Kihei Kai Nani AOAO

President’s Message January, 2015

President’s Report

Annual Owners Meeting
Bette Belanger

January 24, 2015

Plumbing Issue In November John Longmire and I attended a Condominium Council of Maui seminar on the topic of aging plumbing in condominiums presented by a project management firm from Oahu involved in plumbing renovation work. It was a timely topic, as we have been experiencing several pipe breaks over the past few years.  We learned that the cast iron pipe installed in the 60’s and 70’s is failing all across the Islands. In Hawaii it lasts between 35 to 50 years; KKN is about 45 years old.  Oahu is about 10 years ahead of us in dealing with this problem, as their building boom started in the late 50’s and 60’s.  It was an eye-opener to learn the extent of the problem and what is involved in a plumbing renovation project.

We know firsthand that the pipes inside the walls at KKN are deteriorating.  We have samples of badly cracked and corroded pipes. Initially our approach was to replace common element cast iron pipes as leaks occurred. Then we started replacing pipe whenever we had an opportunity to get into a unit that was being remodeled, and whenever possible replace the entire stack from top to bottom. The purpose of the recent special assessment was to begin replacing interior plumbing before it started to fail.  Emergency repairs are costly as well as disruptive to owners and guests alike.  We knew that this single assessment would not cover the total cost of replacing all of the interior plumbing.

Just before our annual meeting I learned of a consultant and general contractor on Maui who is doing plumbing replacement work on condominiums on the Westside.  I invited him to give a presentation at our annual meeting.  Those owners in attendance would agree that what he shared was quite overwhelming. While his presentation was perhaps a bit “over the top,” he definitely made us realize how comprehensive the problem can be, and that eventually we will need to deal with it.  We were told that the plumbing underground may be in worse condition that the interior plumbing.

So where are we now? We are currently in the “information gathering stage.”  I have appointed Mark Wadlow, chair, Andy Tichner and Jeff Kern to an ad-hoc committee tasked with looking into the matter thoroughly.  They are in the process of reviewing various options for replacing our plumbing, looking at the history of past repairs, and meeting with plumbing contractors who have worked on our property in the past. Andy, who is a building contractor on the mainland has been talking with a plumbing contractor and will get an estimate of what it might cost to replace our plumbing, knowing that it would be more expensive on Maui.  Jose Placencia, our Treasurer, is looking into options for funding a renovation project.  I have been communicating with DMI and other AOAO Presidents who are dealing with the same issue.  One of the first things we are going to do is have the sewer lines in each building cabled and scoped to see what condition they are in. Once we have more information the board will make a decision on how to proceed.

When will the project begin?  If the decision is to proceed with a full scale plumbing renovation project we will likely hire a consultant knowledgeable in this field who can guide us through the process.  An architect and design engineer will need to be hired to help us prepare specifications for a Request for Proposal.  The planning is complex and the permitting process on Maui can be very slow.  It may take 2-3 years before the project could even begin.  In the meantime, we will continue to make emergency repairs as needed.  We will notify owners well in advance of the start of the project.

What will the cost be to the owners? It is too soon to know.  We will likely need to take out a loan and the monthly payments would be added to our maintenance fees until paid off.  This was how the mansard replacement project was handled.  We will start with one building in order to get a better idea as to the cost and scope of the project as well a timeframe for completion.

Will the complex need to be shut down?  We want to avoid disrupting your rental business or displacing owners for any longer than absolutely necessary.  We will try to do the work during low season, but there are factors we may not be able to control such as how long a permit is good for and the availability of contractors.  Buildings will need to be shut down while work is being done; there is no way to avoid it. We won’t know how long until we actually receive bids from contractors.  It could take several weeks to months to complete a building, and it could take several years to complete all of the buildings.

Is it really necessary to replace the plumbing?  There is enough evidence showing that plumbing that is 40-50 years old has reached the end of its useful life.  We could ignore the warning signs and wait until we have a catastrophic plumbing failure, or we can deal with it proactively and begin replacing it now.  On a positive note, once the plumbing has all been replaced our condos will be more valuable.

I just remodeled my kitchen/bathroom? If you replaced the plumbing in your walls when you remodeled it may not need replacing.  However, it will probably need to be inspected by the county at some point which means opening a wall.  If you have a ground floor unit, the floor will need to be opened up to replace the underground sewer line and access the point where the stack attaches to the underground sewer line.

