CMPX starts today
The Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition, one of the largest North American trade show for the mechanicals industry, starts today at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Bring your walking shoes: it’s a huge event.
The Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition, one of the largest North American trade show for the mechanicals industry, starts today at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Bring your walking shoes: it’s a huge event.
The design excellence program is about incorporating good urban design and architecture to help spur sustainable growth
Many GTA home buyers rank a convenient commute high on their list of new home must haves. Whether it’s the journey to the office, shops, schools, or a transit stop to embark on the next leg of a trip, commute times can be a major selling point when deciding on a home purchase.
For half a century, GO Transit has played a vital role in people’s commutes across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Over the next 25 years, the $45 billion regional transportation plan developed by Metrolinx will increase service and connect even more communities, resulting in improved commutes and more housing options.
Beyond laying down new tracks and trains, Metrolinx has ambitious plans to transform how people get around by adopting the principles of what is known as design excellence. Design excellence is about more than just visuals, as Metrolinx is thinking about how their new transit developments should be designed to better integrate into communities, build ridership and instill a sense of pride in transit.
In essence, the design excellence program by Metrolinx is about incorporating good urban design and architecture to help spur growth, increase sustainability, usability, and improve passenger comfort and safety. All while ensuring public dollars produce thoughtful and costeffective results.
The Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Toronto’s first stand-alone rapid transit line in almost two decades, is receiving the design excellence treatment by Metrolinx.
The ECLRT will have new and identifiable station buildings that support city building, clear signage, streetscaping to beautify the neighbourhood, as well as outdoor platforms with built-in snow melting that will reduce snow clearing costs and the need for salt, which damages vehicles and the environment. Metrolinx will also enhance neighbourhood connectivity with the ECLRT, incorporating designs that encourage sustainable travel options such as walking, cycling and carpooling.
The transit project, which will stretch from Weston Road to Kennedy Road, will contribute to Toronto’s midtown in more ways than one, simultaneously creating new transit connections and improving the public realm.
The Davenport Diamond guideway, which will help increase service on the Barrie GO line and facilitate two-way electrified service, is another example of design excellence in action by Metrolinx.
The guideway initially drew some concern with residents in the area due to its size and proximity to households. However, through the principles of design excellence, which emphasize community engagement and public realm improvements, the benefits being proposed have since changed the tone of the conversation about the project.
Over public consultation sessions, Metrolinx outlined how design excellence promises that the guideway will not only allow for speedier transit service, but will also introduce a new piece of public infrastructure that contributes back to the community. It is set to feature prominent public realm improvements, a linear greenway park connecting to the West Toronto Railpath and includes a significant and prominent integrated art piece commissioned for the elevated rail portion.
While design excellence was not built into many of Ontario’s transportation projects in the past, Metrolinx has made great strides to change this by ensuring good urban design and architecture are part of the package.
Transportation is crucial, especially in a region grappling with gridlock and congestion, and the commitment to design excellence by Metrolinx promises to deliver a high standard for the region. It’s exciting to see what’s in store for the region’s transportation infrastructure over the next 25 years.
TIM SYRIANOS is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com.
German steelworkers are threatening to strike over the right to take up to two years’ on a 28-hour “work-life balance” schedule. The shortened workweek would – theoretically – be used to care for elderly parents or young children. With unemployment rates at record lows the union feels confident its goals will be met. If so, we assume workers will use their 28 hours very efficiently.
While many people see a crack in a wall as a mild inconvenience, it is safe to say that the vast majority of homeowners don’t like seeing a crack in the wall because it’s not aesthetically pleasing, and on top of that, it can be a sign of jeopardized structural integrity. Either way, the most important thing here is the fact that you can fix many wall-related predicaments yourself without having to hire a professional and spend a fortune on renovations.
You’ll need some masonry tools and various other components such as sandpaper, adhesive tape, utility knife, and etc, depending on the material you’re trying to fix or patch up. In this particular guide, we will cover the process of fixing drywall, concrete walls, patching of plaster walls, and repairing deep cracks.
You’re lucky if you run into issues with drywall because it’s the easiest thing to repair on our list. The first thing you need to do is cut a V-shaped notch along the crack with a utility knife and vacuum the dust and debris. Once you’ve done that, cover the whole crack with self-adhesive fiberglass tape or mesh tape. Bear in mind, if you decide to use mesh tape, apply some joint compound before because it’s not self-adhesive.
Now that you’ve covered the crack with tape apply a layer of joint compound over the area, and extend it for 2-3 inches on either side. The reason behind this is simple – you have to make sure you’ve covered the whole crack as well as the freshly applied tape.
