Tag Archives: BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association)

INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

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INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

by David Wilkes

Partner with a Pro for your Reno

I am a proud Torontonian who is fiercely connected to my neighbourhood. I’ve lived in this great region my entire life and, for the last 25 years, raised my family in the east-end of Toronto. We’ve done more than one renovation to our house, which added value and made it our home. Like many Torontonians, my neighbourhood is a part of my identity.

In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our neighbourhoods. They are what make our region great. We value them and recognize the importance of creating livable communities through their development and revitalization.

Increasingly, GTA homeowners are choosing to stay in their neighbourhoods because, like me, they love them. They are renovating rather than selling and creating the home they want in the area they want to live.

Photography: BigStock.com
Photography: BigStock.com

REPUTABLE RESOURCE

There are more than 200 RenoMark renovators in the GTA. All of them agree to abide by the BILD Code of Ethics and a renovation-specific RenoMark Code of Conduct. They understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations.

UNDERGROUND ECONOMY SPIKE

Unfortunately, the introduction of the HST in 2010 accelerated the growth of an underground economy in the renovation industry. A report released by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) in November 2017, shows the amount of residential renovation spending through contractors that leaked underground fluctuated between 38 and 40 percent between 2010 and 2016.

The underground “cash” economy in home renovation and repair poses significant risks, including worker safety liability risks for the homeowner if workers are not covered by the WSIB, no warranties, unfair competition with reputable contractors and loss of tax revenues.

This underground industry also undermines the integrity of the HST system. The report suggested that provincial and federal governments lost $16 billion in potential tax revenues through residential renovations undertaken by illicit contractors in Ontario during the same period.

FINDING CONSUMER-FAVOURED SOLUTIONS

Instead of fostering an underground economy, which encourages the avoidance of paying taxes, the OHBA has recommended the Ontario government consider introducing a tax rebate that would incent homeowners to document properly, and report their contractor renovation projects as well as a Home Renovation Tax Credit for energy-efficient upgrades.

Our colleagues at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association are also active partners with the Minister’s Underground Economy Advisory Committee, sharing industry information and recommendations with the Canada Revenue Agency on how to best address the impact of working around the system.

BILD has written its own renovation Service Standard of Excellence that was presented to the City of Toronto, outlining a practical system that would put the consumer first. The Service Standard of Excellence would speed up approvals and make Toronto City Hall more efficient. This would ease consumer frustrations and steer them away from using the underground economy.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? If you’re considering a renovation, your first step is to go to renomark.ca. There you will find the RenoGuide (Five Steps to a Worry-Free Renovation), the RenoMark Code of Conduct and you can use the Find a Renovator tool to find a participating renovator near you. If you’re a renovator in the GTA looking to get involved with the RenoMark program, email us at membership@bildgta.ca.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

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BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

by Dave Wilkes

Professional renovators help realize homeowners’ vision

Our modern lives are different from how we lived 20, 10, or even five years ago, and we want our homes and living spaces to reflect that. Instead of the small, enclosed rooms of many older homes, we are looking for open living spaces that invite in natural light. And thanks to professional renovators, we can stay in our current homes and neighbourhoods and still get the renewed spaces that accommodate our contemporary lifestyles.

GOLDEN BEE HOMES WINS THE RENOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD L - R Michael Rosset (HPG President), Abraham Mradian, Katherine Pollock, Pars Margarosyan, Jack Torossian, (Golden Bee Homes) Fay Splett, (HPG) & Darren Steedman (BILD Chair) Photography by Rodney Daw
GOLDEN BEE HOMES WINS THE RENOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD L – R Michael Rosset (HPG President), Abraham Mradian, Katherine Pollock, Pars Margarosyan, Jack Torossian, (Golden Bee Homes) Fay Splett, (HPG) & Darren Steedman (BILD Chair) Photography by Rodney Daw

I was reminded of this trend when BILD announced the winning projects at our Renovation and Custom Home Awards on March 9th, 2018 at the AllStream Centre, on the opening day of the National Home Show. Each of the “after” photos featured open, light-filled rooms. If you would like to see them all, search #BILDRenoAwards on Instagram.

RENO & DECOR magazine is the founding sponsor of the Custom Reno awards and participates in the event every year. All professional renovators behind these award-winning projects are GTA-based members of the national RenoMark program.

