New condos scarborough . Will the Miami building collapse happen in Canada?
New condos scarborough . Will the Miami building collapse happen in Canada? When Jack Driscoll saw the video of the collapse of the Surfside apartment building in Florida.
Driscoll lives on the second floor of a 12-story apartment in the Dartmouth district of Port Halifax. He could lean over the balcony railing and look directly at the water below slapping against the concrete foundation.
“you can’t help thinking ‘what if’,” he said. “what if there’s a flood?” What if there are cracks in the concrete? “
According to the 2016 census, more than 3.6 million Canadians live in apartments. More than 30% of Vancouver’s city dwellers are apartment dwellers, the highest proportion in Canada.
After the collapse of Surfside’s building, apartment residents with Driscoll’s ideas were asking if their building was at risk of a similar disaster.
According to the Canadian condominium Association, there are 113000 condominium companies in the country. There has never been a major structural accident in an apartment building in Canada. Check regularly to find potential problems before they become a disaster. And almost all condominium buildings must set aside funds to cover future maintenance costs. None of these protective measures are mandatory in Florida.
“We have a big problem,” said Eric Glazer, a condominium lawyer for Fort Lauderdale. For years, he has advocated stricter regulation of condo buildings.
“now, we have a credit system here,” he said, adding that it is mainly up to the condominium committee to monitor whether their buildings need to be repaired.
Only two counties in Florida require any form of official inspection of these buildings, and these inspections only need to be carried out when the buildings are 40 years old.
This is what happened to the collapsed building. It was built in 1981 and conducted its first condition assessment in 2018. It found serious structural problems that cost millions of dollars to repair. Although the inspection engineer found no sign of the imminent structural failure, it was clear that the necessary work needed to be carried out immediately.
However, when residents received a bill of $9.1 million, many of them refused to approve the necessary work.
It took three years of fierce infighting before they finally reached an agreement, but by that time the cost had soared to about $15 million. The building collapsed as soon as the homework began.
In Canada, the rules for the inspection of apartment buildings are very different.
Depending on the province, buildings must be assessed every three to five years to develop reserve fund studies, also known as depreciation reports in British Columbia.
These studies estimate the possible maintenance and replacement costs of major components such as roofs, windows, elevators, balconies, heating and air conditioning over the next 30 years.
The apartment committee outside Prince Edward Island is required to pay for these potential future costs through monthly apartment fees, which all owners have to pay for the operating costs of the building.
The reserve fund research process includes regular site inspections of buildings.
“in Ontario, you don’t have to wait 40 years to find a problem that has been obvious for a long time,” said Chris MacMillan, a registered reserve planner. He is the owner of AvidCRP in Barrie, Ontario.
MacMillan works with the condominium board to make sure they set aside enough money to keep the building in good condition. He believes that the kind of problems found in collapsed homes in Florida will be discovered more quickly in Canada. “when we study the reserve fund on the ground, we will find this signal of danger,” he said. “
But many older condos are trying to recoup their reserves because they are not required by law to provide appropriate funding for construction. They have now reached the age when a great deal of necessary maintenance is needed.
“I want to say that if your building is 30 to 40 years old, you should have concerns,” MacMillan said. Not that it will collapse, but that you should take action on any visible problem. “
This can be expensive. MacMillan says, for example, that an old building he is dealing with costs 10 million yuan for maintenance, but the early savings are not enough to cover the cost.
MacMillan says it is not accurate to calculate how much money is saved. Although the life of major items such as roofs, heating systems and windows is well known, things may change. For example, a sudden leak could lead to the replacement of roofs in 10 years, rather than the expected 20 years later, and raw material prices could soar, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, if the reserve fund is properly maintained, there should always be a large amount of money available to cover most of the costs. MacMillan said that the aim is to prevent expensive maintenance costs in the future by paying for regular maintenance.