Glass replacement on Shangri-La balconies could begin within weeks

TORONTO – Construction workers will begin replacing the balcony glass of the Shangri-La within two weeks.

Through a communications agency, Shangri-La developer Westbank Projects said it had planned on replacing the building’s glass balconies even before the city demanded further testing after broken glass fell in July.

“In light of recent events, we have been working with the City of Toronto regarding the residential balconies at 180 University Avenue,” the statement to Global News said. “Prior to receiving the City order, Westbank had already ordered glass and initiated the replacement procedure.”

Westbank said it will start replacing the glass within 12 days. In the meantime, condo owners have been asked not to use their balcony.

The city demanded Westbank thoroughly test their glass last week after preliminary examinations showed the tempered glass in the buiding’s balconies included nickel sulphide, which can cause glass to break.

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If tiny particles of nickel get into the tempered glass when it’s constructed, it can make the glass to shatter later on, said Forensic Engineer Jeff Archbold.

“Like water turning to ice in your freezer”, Archbald said.“The nickel sulphide will expand as it cools.”

Since the city ordered testing, the company has erected scaffolding outside the building to protect passerbys should more glass come down.

Glass has fallen from the luxury hotel and condominium building five times since construction was completed in 2011 – including once in September, 2013 when a man suffered minor injuries after being hit by falling glass.