Best Renovation Under $75,000 BRAMSON CONSTRUCTION
Best Renovation Under $75,000 BRAMSON CONSTRUCTION

The photos and the project description of each winning project illustrate the quality of work and careful thought that the RenoMark renovator invested in making the client’s vision of a bright, airy home, a reality. Bramson Construction, the winner of the award for Best Renovation Under $75,000, removed walls to transform a kitchen, dining and living area into a unified, streamlined space.

Best Renovation $75,000 - $150,000 GOLDEN BEE HOMES
Best Renovation $75,000 – $150,000 GOLDEN BEE HOMES

TOP HONOURS

Golden Bee Homes changed a floor plan with a small, enclosed kitchen and dining room into an open family space that takes advantage of natural light from an existing skylight. The company received the award for the Best Renovation $75,000 to $150,000, as well as the Renovator of the Year award, which is based on survey results from clients.

Best Condominium Renovation W.C. MEEK DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Best Condominium Renovation W.C. MEEK DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

Urbanline Architecture reconfigured interior spaces in a dated house, merging the kitchen and dining room into a space for entertaining guests, and using a glazed wall to connect to light and greenery outside. They received the award for Best Renovation $150,000 to $300,000. The company also won for Best Renovation $300,000 to $500,000, for the transformation of a mid-size, three-storey house into flexible, multi-purpose spaces for a growing family.

Best Custom Home SEVERN WOODS CONSTRUCTION
Best Custom Home SEVERN WOODS CONSTRUCTION

Lewitt Construction converted a 1920s house with small, dim spaces into an open home with large windows and high-end finishes such as walnut floors, a steel-and-glass staircase, and custom millwork. They won the award for Best Renovation $500,000 or more.

Best Renovation $150,000 - $300,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE
Best Renovation $150,000 – $300,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE

W.C. Meek Design and Construction transformed a condo suite by removing interior walls to open up the main living spaces, and let in natural light from the south end of the unit. They also installed low-maintenance flooring for the client’s dogs. The company won the award for Best Condominium Renovation.

Best Renovation $300,000 - $500,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE
Best Renovation $300,000 – $500,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE

SevernWoods Construction created an architecturally significant home with comfortable living spaces for family life and large events, paying attention to providing pleasing views for this ravine house. They were presented with the award for Best Custom Home.

Best Renovation Over $500,000 LEWITT CONSTRUCTION
Best Renovation Over $500,000 LEWITT CONSTRUCTION

If you have been inspired to update your home, start by speaking with a RenoMark renovator. He or she will be your partner in a successful home renovation. You can find one in your area by searching on renomark.ca

BILD would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists.

A complete list of winners can be found in the GTA section of renomark.ca.


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GTA’s top builders and projects honoured at annual BILD Awards

GTA’s top builders and projects honoured at annual BILD Awards

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GTA’s top builders and projects honoured at annual BILD Awards

Mattamy and Great Gulf named as GTA Homebuilders of the Year, Hugh Heron wins Lifetime Achievement Award.

The GTA’s home building and land development industry recognized its top builders, projects and marketing initiatives at the 38th annual BILD Awards on Friday, May 4, 2018.

More than 1,300 industry professionals attended the event, which honoured achievements in planning, design, sales, marketing and city building in 51 categories. A group of 30 expert judges from across North America determined the winners from more than 900 submitted entries.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of BILD’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Hugh Heron, principal and co-founder of Heron Homes. This recognition is the association’s highest honour and was presented to Heron for his 50 years of leadership in the building and land development industry.

HOMEBUILDERS OF THE YEAR

Taking home the night’s most prestigious awards for Homebuilders of the Year were Mattamy Homes for Lowrise and Great Gulf for Mid/Highrise.

The Homebuilder of the Year titles recognize the builders who set the standard for the rest of the industry through their professionalism and dedication to excellence.

The winners are leaders committed to quality, caring for their customers and contribution to their community. A key component of the judging process is a customer satisfaction survey completed by the builders’ purchasers.

The Great Gulf Group has been in business for over 40 years and includes Great Gulf, Ashton Woods, First Gulf, H+ME Technology, and Tucker HiRise. It has grown into one of North America’s premier real estate organizations. They have built their reputation by continually seeking to marry design, technology and experience in exciting new ways.

