Tag Archives: David Wilkes

INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

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INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

by David Wilkes

Looking to renovate? Getting permits and approval may take longer than the work itself

Your family is growing and you need more space. You have two options. You can sell your house and move into a bigger home, or you can renovate your home and add more living space. You love your neighbourhood and do not want to move, so you decide to renovate.

Your first inclination may be to focus on the latest trends and finishes, but before you do that, your time is much better invested in getting the necessary approvals and permits. In some cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), that can take months for a smaller renovation and up to a year for more ambitious projects.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

REALITY BITES

Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that it is as simple as filing your plans and obtaining your permit—a week or two and on to swinging hammers. The reality can be quite different. When planning a major renovation or custom-home build, the approval and permitting times can stretch for months, and may include multiple steps of getting approvals for variances to existing zoning requirements, setback regulations and obtaining approvals from other municipal departments like Urban Forestry. If re-zoning through the Committee of Adjustment is required, the entire process can take well up to a year.

Layered onto this, many municipalities are failing to meet The Ontario Building Code’s timeframes of just issuing a building permit in 10 business days, delaying renovation projects and adding unnecessary costs to projects. In 2017, in the City of Toronto, nearly half of all residential building permits were not issued within the required legislated timeframe.

RENO RED TAPE

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reviewed 6,011 City of Toronto permits and the average timeframe for issuing these permits was 31.4 calendar days. That is two to two-and-a-half times the provincially mandated maximum. It is important to note that this review included thousands of applications from very basic and quick permits, to permits with values of over $100,000; the issuing of these permits took an average of 45 days or six weeks.

Further delays in the process come from a lack of access to inspectors and inspection delays that can tangle homeowners up in even more red tape. Your dream renovation has now become a bureaucratic nightmare. The permit and approval system needs a good renovation itself.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS

BILD wants to put the customer first so they can enjoy their newly renovated or custom-built home sooner rather than later. Based on our members’ experience, we wrote the Service Standard of Excellence document to provide practical guidance to municipalities on how to speed up approvals and make the process more efficient.

We are asking cities to commit to a reasonable turnaround time for renovation permit applications, we are proposing the implementation of a one-window permitting, web-based portal that makes the application process smoother and transparent, and we are calling for improved service by building inspectors similar to the standards expected for Internet and telephone providers.

As we get closer to the 2018 Municipal Elections this fall, we will be meeting with councillors and mayors across the GTA to ask them to adopt the measures outlined in the Service Standards of Excellence and get them to provide building and renovation approvals and permits in line with the provincially mandated requirements.

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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Vaughan, Mississauga and Toronto sign Housing Pledge

Vaughan, Mississauga and Toronto sign Housing Pledge

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Vaughan, Mississauga and Toronto sign Housing Pledge

BILD sets out its four-point plan on how municipalities can help make housing more affordable and increase supply.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) held press conferences in Vaughan, Toronto and Mississauga to launch its Build for Growth campaign that coincides with the 2018 municipal election.

The campaign outlines BILD’s four-point plan on how municipalities can help make housing more affordable and increase supply.

“Housing will be a key election issue in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Dave Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD. “Providing housing for the next generation is a challenge that needs to be solved in a partnership between residents, the building industry and municipal governments across the region.”

BILD’s four-point plan shows how municipalities can take a leadership role in increasing the supply of housing and support sustainable, affordable growth and make sure government fees, taxes and charges on new homes are fair and equitable, fund and build critical infrastructure, cut red tape, and adopt a Standard of Service Excellence for building permits and inspections in order to speed up building and renovations. The mayors of Vaughan and Mississauga, as well as Toronto’s deputy mayor, signed a Housing Pledge acknowledging that housing is an issue that must be addressed and that they are committed to engaging in a dialogue with government partners and the development community to expand the amount and types of housing options that are available. They believe that buying a new home should be a time to celebrate a major milestone and join a community. Over the next few months, BILD will be calling on all municipal candidates to sign the pledge.

BILD encourages citizens of the GTA and all municipal candidates to visit BuildForGrowth.ca to sign the Housing Pledge and make their voices heard. With 1,500 members, BILD is the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area.

http://www.bildgta.ca/


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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

Not enough new housing is being built for sale or rent and this results in higher prices, higher rents and long waits lists.

by Dave Wilkes
BILD

The other day I was listening to pundits on talk radio debating the issue of housing affordability — and what can be done to address the high cost of putting a roof over your head.

It sounded like the experts were talking right past each other, apparently discussing completely different issues. I realized it was because their definitions of housing affordability were different.

It seems to me, though, that some of the solutions can be the same. Housing affordability is a complex subject. At the risk of oversimplifying, there are really three different definitions. The first is housing — houses and condos — that the average family can afford to buy. The second definition is housing that the average person can afford to rent. And the third is not-for-profit rental housing, where collective ownership (co-op) or a degree of social assistance (subsidized housing) helps ensure that the cost of housing can be borne within the income of the resident.

All of these definitions of housing affordability are valid and all come with specific issues to address if affordability is to be tackled as an issue. Unfortunately, as is often the case with highly political topics, it is the differences that get debated — winners and losers get picked and opportunities get missed.

What is common to all three definitions is lack of supply. Not enough new housing is being built for sale or rent, and there is not enough not-for-profit rental housing to meet the need. This results in higher prices, higher rents and long wait lists. A number of factors affect the supply of all three forms of housing. All are subject to the same lengthy bureaucratic approvals process prior to being built. All three require land that is adequately serviced with existing infrastructure that can accommodate the increased usage (for infill projects) or new infrastructure if it is an entirely new development. Lastly, all three forms of housing are subject to layers of regulation, reliance on community acceptance and the political will that exerts influence on building projects around the GTA.

Any one of these factors can add cost, impact the number of new units that come to market, delay new housing from being built or halt construction entirely.

On the cost side, newly built homes that fall under the first two definitions are also subject to government fees and charges that increase purchase price or impact rental costs. BILD recently published a study on the government fees, taxes and charges applied to new homes in the GTA. It demonstrated that the layers of tax-on-top-of-tax added almost 25 per cent, or $186,500, to the price of an average single-family home in the GTA.

In the lead-up to this year’s municipal election, we need our governments not to pick winners and losers, but to focus on housing policies and reforms that can have broad benefits and increase housing supply.

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

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


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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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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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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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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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