The City of San Marcos lifted the evacuation order for Vie Lofts, 817 Chestnut St as of 5:10 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 27 and issued a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for a portion of the building. This allows occupancy of the building and residents will be contacted by Vie Lofts management to coordinate move-in.
On Friday, Sept. 20, the Fire Marshal presented the Notice of Unsafe Conditions, Imminent Danger and Order to Evacuate the Premises to Vie Lofts management and owners based on the International Fire Code, 2015 edition, Sections 110.1 and 110.2. The cause of the evacuation was unsafe conditions that include, but were not limited to: inadequate means of egress which were due to inadequate maintenance.
The City hired Unified Building Sciences & Engineering Inc (UBSE) of Richardson, TX, a third-party forensic engineering firm to conduct an onsite inspection and provide an independent report regarding the structural damage present in Stairwell A, as well as to evaluate the overall structural integrity of the building and adjacent retaining wall.
UBSE provided a written report to the City with a determination that the overall concrete super structure of the building is not damaged or distressed; however, the walls of Stairwell A on levels B2 & B3 MUST be demolished and reconstructed. Full findings of the report may be found here.
Upon receipt of the independent report that the main structure was not compromised, City Fire and Building Inspection personnel advised the owners that a Life Safety Plan could be submitted which would address all immediate life safety hazards and upon plan approval and inspection, the building could be occupied. The owners completed this plan of action.
“All immediate life safety hazards as identified by our City team have been addressed and repaired,” said Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner. “All fire safety systems have passed inspection, as well as the elevator being back in operation and having increased safety measures in place for its use. We’ve worked cooperatively with Vie Lofts ownership and appreciate their diligent efforts to provide a safe place for residents to return.”
The next steps in the process will require owners to complete application and be issued permits to demolish and make the required repairs to Stairwell A and to complete the remodel work of the clubhouse, fitness and study areas that had been started without a permit. They will also be required to finish addressing any outstanding building punch list items that were not required to be completed prior to the temporary certificate of occupancy being issued and provide a permanent solution for the elevator operation.
The City of San Marcos expresses its heartfelt thanks to the residents and their families for their cooperation and patience during this past week as we worked to make sure safety was priority.