Mattamy Homes is the largest privately owned homebuilder in North America with a nearly 40-year history of operations across the United States and Canada. The company started in 1978, building one home in Burlington. Today they have over 90,000 homeowners in hundreds of master-planned communities. Mattamy is continually in touch with each homeowner from the first touchpoint at their sales centre, to when a purchaser moves in, to long after they have settled into their new home.

Hugh Heron
Hugh Heron

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

For the past 50 years, Hugh Heron has been a “builder” in every sense of the word in the province of Ontario. Today, he is one of the most active and influential professionals in the new home industry, as well as an avid media spokesperson for the building and land development industry in the GTA.

In 1967, Heron came to Canada and got his first job with Costain, a company that he had worked for in Scotland. In 1979, Hugh went off on his own to co-found Heron Homes with a group that he is still in business with today. Heron’s building entities has gone on to build over 8,000 homes in 50 communities across Ontario and has built over 1,000,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

“For 50 years Hugh has given back to the industry that gave so much to him and his family,” said Wilkes. “He has served in leadership positions at some of the industry’s most important institutions, including chair of the Ontario New Home Warranty Program, past president of both the Greater Toronto and Ontario Home Builders’ Associations, and former senior board member of Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC).”

Heron is also well known for his community and charity work, establishing the Mikey Network in memory of Michael Salem, a partner at Herity who died of cardiac arrest on a golf course in June 2002. The Mikey Network helps place Mikeys (public access defibrillators) in schools, workplaces and public access areas across Canada. These defibrillators have been used to save 39 lives to date and many more to come.

“Hugh Heron’s goal has always been to make the new homebuyer feel comfortable during the building process,” said Wilkes. “Hugh has always made the journey of new homeownership a positive experience. When someone buys a home from Hugh and moves in, he makes sure they feel ‘Home at Last,’ ”’ said Wilkes with a smile.

TOP AWARDS

The People’s Choice Award, determined by members of the public through online voting, was awarded to CentreCourt Developments and SmartCentres for their Transit City development in Vaughan.

“People’s Choice is a unique award because it is the public that decide the winner,” said BILD president and CEO Dave Wilkes. “Nearly 6,000 people voted for projects that competed for the best in city building that demonstrated how the industry is providing a wide range of housing options for GTA homebuyers.”

For community building, BILD has two categories for outstanding projects that embody the province’s smart growth principles: Best New Community (Planned/Under Development) for a project currently planned or under construction; and Best New Community (Built) which recognizes a completed project.

The Daniels Corporation won Best New Community (Planned/Under Development) for Lighthouse Tower East, located at Lower Jarvis Street and Queens Quay East. For its work on Harbour Plaza and One York, Menkes Development won the award for Best New Community (Built).

The Berkley by Arista Homes took home the award for Best Innovative Home Design, which recognizes cutting-edge design in lowrise homes that increase buying choices for entry-level consumers.

Best Innovative Suite Design went to Collecdev’s Unit E8, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit that maximizes living space.

Curated Properties and Windmill Developments won the award for the Best Midrise Building Design for The Plant, which seeks to bring new standards of sustainability and urban agriculture to Queen West.

For their outstanding leadership in the implementation of green building practices, Dunshire Developments was named Green Builder of the Year, Lowise, and Tridel was named Green Builder of Year, Mid/Highrise.

The Project of the Year, Lowrise title went to TACC Developments, Arista Homes Limited, DECO Homes, Fieldgate Homes and OPUS Homes for their Richlands development in Richmond Hill, while Curated Properties and Windmill Developments’ The Plant was selected as the Mid/Highrise Project of the Year.

The award for Best Overall Marketing Campaign went to the team of Graywood Developments and Community for their campaign for Peter & Adelaide.

The Stephen Dupuis Humanitarian Award was given to The Daniels Corporation and the Riley Brethour Leadership Award was given to Andrea DeGasperis-Ronco of OPUS Homes.

For a full list of winners, go to bildawards.ca.


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New home market quiet in March

New home market quiet in March

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New home market quiet in March

New home market quiet as buyers exercise caution, inventory shrinks.