Allow the area to dry for at least 12 hours before you sand it and prepare it for painting.
The method of patching a plaster wall is quite similar to the aforementioned process of fixing drywall. However, that only applies to minor cracks. In case the plaster is pulling away from the lath, you’ll need to take additional steps in order to fix it properly. First, you need to drill a couple of holes that are going to go through the plaster but won’t damage the lath. Drill holes at approximately every two inches along the crack. Clean the area of dust and debris and make sure you vacuum the holes so that there is no leftover dust because that will affect the adhesive’s ability to hold.
Once everything is clean, spray the adhesive conditioner into the holes. Subsequently, begin applying the adhesive once the conditioner dries. It’s a good idea to attach plaster rings immediately after using the adhesive so that it pulls the plaster as tight as possible against the wall. After it cures, remove the rings, cover everything with joint compound and let it dry. Once it’s finished, sand it smooth. While this isn’t rocket science, some people simply don’t want to go through all the hassles.
Messing with concrete walls is probably the most complicated process on this list. The good thing about it is the fact that you don’t need a pallet of different materials in order to fix it. Instead, all you need is an epoxy kit. These kits come in two parts, usually abbreviated as A and B. Before you start mixing the components, use a few 3-inch finish nails and tap them into the crack, keeping a 12-inch distance between the nails. Mix the epoxy and apply a small amount to every port tab. On top of that, fill up the crack with epoxy as well. Use a simple paintbrush to smooth out the rough epoxy edges. Let it dry for at least 8 hours.
Once it dries out, inject liquid concrete by using a caulk gun. Remember to start from the bottom and plug each port before moving to the next one. Let it dry for at least five days and cut the excess with a hacksaw.
When it comes to painting the cracks, it’s tricky. You can opt to paint just the crack, and to use tools like paint rollers, brushes, or you can do the next reasonable thing – paint the whole wall. The easiest way to do that is with a good paint sprayer and a little bit of patience. Just choose the perfect color for your wall and paint it. Don’t forget to take your paintings of the wall, though.
As you can tell, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on professionals, especially if you’re dealing with minor interventions. All you have to do is follow the instructions, and you’ll end up fixing the matter by yourself. On the other hand, if you stumble upon particularly large cracks, it’s a good idea to call for inspection and make sure the place is safe for living.
*Article courtesy of EiEiHome
If you check out Toronto’s skyline, you’ll see cranes – lots and lots of cranes. They’re a sign of the times in today’s condo construction boom. While the frenzied market we saw for detached homes in 2017 has calmed down a bit, the demand for condos has continued to grow as people see them as the only affordable option.
While there seems to be no shortage of willing condo buyers, however, there is a shortage of preconstruction condos available for sale. Unfortunately, this is due in part to development projects taking longer than expected to be built, or some being cancelled altogether.
There may be many different reasons why some developments don’t ever get constructed – for example, the builders might lack sufficient capital or fail to obtain the necessary zoning or permits. Whatever the cause, a cancelled project can leave purchasers without a home to look forward to. The good news is that it shouldn’t leave them out of pocket.
Under the Condominium Act, if a condo project is cancelled, purchasers are entitled to receive their entire deposit back, including any payments made for extras and upgrades. This is because the builders are required to put these monies in trust or provide alternative acceptable security. If a project is terminated and for some reason the deposits and other amounts are not repaid by the vendor then condo buyers are eligible for protection from Tarion up to $20,000, plus certain accrued interest.
If you’re buying a pre-construction condo, there is always a risk that the project could be delayed or cancelled. There have even been cases where purchase agreements are terminated and then the condos are constructed at a later date.
That’s why it’s important for potential buyers to know that under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, a builder must attach an Addendum to every condo purchase agreement that requires them to disclose the status of the zoning approval and construction. It also limits what kind of early termination conditions that they can impose in the purchase agreement and obligates them to use reasonable efforts to meet these conditions before they can cancel the project.
There are consumer protections in place to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to complete a condo project, but it is important to understand your rights as a purchaser if it does not. If your purchase agreement is terminated through no fault of your own, you should get your money back within 10 days. If you don’t, Tarion is here to help.
HOWARD BOGACH is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders. Tarion.com
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s begins “pre-conference” meetings today in Victoria, B.C. The conference officially opens on Wednesday, March 21. The National Awards for Housing Excellence will be doled out at a gala event on Friday night.
Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering is the newest community by Madison Group.
The project features 10 single detached homes and 57 townhomes, both rear lane and street towns.
