New Inspection of San Francisco’s Millennium Tower Window

Natasha Milton TT Ax 5
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Inspectors commissioned by Millennium Tower homeowners opened up the walls of the 36th floor unit where a window cracked over Labor Day. They also inspected the unit above as they seek to determine whether the tower’s 18 inch tilt caused the failure.

Last week, San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection issued, but then backed off from, a threat to declare the building a hazard in light of the problem. The city appeared satisfied that tower officials managed to reinforce the cracked window with clear tape and installed scaffolding on the sidewalk below to protect pedestrians from the risk of falling glass.

One city building inspector was on hand for the work conducted Tuesday afternoon.

In a letter to city building inspectors, Millennium’s attorney said Tuesday’s inspection focused on the walls of 36b and 37b. The 36b unit is where the window suddenly cracked about 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 1.

In a letter to city officials, attorney Tom Miller said the owner of 35b declined to let inspectors enter that unit.

Miller said testing focused on the steel and glass façade, or curtain wall, and included “removal of finishes or drywall underneath the glass, including the window stool and base board, which exposed the curtain wall connections to the building.”

Miller said one focus is the clips used to connect that façade to the building itself. The exposed walls are expected to be sealed back up by Wednesday.

“DBI's demand for a ‘full investigation report’ as to the cause of the crack in Unit 36B will be forthcoming pending the experts' evaluation of today's testing,” Miller said.

An earlier preliminary report from one of the firms involved in the inspection, Palo Alto-based Allana, Buick and Bers, suggested the building’s tilt may have played a role, but said any firm finding would have to await the more intensive inspection carried out Tuesday.

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