March was a quiet month in the new home market in the GTA, with sales down relative to both last March and the 10-year average, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced April 24, 2018.

There were 1,960 total new home sales in March, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, including 1,649 condominium apartments sold in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, which was down 67 per cent from March 2017 and 21 per cent from the 10-year average.

March condominium apartment sales were below underlying demand levels, according to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president, research consulting services. “Some of the demand that might have normally occurred this year was brought forward last year, helping to set a record year for condo apartment sales in 2017,” she said. “After an adjustment period, we expect the monthly pace of condo apartment sales to improve.”

Single-family home sales, with 311 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up from the 265 sold in February, but down 77 per cent from last March and down 79 per cent from the 10-year average.

This year’s new home sales numbers reflect more typical activity in the housing market after last year’s unusually strong new home sales, according to David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. Last year was the fourth strongest year for new home sales in the GTA since Altus Group started tracking in 2000.

“This year, the cumulative effects of government measures to cool the housing market are likely keeping many potential buyers out of the housing market,” said Wilkes. “Many may simply be taking a wait-and-see approach.”

In March, the benchmark price for new single-family homes decreased slightly to $1,207,832, which was 7.4 per cent above last year, and the benchmark price for new condominium apartments continued to rise to $742,801, which was 39.4 per cent above last March. Behind the increase in condo prices is the fact that the benchmark unit size has increased to 900 square feet from 800 square feet a year ago, while the benchmark price per square foot has increased to $825 from $666 last year.

Low supply of new housing helped keep prices high. The supply of both condo apartments and single-family homes dipped again in March, with total new home remaining inventory at 12,457 units, comprising 8,756 condominium apartments and 3,701 single-family homes. Based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months, this is about four months worth of inventory, while a healthy new home market would have nine to 12 months worth of inventory.

“If we want to see more housing that people can afford, we need to address this region’s housing supply problem,” said Wilkes. “And for that to happen, we will all need to work together to remove barriers to development, which include outdated zoning that doesn’t support intensification, miles of government red tape, and lack of critical infrastructure.”


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Industry Report: Public Housing Concerns that Municipal Candidates Need to Listen to

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Industry Report: Public Housing Concerns that Municipal Candidates Need to Listen to

The GTA is expected to be one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in all of North America through to 2041, with approximately 115,000 new residents arriving each year. Where all of these new residents will live is one of the biggest challenges the region faces, especially given the present tight housing supply and the slow pace of new homebuilding — mired by bureaucracy and red tape.

How policy makers, urban planners, developers and existing residents address the housing supply challenge will shape lives and communities for the next generation.

In just over a month, candidates will begin to declare their intention to run in this year’s municipal election. During the approach to election day on October 22, our organization will outline some of the challenges facing housing supply in the region to help inform readers and spur discussions on this important topic.

To understand public sentiment, BILD asked visitors to the recent National Home Show to share their thoughts and opinions about housing issues in the GTA. Just over 1,000 attendees shared their thoughts and, given the housing market over the last few years, the results were telling.

Affordability remains a high priority, but surprisingly almost half the respondents were not aware of municipal taxes and fees levied on new home development that are embedded in the final price of the home. When told about these added costs, almost two-thirds of people underestimated their impact on a home’s final sale price.

We also found an expectation gap. The overwhelming preference was for larger dwellings in less-dense communities — traditional single-family homes — but because of government intensification targets, significantly less of these types of homes are being built today than even a decade ago. The result is high demand and high price for less inventory options.

Lastly, the appetite for local action was palpable. Over twothirds of respondents felt that local governments are not doing enough to encourage the building of homes that people can afford.

Less than one-quarter felt that municipalities and councillors are doing enough to plan for future housing requirements. This sentiment appeared driven by concerns shared by almost three-quarters of respondents on their (or their children’s) ability to purchase a home in the GTA. Not surprising then, over twothirds of respondents indicated they would support municipal council candidates who pledged to fix the housing supply issue as part of their election platform.

While this was not a scientific survey, it outlines concerns about housing that municipal candidates need to become engage in.

The months leading to election day provides all of us with opportunities to talk about housing’s role in shaping the GTA communities where we live, work and play.

