would collapse.

Background: The demolition came after part of the building fell early in the morning on June 24, collapsing approximately 55 of the building’s 136 units. Crews immediately began digging through up to 16 feet of concrete and have confirmed at least 24 people were killed, including children. There are 121 people who remain unaccounted for.

The structure was demolished around 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday using a method Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called “energetic felling,” describing it as a process that “uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to bring the building down in place.”

Search efforts at the partially collapsed building were paused Saturday around 4 p.m. so engineers could secure the site and prepare for the demolition.

“As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work,” Levine Cava said Sunday night.

Author: By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN
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With the threat of a storm, officials and rescuers were concerned about the safety of searching the rubble and the potential for the rest of building to collapse

With the threat of a storm, officials and rescuers were concerned about the safety of searching the rubble and the potential for the rest of building to collapse
The structure was demolished around 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday using a method Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called “energetic felling,” describing it as a process that “uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to bring the building down in place.”
The demolition came after part of the building fell early in the morning on June 24, collapsing approximately 55 of the building’s 136 units. Crews immediately began digging through up to 16 feet of concrete and have confirmed at least 24 people were killed, including children. There are 121 people who remain unaccounted for.
With the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa looming, officials and rescue crews were increasingly concerned about the safety of those searching the rubble and the potential the rest of the structure would collapse.
“It appears as though the approaching storm may have been a blessing in disguise for us in that it initiated the demolition discussion,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Sunday night. “We want to make sure that we control which way the building falls and not a hurricane, so all of this together I think ended up being a good thing.”
Burkett said he hopes the demolition will eliminate a potentially dangerous threat to workers and possibly open an estimated third of the remaining pile to search and rescue teams.
Search efforts at the partially collapsed building were paused Saturday around 4 p.m. so engineers could secure the site and prepare for the demolition.
“As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work,” Levine Cava said Sunday night.
When the work does resume, it will be without five to seven members of the Israeli rescue team, Col. Elad Edri, Deputy Commander of the Israeli National Rescue Unit said, adding the decision was made based on what capabilities of the team will be needed after the demolition.

Residents ordered to evacuate multiple buildings

Since the collapse, multiple Miami-area buildings have been evacuated.
Ahead of the demolition at the South tower, the condominium board for Champlain Towers East suggested residents evacuate, according to a letter from the condo association’s board of directors obtained by CNN.
The letter encouraged residents to evacuate in advance as streets nearby would be congested due to the demolition. The board also asked residents to take their pets and valuables, including passports and important documents, with them.
“Our building foundation has been checked multiple times, but we make this suggestion in an abundance of caution,” the letter reads. “We do not expect any impact to us but you can’t be too careful under the circumstances.”
On Saturday, the city of Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a residential building out of an abundance of caution after a city inspector looked at an empty unit and flagged a “flooring system failure in that unit and excessive deflection on an exterior wall,” according to city spokesperson Melissa Berthier.
The day before, North Miami Beach officials ordered the evacuation of the Crestview Towers, saying the building was delinquent with its 40-year recertification. Officials cited the late certification report to say the building was structurally and electrically unsafe.
Many residents of Champlain Towers South whose condos didn’t collapse had to evacuate without many of their belongings, leaving behind clothes, valuables and family photographs.
On Sunday, Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III said homicide detectives had been “collecting items that are retrievable, and are logging them and documenting them.”
Any type of heirloom that was safe to retrieve is being documented to “be addressed at a later date with family members,” he said.

24th victim identified

David Epstein, 58, has been identified as the 24th victim confirmed to have died in the collapse. His body was recovered Friday, officials said.
The victims range in age from 4 to 92.
Those who died include 4- and 10-year-old sisters, an elderly couple and the daughter of a firefighter.
Nicole Mejias told CNN on Saturday that five of her family members were in the Champlain Towers South building when it collapsed, including 7-year-old Stella Cattarossi, the daughter of the Miami firefighter. Cattarossi’s body was found Thursday night.
“We just miss them so much already, we wish this tragedy didn’t happen, and will always remember them,” Mejias said.

