Thank you for the question about the bid by Campos Construction for the electrical panel replacement. These bids are not sourced by the HOA as this is a homeowner matter. If you would like to source another bid we would be happy to pass it along to the other owners impacted by your electrical panel. The only thing that the HOA did is to set the standards and how the work is to be done and this was to regularize all of the electrical installations. We originally got three quotes for the test building, Campos Construction, Ysidro of Hernandez Construction, and a Tijuana electrical installer. Campos was the most reasonable and so we recommended that people use him. He is also in the community regularly for any issues and is well known to the community. There is no benefit to the HOA office for using Campos. Another owner recently obtained her own quote from her electrician and the difference from the Campos quote was about US$200. If you would like to get your own quote please ask Alejandra for the specifications sheet that must be used for the quote.
Unfortunately the HOA does not have the funds to spread these payments over 24 months. We are not a financing institute with access to unlimited funds and so to do so would result in a reduction in staff and services to our homeowners. As it is our 6 month payment policy was considered generous by the committee and thus that is all we can offer. We have to pay the provider the full amount upon completion of the install and the providers are not willing to finance these over 24 months.
It is really impossible for this to be done on a one by one condo basis because that might involve 9 different installers digging up things 9 times, making 9 different installations. This was a committee decision and upon advice of the attorneys that this be done for each electrical panel as a single installation. This also allows for as little disruption to the community as is possible.
The outside work is done first, the trenching etc. Then when it comes tiome to install the wires to your fuse box the installer asks for dates from you for this install. Some units are easier and faster than others because of the location of the unit (upstairs vs downstairs) and where the fuse box is located in the condo. After forty years many fuse boxes are not in the original positions due to extensive remodeling. So my condo had no electricity for about two hours and they had to drill the hole in the wall and run lines through the attic prior to the switch over. It was pretty efficient and the disruption was kept to a minimum, but I have an upstairs condo. John Fallenstein’s downstairs condo took a number of days on inside work to get a place to run the lines, but the connection time was the same. I hope this helps.
On a personal response, when my unit was done and I was not in a position really to pay the $1400, but had to scrape up the money, my wife and I decided to bite the bullet and fund the entire replacement of our internal condo wiring and plugs and fuse box. We enlarged the fuse box, had new wires including ground wires run to all outlets and increased the number of fuses that controlled out small condo electrics. This was an additional charge to us as the rewiring is from meter to fuse box only.
The issue of homeowners in arrears and the electrical panels has not come up yet and is something we have to deal with when it comes along. There are a variety of possibilities for this including not connecting them up to the mains until they pay for the installation or come current, but this is just an example and will have to be discussed with the committee and the attorney.
This was initially put out to bid and was bid on by Luis Campos, Isidro and an external provider using the exact same materials to allow us to compare apples to apples. Campos was the most complete bid and the best value however we have now explained to homeowners that they are welcome to (as a group) get their own bids from other providers but must have the work quoted with and done using the same materials and in the same manner to establish a consistency across our community. The quote also has to be for the entire set of condos serviced by each electrical panel. For instance there are no joins in the electrical wires between the meter and the fuse panel and there was a ground wire added. All wiring had to be inside accessible conduits to allow for future repairs and upgrades if necessary. All wiring and fuses etc., were a specific standard to make sure there was consistency for future repairs. A lot of thought went into this and a lot of backwards and forwards debate occurred before a test building was even done
We have 45 workers in La Paloma responsible for a variety of maintenance tasks and if we were to require them to complete this task we would be doing the work for individual homeowners as determined by condominium law of Baja. We also would then have to ignore all other maintenance in the community which in itself would create a crisis that would impact our investment.
I have answered this above to the best of my ability. I will answer this as an individual though. There are 300 plus units in La Paloma. If the association was to take responsibility for replacing these lines and meter boxes the cost would be around $420000 which is half of our yearly budget and would require an approximate 50% increase in dues based on simple calculations.
The attorneys investigated this and the determination within the Condominium Law of Baja California was that since we have individual meters the lines be they gas, water or electricity from the condo side of the meter to the condo are the responsibility of the individual owner. If La Paloma had one water meter, one electric meter and one gas meter for the entire community then those lines would be the association's responsibility.
We have one enclosure that has to be completely torn down and replaced as a result of faulty construction. However the decision was hotly debated in many committee meetings as to what to do with the enclosures. This resulted in the attorneys getting involved and being asked to rule on these structures and the ruling determined that the electrical panels and the structure were solely for the use of those individual condos and thus were the responsibility of the individual condo owners. I disagreed but was outvoted on the committee as they approved moving forward with this project. La Paloma is a unique development in that each condo has individual water, gas and electric meters. In talking to my neighbors and in doing investigations with other developments many simply have one meter and the bill is equally divided amongst each condo owner. This though presents us with the reality that the lines, be they gas, water or electricity from the condo side of the meter to the condo are the responsibility of the individual owner.
CFE has nothing to do with this as they do not control the wiring from the meters to the individual condos. They however are required to inspect and certify each new installation and give a certificate that it is to code.
The cause of this issue is simply aging like our bodies. We live in a ocean climate that fosters corrosion of everything from aluminum to iron work and any sort of metal in between. Wiring over the years deteriorated and the original installation held up remarkably well for forty years, but is now in need of updating. Mexican wiring codes have changed over the years and the possibility of fires caused by faulty wiring and the refusal of insurance policies to pay out as a result of that faulty wiring prompted John Fallenstein to start this process. He decided that we could no longer bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best, but that we needed to be proactive.
The issue with the electrical panels and wiring from the panels to the individual fuse boxes in each condo is a long standing issue and became an urgent issue midway through Ruth’s term as Administrator. We started to see an increase in electrical failure in condo buildings that were related to the aging wiring installed in some cases over 40 years ago and deteriorating as a result of exposure to the sea air of Baja.
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