DAVE WILKES is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Bild.ca

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Home Builder: Let’s Get Affordable Housing Right

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Home Builder: Let’s Get Affordable Housing Right

Government needs to put incentives, programs and partnership frameworks in place

I believe that the health, prosperity and quality of life in the GTA depends on access to quality housing for households of all income levels. Affordable housing gives safety and stability to people with low to mid incomes who are often single parents, seniors, recent immigrants and people with disabilities.

To address the needs of the growing concerns of this issue, the provincial government amended the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, adding inclusionary zoning as a new planning tool for municipalities. If done in partnership with the building industry, inclusionary zoning could ensure that affordable housing gets built in a way that promotes socio-economically diverse neighbourhoods.

The new legislation that passed in 2017 gives local government the option to establish policies that would require housing applications to include a certain percentage of affordable units within a development.

The government consulted with municipalities, developers, housing advocates and other interested parties on a framework for inclusionary zoning in Ontario. The government received a broad range of comments and suggestions during the consultation.

The intent of inclusionary zoning is to encourage development of affordable units that would not otherwise be built. For inclusionary zoning to be successful, the building industry needs to be supported by incentives and partnerships. We need to strike a balance between creating affordable housing and encouraging developers to build it.

The provincial government is also contemplating pre-zoning properties that would make the approval system more efficient, giving residents a voice in how their community should grow.

The Urban Land Institute, a U.S. think tank on land use and real estate, published a report in 2016 that provides an in-depth study of how a growing number of cities have adopted inclusionary zoning policies to help increase affordable housing without impacting the overall affordability of housing for everyone.

For example, New York City has voluntary inclusionary zoning and made the program attractive for developers through tax incentives in exchange for including affordable units in their building, or another building within a kilometre of the community district.

Closer to home, the City of Mississauga introduced their affordable housing strategy, titled Making Room for the Middle, that introduces a flexible approach. The city brought the industry to the table to work in partnership to identify a list of tools to help build units sooner by pre-zoning land, decreasing development charges and updating official plans.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and its members are committed in working collaboratively with our municipal partners to support the delivery of affordable housing as demonstrated by our active participation in these initiatives and discussions across the GTA.

We need to find ways to balance the need for affordable housing to keep all homes in the GTA affordable for people to purchase. Development is expensive and if the building industry is to include more affordable units in a development, the government needs to put the incentives, programs and partnership frameworks in place that will make projects viable without undermining housing affordability.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA , Facebook.com/BILDGTA , YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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New house still out of reach for many buyers

New house still out of reach for many buyers

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New house still out of reach for many buyers

Fewer than one-in-five single-family homes available to purchase at the end of February were priced below $750,000.

In February, the prices of new homes in the GTA showed few signs of abating, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced March 22, 2018.

The benchmark price for condominium apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units rose again in February, to $729,735, which was 39.5 per cent above last February, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence. The benchmark price for available new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), dropped slightly from $1,229,454 in January to $1,219,874, but was still 12.8 per cent above last February’s price.

“Tight supply continues to drive pricing levels,” said David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “This is especially true when it comes to the pricing of single-family homes.”

Although the new home market saw a modest increase in supply in February, to 12,896 units, comprised of 9,285 condominium apartments and 3,611 single family homes, supply is still well below what is considered a healthy level. Supply of new housing is typically measured by the number of new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories at the end of the month and includes units in pre-construction, under construction and completed projects. A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months of inventory, and right now inventory is at about four months, based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months.

“While single-family new home inventory is up from last year, it is still quite low in historical terms,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president, Research Consulting Services. “Moreover, there is a dearth of new single-family product that is affordable to a broader range of buyers – fewer than one-in-five single-family homes available to purchase at the end of February were priced below $750,000.”

Sales of new homes in the GTA rose in February from January, with 2,159 new homes sold, but remained soft relative to the very strong sales recorded last February. Sales of new single-family homes were down 82 per cent from last February and 79 per cent below the 10-year average, with 264 units sold in February. Sales of condominium apartments were down 50 per cent from last February but still 17 per cent above the 10-year average, with 1,895 units sold.

Wilkes said that government regulation is a significant factor influencing the industry’s ability to increase the supply of new housing in the GTA.