For more information on Frenchman’s Bay, please visit our Presentation Centre located at 1635 Bayly Street, Pickering or visit our website at MadisonFB.com
Smart investors see into the future
By Ryan P. Coyle
CONNECT Asset Management
People often ask us how to invest in real estate and what they should be looking for in an income-producing property. The real estate industry is full of various scenarios and situations that can impact an investor’s return.
This is a great time for investors to buy a condo. If purchased early in the cycle, the developer generally offers more competitive pricing and incentives to get the shovels in the ground faster. The lower pricing and greater choice afforded by the pre-construction phase is certainly a big selling point for potential investors.
We are constantly talking to investors and listening to what it is that they want in a pre-construction investment property. What is interesting is that the dialogue is essentially the same regardless of whether we are speaking with a seasoned investor or somebody that is new to the investing process. Their investment strategy seems to have many of the same key features. Below is a summary of some of the top priorities for investors who are looking to purchase pre-construction.
A realtor that specializes in pre-construction
Investors are looking for a proven team with a solid track record and strategy in pre-construction. They are looking for knowledge and information and will look for a professional that can help them understand things such as taxes, costs and fees, how to read building plans, understanding assignment clauses, condo fees, etc.
There are definitely perceived risks to buying pre-construction due in part to fear of the unknown. Our advice is simple: only deal with a team who has worked directly with builders in the area and who have the most insight into the pre-construction process. Investors generally understand that the right professional can get them access to the best properties and help them manage these properties for the long-term.
It should be no surprise that one of the first things that investors look for when buying pre-construction is location. Investors understand that the quality of the location will influence the type of renters attracted to the property. In downtown Toronto, most renters are young professionals who enjoy the simplicity of condo living. Our clients are looking for locations with a robust job market, a good walk score and amenities like parks, grocery stores, restaurants, cafés and public transport hubs.
Rental income is the bread and butter of a rental property for an investor. One of the main things that investors look for when buying pre-construction are average rents in the area. Investors want to ensure that the rent will be high enough to cover mortgage payments and other expenses. Our clients are generally looking for opportunities that will put them in a positive cash flow situation. With low vacancy rates and condo rents soaring, it is no surprise that this can be a deal breaker for some people.
Investors want to be as educated as possible when shopping around for pre-construction investment opportunities. They want to know what future developments are planned for the area as this can positively or negatively impact the value of the property. Is it a high growth area or one that is currently in decline? While many clients are looking for a sure thing and will only buy in an established location, some clients are looking for a neighbourhood in the early stages of gentrification. Savvy investors know that these properties can sometimes result in a faster and higher appreciation for the investment property.
The deposit structure is something that investors will look at when buying a pre-construction condo. The more appealing the deposit structure, the more appealing the property. A lower down payment requirement up front, as well as a flexible payment schedule, can be very enticing to investors. Another thing that many investors look for is an assignment clause. Some investors want the flexibility of being able to sell on assignment, prior to closing. The assignment clause allows them to do this. Extra incentives like free parking or locker, discounts for buying early, etc. are also at the top of the list.
I believe that buying pre-construction is an essential part of the long-term growth story. Pre-construction condos are one of the best real estate investment opportunities available for independent investors who know that they can build serious wealth in real estate by buying pre-construction.
Ryan P. Coyle is a broker and real estate advisor with CONNECT Asset Management.
Condo construction starts hitting new highs
By Shaun Hildebrand
Thanks to a resilient local economy and stable Canadian banking sector, in the years that followed the 2009 financial crisis Toronto began leading annual lists of most highrise projects under construction in North America. While New York has caught up in recent years, Toronto is poised to soon regain its top position. The number of condo developments under construction in the GTA increased to 215 projects and 58,900 units at year-end 2017. There was also a multi-decade high for purpose-built rental construction, which reached 22 projects and 7,184 units. Total combined apartments under construction of 66,084 units was a record for the GTA — and it’s about to grow even higher.
According to Urbanation’s database, 144 condo apartment projects were in pre-construction at the beginning of 2018, totalling 40,148 units. This was the product of a record-breaking year for pre-sale launches in the GTA that saw 32,194 new units come to market in 2017, a level that was 63 per cent higher than the 10-year annual average of roughly 20,000 launches. And these new projects were big — 42 per cent of launches had more than 300 units and 18 per cent had more than 500 units — so not only will there be more units starting construction in the near future, but they will also stay under construction for longer than in the past. Construction will also become more spread out across the 416 and 905 regions.