Tropical Storm Elsa

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 15 counties Saturday — including Miami-Dade County — because of Tropical Storm Elsa.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Florida Keys and a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of southwest Florida as far north as Tampa Bay.
Surfside is no longer in Elsa’s forecast cone, but the area could still receive some rain from the storm.
The governor expressed his support for the demolition plan ahead of Elsa’s impact and said Saturday he believed it would be best for the building to be down before the storm arrives. “With these gusts potentially, it would create a really big hazard.”

Author: Madeline Holcombe, CNN
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Trump Holds Rally in Florida, Across State From Building Disaster

Aides to Gov. Ron DeSantis questioned Trump associates about whether the event on Saturday night in Sarasota should proceed given the scope of the tragedy in Surfside.

Former President Donald J. Trump held a Fourth of July-themed rally on Saturday night in Sarasota, Fla., across the state from where a tragedy has been unfolding for more than a week as firefighters, search dogs and emergency crews search for survivors in the collapse of a residential building just north of Miami Beach.

After a brief moment of silence for the victims and families of the tragedy as he took the stage, Mr. Trump quickly launched into a castigation of cancel culture and of the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

The political rally in the midst of a disaster that has horrified the nation became a topic of discussion among aides to the former president and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Trump ally whose growing popularity with the former president’s supporters is becoming an increasing source of tension for both men, according to people familiar with their thinking.

After officials from the governor’s office surveyed the scene of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla., Adrian Lukis, chief of staff to the governor, called Michael Glassner, a longtime Trump aide who is overseeing the Florida event, according to people familiar with the discussion. In a brief conversation, Mr. Lukis inquired whether the former president planned to continue with the event given the scale of the tragedy, two people said.

He was told there were no plans to reschedule.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, Liz Harrington, said that the rally in Sarasota was “three-and-a-half hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts.”

She added that the former president “has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally.”

Mr. DeSantis, who met on Thursday with President Biden when the president visited the site of the disaster, originally wanted to attend the rally but no longer plans to do so, aides said. “He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that it was the right decision, because the governor’s duty is to be in Surfside,” his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, said, adding, “Governor DeSantis would have gone to the rally in normal circumstances.’’

In an interview with Newsmax ahead of the rally, Mr. Trump said he told Mr. DeSantis not to come. “I said you should stay there; this is not that important for you,” he said.

The governor, an early supporter of Mr. Trump, has been eager to play down any perceived tension with the former president, who endorsed his campaign for governor in 2018 and could cause him a political headache if he turned against him.

“Governor DeSantis is focusing on his duties as governor and the tragedy in Surfside, and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida — from the Stanley Cup finals to President Trump’s rally — should be canceled,” Ms. Pushaw said after the Washington Examiner reported that Mr. DeSantis had pointedly asked Mr. Trump to delay his rally.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had originally planned to attend Mr. Trump’s rally in Florida but no longer plans to do so.
Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

The recent conversation between Mr. Lukis and Mr. Glassner was not the first time Mr. DeSantis’s staff had expressed reservations about the timing of Mr. Trump’s event. Before the condominium collapse, Mr. DeSantis’s office had suggested to the Trump team that the fall was better timing for a rally, given the perils of hurricane season in Florida, two people familiar with the conversation said.

Mr. Trump ignored the suggestion. Shut out of Facebook and Twitter, Mr. Trump has been eager for an outlet to have his voice heard and has been chomping at the bit to return to the rally stage, aides said.

Mr. DeSantis is seen as a top-tier Republican presidential candidate for 2024, and may end up in a political collision with the former president, who himself has hinted that he is considering a third try for the White House.

People close to Mr. Trump said he had become mildly suspicious of a supposed ally. He has grilled multiple advisers and friends, asking “what’s Ron doing,” after hearing rumors at Mar-a-Lago that Mr. DeSantis had been courting donors for a potential presidential run of his own. He has asked aides their opinion of a Western Conservative Summit presidential straw poll for 2024 Republican presidential candidates, an unscientific online poll that showed Mr. DeSantis beating Mr. Trump.

And in a comment intended to prove his dominance over both Mr. DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, he has floated Mr. DeSantis as a potential No. 2 on his ticket should he run again.

Author: Annie Karni
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