“We encounter excessive red tape, out-of-date zoning and lack of developable land serviced with critical infrastructure,” he said. “That is why, as the municipal elections approach, we’ll be initiating public conversations about ways policy makers, urban planners, our industry and residents can work together to address the GTA’s housing supply challenge.”

bildgta.ca


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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

by David Wilkes, BILD

We need more collaboration to create thriving complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy their leisure time.

As development in our region intensifies, public art is flourishing in our communities. Besides beautifying the places where we live and work, these sculptures, murals and LED installations create a sense of community, evoke civic pride and invite tourism. Many of these works are the result of creative partnerships between our industry, municipalities and artists.

In the City of Toronto, a large proportion of public art is funded through the Percent for Public Art Program, which has developers contribute 1 per cent of the gross construction cost of projects to public art. In return, the city may allow them to increase the height of a building or build a denser development, an exchange permitted by Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act. Depending on the size of the contribution, it may be used to commission an art installation on site, pooled in the city’s Public Art Reserve Fund, or a combination of the two options.

In the last five years, the program has seen the completion of approximately $25 million in public art, with additional funding secured that has not yet been spent. Since its inception, the Percent for Public Art Program has enriched Toronto with more than 150 pieces of public art. Many are part of condominium developments and enjoyed by residents and passersby alike. An example is a work titled “We Are All Animals,” located in a public plaza in front of a condo near High Park. The installation, commissioned by the developer from a Toronto-based art studio, consists of a long bronze bench, a trio of coyote sculptures and an LED screen showing an ever-changing digital rendering of High Park’s landscape.

Another remarkable piece of art that people can enjoy as a result of collaboration between industry and the city is “Guard with Balloon Dog,” a stencil attributed to the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy, which is on display in the PATH system near 1 York Street. It was found on the wall of a former office building in the Harbourfront area. Before the building was demolished, the developer salvaged the panels, had them professionally restored and eventually had them installed, along with a commissioned companion piece, as a public art contribution accompanying its major mixed-use project in the area.

Other municipalities in the GTA are also building their public art collections thanks to partnerships with our industry, despite the fact that public art contributions are voluntary. For example, in Mississauga, a two-part metal and glass sculpture called “Migration” depicting birds in flight, forms a gateway over Duke of York Boulevard where it meets Burnhamthorpe Road. The work was jointly funded by developers behind two nearby condo projects and the City of Mississauga.

In Markham, kids and kids at heart can ride a colourful piece of public art, a merry-go-round featuring characters that evoke Canada, such as a beaver, a Mountie, a moose and a salmon. The carousel, made by Canadian-born California-based artist Patrick Amiot, is called “Pride of Canada,” and was made out of repurposed materials collected across the country. It is the centerpiece of an extensive public art initiative that is being spearheaded by the developer behind the major mixed-use development in downtown Markham. The eclectic public art collection includes street art photography in an underground parking garage and a floral light sculpture over the entrance of a shopping centre.

I could fill several more columns with examples of art that we all get to appreciate because of innovative partnerships between our industry and municipalities. As our region continues to grow, we will need more of this kind of collaboration to create thriving complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy their leisure time. With elections approaching this year, BILD will be asking questions about how we can work together to make this vision a reality.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Associatio (BILD).

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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THE COUNCIL: Construction industry targets red tape

THE COUNCIL: Construction industry targets red tape

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THE COUNCIL: Construction industry targets red tape

by Richard Lyall, RESCON

There is no reason why Canada should be ranked 54th out of 190 countries measured by the World Bank for a routine building approval.

The year 2018 will be marked for big steps in cutting red tape and speeding up the development approval process.

Frankly, there’s no excuse that a wealthy country like Canada should be ranked 54th out of 190 countries measured by the World Bank for a routine building approval (construction permitting for a warehouse in Toronto).

I feel that this was an important topic for our debut contribution to the Builder Bites Newsletter as this is an unacceptable statistic for Toronto, Ontario and Canada that you should know about.

That’s why approvals are being targeted by both the builders council that I represent – RESCON (Residential Construction Council of Ontario) – as well as the cross-sectional construction organization that I’m proud to chair this year – CDAO (Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario).

This is a continuation of a lot of good work that RESCON and other CDAO members – including BILD and OHBA – took part in through the provincial Development Roundtable Action Plan. The 14-point plan unveiled last April includes implementing the use of e-permitting as well as streamlining development processes to boost the supply of new housing.