Looking ahead to this year, Urbanation is expecting a moderation in new launch activity from 2017, but remaining historically high as developers will continue to be encouraged to bring new product into a market that is experiencing record levels of absorption (96 per cent of units under construction and 87 per cent of units in pre-construction are pre-sold), 15-year lows for unsold inventory, and new launch selling prices that grew 30 per cent last year. This tells us that condo apartment construction starts could be hitting new highs for at least the next two to three years.
At the same time, the industry has been under-delivering completed units, a phenomenon that could add to construction bottlenecks in light of the number of condos entering the pipeline, leading to adverse economic consequences for new projects such as higher than anticipated construction costs and longer than expected development timelines.
Indeed, condo apartment completions dropped to a five-year low of 13,513 units in 2017, which was 8,121 units less than the 21,634 units scheduled for delivery at the beginning of the year. This has been a consistent occurrence — since 2010, actual completions have averaged 7,780 units less than the amount scheduled in each year. Recognizing this fact and looking backwards at construction starts trends, Urbanation is expecting actual completions to average approximately 19,000 units per year out to 2020, quite a bit higher than last year but in line with levels from 2014 to 2016.
Given these factors, the number of condos under construction in the GTA could easily surpass 70,000 units within a couple years. And this doesn’t account for the swelling number of purpose-built rental projects that will be breaking ground.
Urbanation is tracking 108 dedicated rental apartment project applications in the GTA totalling 33,787 units. All told, there could soon be more than 80,000 total apartments under construction, representing a significant source of economic growth for the region, but also a call for more construction trades and greater innovation for the industry to maintain and improve efficiencies.
Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice president of Urbanation Inc.
Innovative technology a game changer
By Vicki Griffiths
Imagine building a house as easily as you connect Lego pieces. Granted, the pieces are much larger, but Quebec company BONE Structure has made building a snap with its innovative steel construction technology. And that’s just part of the beauty of BONE Structure; its houses can be designed to fit on any lot, can be reconfigured and readapted to fit homeowners’ changing needs, and are highly energy efficient.
BONE Structure was founded in 2005 by Marc A. Bovet, who had worked in upper management at aerospace and transportation manufacturer Bombardier. While having his own house built, he found conventional building methods lacking. He figured there was a better way to build and recruited engineers, architects, industrial designers and interior designers to develop the BONE Structure system, which combines the advantage of post and beam building system with superior energy efficiency.
Similar to the technology used to make parts for cars and airplanes, the 11-gauge steel components are designed using 3D software and laser cut with surgical precision. The homes don’t have any interior load-bearing walls, so each home offers great design freedom. The high-performance integrated design thermal building envelope is an excellent integrator when building Net Zero Ready or Net Zero homes and the houses can easily achieve LEED or PassivHaus certifications.
While there are examples of BONE Structure’s work in Ontario (the company also has buildings all across Canada and in California), most have been one-off custom home projects. Now that Fourteen Estates, an award-winning Pickering builder best known for luxury custom homes, is moving into the production home realm with its Eden Park development in Newtonville, it recruited BONE Structure as its building partner. The 28 luxury contemporary homes on three-quarter-acre lots at Eden Park will be a hybrid between custom and production homes. With BONE Structure providing the production work, the homes will be completed in a much shorter time frame than with conventional home building methods. Fourteen Estates will put the finishing on the homes with its signature craftsmanship and attention to detail.
“This is likely the first modern-design and high-performance subdivision of its kind in Ontario,” said Bovet. “The homes will have large open spaces, will be very energy efficient, thanks to our high-performance building envelope and patented steel structure construction system.”
The Eden Park homes will be Net Zero Ready, potentially saving homeowners up to 90 per cent in energy costs and with the addition of solar panels and can become fully Net Zero (producing as much energy as they produce). The steel system makes it easy to reconfigure the homes to adapt with homeowners’ changing needs, including adding more rooms, removing or moving walls, or modifying a floorplan.
The system has benefits for builders, too, who want to stay within budget. The integrated design, production and construction approach takes the guesswork out of what costs will be and each component of a BONE Structure house, down to the number of screws, is itemized. Construction is not complicated and there is no cutting, piercing or welding required. The technology is patented in 42 countries and Bovet wanted to develop a system that could be used in almost any country around the globe and could be assembled even by workers without in-depth construction knowledge.
With a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly building, BONE Structure is ahead of that curve, too. It uses non-toxic building materials to ensure indoor air quality, it’s just-in-time delivery system results in minimal waste on job sites and the steel frames are fully recyclable. Is steel the new wood? It just might be.
Vicki Griffiths is the co-founder and director of Vicbar Marketing.