I was planning to remodel my kitchen; should I do it now? We are advising owners to hold off on any remodels for a while until we have more information.  Of course, that decision is entirely up to you as an owner, and if it can’t wait you must do what you need to in order to continue renting your unit.  Second and third floor units will be affected differently than those on the first floor.  Before doing any major remodel work, be sure to talk to our manager, John Longmire, first.

What does all this mean for me as an owner?  For now just recognize that this is a problem, and rest assured that the Board is taking the necessary steps to remedy it.  That being said, for the most part it is not a crisis that needs immediate attention; however we do need to keep moving forward, as there is much preliminary work to do At this point in time we (the Board) have many questions that we are seeking answers to.  As we learn more will keep you informed by posting updates on the KKN AOAO website.

PV Project This year we saw the completion the Photovoltaic project and it is up and running since mid-September.  The installation by Rising Sun Solar went smoothly, and we are now enjoying the benefits of a much lower electric bill for the office, pool and laundry areas.  A big “Mahalo” goes to board member Jamie Maurisch, who led the project and also to Barry Ewing, past AOAO president who helped to make it happen.

Pavilion Steps Thanks to board member Andy Tickner, who donated his time and construction expertise, Kenneth who assisted him and to Linda Ewing, who initiated the project, we now have new steps on the back side of the pavilion.  We were able to utilize them at the Thanksgiving and Christmas potluck dinners and now we wonder how we managed without them.  They make it very convenient for people using the BBQ to go directly up to the pavilion, and I hear our maintenance staff appreciated them as well.

Water Damage Policy At the October, 2014 meeting the board approved a policy for dealing with water damage resulting from not only pipe breaks, but leaks from dishwashers, hot water heaters, washers, etc.  Please review the policy carefully and make sure that you carry adequate insurance coverage.  The policy can be found on the KKN Owners website.

Smoking Policy Update­   Since the adoption of our smoking policy we have seen a decrease in the number of complaints about smoking on lanais, and when a complaint is received the staff has been responsive.  We will begin fining owners for violations by their guests.  We are in the process of updating the house rules to reflect our policy and will also be addressing smoking medical marijuana and e-cigarettes.

N-S Collector Road If you have been wondering where the noise is coming from in back of our property, it is the construction of a portion of the North-South Collector Road from Ali Nui Ke Alii to Keonekai Road.  Towne Development is building the road as part of an agreement made when they built Moana Estates Subdivision.  We are concerned that the new road may impact water flow through our property during heavy rains.  It appears that more water will be directed to a culvert that leads rainwater into the lot directly behind us and through our parking lot. We have contacted the county regarding our concerns.  Their response was that they have reviewed the SMA’s and the project is in compliance with county regulations.

Lot 1-A Development­  The owner and developer of the lot directly behind us, referred to as Lot 1-A contacted us in October.  They wanted to begin dialogue with us regarding their plans to develop the 1.4 acre lot.  The project will consist of 39 condominiums in two buildings; one three story and one four story.  The first floor is for parking.

Plans for development have come up in the past, but after finding how costly it would be to deal with the water that runs through the middle of the lot, the plans were dropped.  We don’t know if this project will become a reality or not.  We can hope the county will not approve their SMA report (special management area), but in reality there is not much we can do to stop the project from happening if it is approved.

Lot 1-A has utility easements through our property as well as use of our driveway.  They also own the rear portion of our property including the trees, car wash and green waste areas, and the BBQ and sidewalk next to building 8.  We will be staying on top of any new development on this project.

Swimming Pool Restoration

We are planning to have our swimming pool resurfaced in May of this year.  We have received a bid for resurfacing the pool, restoration of the coping tile and installing new DecoSeal on the expansion joints at a cost of just approximately $33,000. We have asked the contractor to also provide a bid for replacing the pool tile, but to date have not received one.  The project will take approximately three weeks to complete.  As soon as the exact dates are known we will post the information on the KKN Owners website.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Pu-Pu Parties and Weekend Morning Coffee  ­ A special thank you goes out to everyone who helped make our annual KKN Thanksgiving and Christmas potluck dinners successful.  We had about 120 attend our Christmas dinner this year. Donna Awe-Berge, especially, has worked tirelessly and is the key driver in making these events possible.  A big Mahalo goes out to Donna!

Last winter we started having regular Poolside Pu-Pu parties which have given guests and owners an opportunity to meet their neighbors.  Also, on weekends we started having coffee get-togethers for the morning crowd. Both were well attended and fun.  The first Pu-Pu party for this year was held on Saturday, January 24.


Bette Belanger