So, what does that mean for a new homebuyer? It’s simple; we’re trying to get more supply on the market to slow down the increasing costs of new housing. Supply inventory in the GTA has dropped to less than half of what it was 10 years ago while more than 100,000 people move into the region every year.

But there is no silver bullet to the GTA’s supply issue. It will take a multi-pronged approach to help free up supply for new homebuyers, including building with innovative new practices (including tall wood), off-site construction and panelization.

All three building practices will continue to grow in 2018 as pieces of panelized homes are constructed in a factory then shipped to sites around the GTA like massive bits of Lego. The actual on-site assembly time is reduced by months and this can save new homebuyers a lot of time.

Back to development approvals: read this space this spring when RESCON will write more about its latest published report on best practices to streamline and improve Ontario’s development and approvals process. The report will have three themes: streamlining routine planning and applicable law approvals; expanding e-permitting in Ontario; and enhancing the role of professionals in regulatory compliance.

The red tape problems we are looking for include those related to excessive delays; excessive costs; problems with accountability and corporate culture within regulatory agencies; unnecessary or unclear procedures, processes and requirements; as well as last-minute/surprise requirements.

Richard Lyall is the president of RESCON and has represented the building industry in Ontario since 1991.

Reach him at media@rescon.com or @RESCONprez.

Thanks for reading yet another great product by HOMES Publishing Group.


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Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

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Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

by David Wilkes

BILD welcomes new President and CEO David Wilkes

I am writing this column – my first as President and CEO of BILD – sitting in a café in downtown Toronto, looking at the development and growth that makes the Greater Toronto Area one of the most vibrant and dynamic regions in North America. I am struck not only by the economic activity that is taking place, but the realization that our members are providing a place for people to call home.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

BOOMING INDUSTRY

There is no doubt that our industry is an important economic engine of growth. Over 197,000 people are employed in the new home construction, renovation and repair industry in the GTA. The industry generates $11.4 billion in wages and brings $30 billion in investment value to the area.

However, the economic importance of our industry is only part of the story and part of the reason that I am excited to join BILD. The societal contributions of the industry are also striking; ensuring that neighbourhoods and communities are places that people can live in and call home is a tremendous responsibility. The purchase of a new dwelling or engaging in a home renovation is a special time in one’s life. It is both a financial and an emotional investment.

I’m very proud to be leading the building, development and professional renovation industry. It is made up of hard-working professionals. There is a culture and a passion that runs deep throughout our industry and I look forward to contributing to the industry.

LOOKING AHEAD

2018 will be a busy year. We are a few months away from a provincial election and then municipal elections in the fall. During this time, BILD will share its ideas and thoughts with you and those seeking public office. We will discuss how we can work with our elected representatives to ensure that consumers have a wide range of choices when they invest in a new home, and that decisions are made to ensure housing remains affordable across the GTA.

Over the course of the year, we will continue to work closely with stakeholders and partner associations to demonstrate to provincial, regional and municipal governments the impact that new pieces of legislation and regulation have on customers. We will also share ideas and recommendations on solutions that help achieve both government and industry goals on behalf of the people of the Greater Toronto Region.

BILD will launch a new RenoMark website that will be your source for renovation advice and professional renovation contractors. We will continue with our five steps to a successful renovation seminar to help you make informed decisions about your home’s renovation project so you can renovate with confidence.

HOME SHOW IMPROVEMENTS

I am excited about the evolution of our Home Shows. One of the biggest changes you will see is more interactive experiences, like virtual reality software that not only allows you to design your home in a virtual space, but also teaches you how to do your own home renovation.

Make sure you mark your calendar and visit our GTA Home & Reno show on the Family Day weekend February 16 – 19, or the National Home Show over the March Break, March 9 – 18, 2018.

On the weekend of November 2 – 4, 2018 we’re launching a new home show called HomeFest. This show addresses the change in your home as you advance through different stages of your life. It’s like you’re viewing the show through your home’s perspective rather than your own.

I look forward to continuing to share BILD’s view on the current and future state of our industry through this column. I am very proud to be representing this great industry, and I plan to work with our members to deliver on our societal and economic responsibilities.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Associatio (BILD).

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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