City’s Police Department Building Infrastructure Observations
I observed the existing conditions of the FLPD building and outside premises making me aware of the many undesirable conditions, some of which involve health; building safety and security concerns and have preliminarily listed below:
1.) The front visitor parking area is susceptible to vehicles crashing into the building. Bollards might be installed between the parking lot and entrances, including the lobby area and front building rooms to prevent vehicles from crashing through into the building. The County installed bollards at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a truck incident crashed through into Terminal 2 in 2004.
2.) The lobby area seems vulnerable for fire/explosive/gas that could penetrate and circulate throughout the rest of the building. The bullet proof glass cage may meet current codes to prevent bullet penetrations, but the connecting structures seems susceptible in not stopping potential attacks.
3.) No fire sprinkler suppression systems exist throughout the building and needs to be upgraded to provide firefighting safety to protect life and property. The old water fire hose systems are ineffective and observed the copper and galvanized piping that has deteriorated over the years from the dielectric (electrolysis) process and is unreliable. No fire rated doors observed throughout the building to contain fire and explosion events. These old unreliable systems should be upgraded and not grandfathered in as lives are at stake.
4.) The back employee and police vehicle parking lot area is vulnerable to stormwater flooding with an ineffective (clogged) drainage system that needs to be restored. An additional drainage system should be added to further reduce flooding and standing water. Greater security and vehicular enclosures are recommended to protect vehicles, especially the expensive tactical vehicles from weather and debris to extend their service life. The abandoned underground fuel tanks and lines need to be either removed or filled in to avoid possible future underground collapse or sink hole depressions from developing.
5.) The outside communication tower was reported not to meet upper hurricane force winds pursuant to current code requirements. Understand birds on this tower and their droppings are a constant problem to the vehicles and surroundings below.
6.) A small portion of the older cast iron water and sanitary sewer internal piping has been replaced leaving the remaining internal piping in question. Some water piping needs shut off valves installed to avoid having to shut off the entire building water system.
7.) Storage space appears inadequate as evidenced requiring some materials to be stored in restrooms and other rooms as opposed to one secure location. Building equipment are located in closet size rooms causing tight quarters making maintenance and repairs virtually impossible.
8.) Room entrances, including restrooms, are too narrow in widths and/or have steps making them noncompliant to ADA requirements. Restroom stalls are not ADA compliant and some restrooms do not have hot water. The few shower stalls are too few and inadequate.
9.) A gas water heater has had previous leaks that needs to be fixed and should have a gas detection device/shutoff valve to prevent possible future gas leaks that could result in a fire/explosion from occurring.
10.) Outdated electrical breaker systems throughout the building not having replaceable parts readily available and apparently exceeds the amperage ratings.
11.) Elevators are the oldest in Broward County and are small in size capacity having questionable hydraulics operation making them unreliable and unsafe.
12.) Observed water/sewer leakage in basement resulting in unhealthy mold and mildew to develop. The basement is cluttered with storage items that are subject to being damaged from the aforementioned water/sewer leakage. The boiler room equipment was reported to be replaced and the cost estimate is approximately $1 Million dollars.
13.) Air conditioning system and air handling units are questionable in providing uniform and adequate cooling. The system currently requires daily manual emptying of the condensed water as there is no drainage to accommodate this need. Some air vents are located between interior walls restricting proper air flow.
14.) Differential settlement appears to have occurred between the older and newer constructed buildings in addition to the new addition separating because it wasn’t properly constructed by lashing (adjoining) the steel rebars together.
15.) Office space is inadequate requiring law enforcement and other staff to crowd into a room originally designed for a single occupant.
16.) Did not inspect the roof but was informed it is in questionable condition. Some leakage stains appear to indicate some roof areas where stormwater moisture is draining down through the cinderblock walls causing plaster/paint failure and susceptible for mold and mildew to exist.
Photos were taken of the more severe areas to better demonstrate the poor conditions the occupants have to endure in this building. These photos will be an invaluable adjunct to demonstrate the poor conditions existing resulting in equipment and building materials being worn out and needing repair or replacement. Expenditures for repairs and replacement of these items are very costly and will still leave the FLPD with an old outdated ineffective building. Many other cities have been confronted with this same dilemma and have chosen to go with a new building having more modern and suitable up-to-date technology capability to handle the current needs of policing a county or city. A new police facility should always be centrally located within the jurisdiction area rather than near outer limits to allow more police responsiveness to crime and other emergency calls.
The above listings are preliminary and should be reviewed for accuracy to provide greater detail to better describe what was observed during my walkthrough. Again, the photos are an invaluable tool to convey the seriousness of these deplorable conditions risking health and safety to the occupants and visitors. I look forward in finalizing this report to be reviewed by my Infrastructure Task Force Committee and submitted to the City Mayor and Commission to take our recommended corrective actions.
Ralph Zeltman, Board of Directors
Imperial Point Association, Inc.