II • The Build

        Regardless of what Mr. Brown has claimed in his published commentaries the corners that were cut are obvious and easily verified leading to a sub-par structure that began leaking water almost immediately. (first reports in 1987 due to improperly caulked windows and doors) The metal roof design creates ice dams and is not water or weather-proof when faced with standing water. The flashing is inadequate, poorly designed, and improperly installed. No roof overhangs were in the original build to move snow and water away from the buildings. Melting ice seeps into the metal seam roof. Water runs down the side of the buildings and behind the redwood siding that was installed flush and not in the usual overlapped fashion, permitting intrusion. With all the moisture, the siding warps and creates larger gaps for water to seep in. Exterior walls have no drainage plane to divert the water. Snow piles up against the building walls and onto the cantilevered wood steps of the lower units pulling the structure apart. (These steps had to be removed to alleviate the stress on the building leaving a 2 foot drop.) The redwood siding excels at keeping water inside the structure and hiding any damage. Developer’s documentation lists vapor barriers and insulation to be included in the roofs and exterior walls. No vapor barrier exists inside the buildings to keep moisture out. Many units are missing insulation in critical areas such as between the unfinished crawl space under the buildings and the floors of the first floor units keeping those units frosty on a bed of cold air. What little insulation was installed became water logged along with the pieces of drywall used as flame retardant on the outside of the building. Structural beams have rotted and mold has grown as a result. Exterior areas of the building, walkways and lawn areas slope towards the buildings drawing in water and snow. Bathroom exhaust fans vent moisture into the interior spaces of the buildings. No venting was placed in attics, crawl spaces, and laundry closets to alleviate moisture.  All had to be added by the owners after the fact. In the first 6 years, $68,000 in repairs were needed to siding, doors, windows, and other items.

For more detailed information see the Reports and Studies and the List of known defects.

Brown repeatedly claims that he hired the best architects and engineers, used only the best materials and the utmost quality went into Centennial. But the proof that that is not the case is right here in front of us. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see it either. Would a world-class design for a mountain town have included a roof who’s intersecting angles form ice dams? Would basic water diversion elements like flashing, eaves, overhangs, and caulking be excluded? Would above average sound proofing (claimed by the developer) allow every footstep and toilet flush to be clearly heard in adjoining units? Would 2nd story units have sliding glass doors that lead to a 12-foot straight drop to the ground or on to the sloped, partially-covered roof of the lower units’ decks? (Over time some owners chose to build the balconies that were intended for the upper units at their own expense. These add-on balconies have caused additional leaks indicating that the building that was designed to have them was not able to support them.) Many in the community understand that plans for a development in Israel were copied and implemented for ski resort housing with little alteration. Regardless, Brown professes the quality of the design, a design that was never used again for affordable housing or anywhere in a mountain environment.

Other details about the shoddiness of the construction exist; all of which have been gathered from the various consultants, contractors, architects, building engineers, construction experts, mold specialists and more that have participated in studies and repair work over the years. In fact every report made about Centennial from hired consultants (and there have been many) has clearly stated that these buildings, while they may have met the skimpy building codes of the 1980’s, suffer from design flaws and construction defects. If this obviously poor design, cheap or non-existent materials, and shoddy construction was intentional as the developer claims, then someone should have been held accountable for allowing this to be built and sold to Aspen’s working class as “affordable” housing.