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

What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

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What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

Over the years that I have been involved in new condominium marketing and sales, I have seen suite designs evolve to keep up with changing purchaser needs and wants. Separate kitchens have morphed into linear layouts and become part of the main living area. Barn doors on bedrooms have eliminated the space required for swing doors. Entrance hallways are rare nowadays, as they represent wasted space.

I have been thinking about what changes might be next, and I believe one may be the attitude toward balconies by both developers and buyers. As prices have increased dramatically over the past few years, square footages have gotten smaller to make suites more affordable. Currently, having a personal outdoor space is a must for many buyers, so developers typically include as many balconies as the building design will allow for. Nowadays, however, with prices continuing to rise, I see buyers wanting every square foot possible in their suite interiors. If you look at, say, a 10-by-five-ft. balcony, that is 50 sq. ft. that could make a big difference inside. This predicted trend is a reality in cities such as New York right now, where you do not get balconies in new condos period.

Looking at this another way, keep in mind that the outdoor shared amenity spaces in today’s condos are extraordinary. When residents want to commune with nature, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in courtyards and on terraces and rooftop gardens. We even see urban vegetable and herb gardens in some condos.

The other design trend I see catching on in the future is the addition of more Zen-type spaces in the amenity rosters of condos. In many ways, the condominium lifestyle is conducive to well-being and healthy living. Buildings are located close to local amenities so residents can walk or bicycle to run errands. Exercise facilities right in the buildings makes keeping fit convenient. Lately, I notice yoga/Pilates and stretch studios being included as well, plus Zen gardens to encourage meditation.

There has been a lot of media attention recently to circadian rhythms – our 24-hour cycles that are affected by internal physiology, as well as sunlight, temperature and other external cues. In short, our circadian rhythms are our sleep/wake cycles. When these are out of whack – which happens a lot nowadays because of our hectic lifestyles – we can experience insomnia, daytime sleepiness or both, putting us at greater risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. The trend toward including Zen gardens and areas in new condos has started, and I see more of this type of shared space in the future. We will likely even see nap rooms in offices and work areas, to encourage mindfulness and enhanced health.

The word from the agencies we deal with at Baker Real Estate Incorporated is that condominiums represent 60 per cent of new construction, and that percentage is growing. Imagine the positive impact that the increase in well-being for condo residents will have on society as a whole!

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc., winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog.


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Provincial Government's housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

Provincial Government’s housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

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Provincial Government’s housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

Like all markets, Ontario’s housing market is driven by the laws of supply and demand. Strong demand for housing has created a persistent housing supply challenge that can only be solved by boosting the number of new homes being built. This approach makes common sense and has also been supported by numerous economists and academics. This is why BILD is encouraged by the provincial government’s focus on boosting housing supply.

Every month, BILD releases the previous month’s new home sales data, gathered by Altus Group, tracking the relative health of the new housing market as reflected in sales, inventory, price per sq. ft. and comparisons to historical trends.

The data we released for September 2019 pointed to a modest recovery from the slump of the previous year, but, given that new home sales and inventory increased in tandem, underscored that the GTA continues to experience a significant housing supply crunch.

In many previous columns I have highlighted that the GTA is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in North America, with an average of 115,000 net new residents per year. Our population is expected to reach 9.7 million by 2041. Given this robust growth in population, demand for housing of all types, to buy or rent, is strong and will remain so.

The challenge is that the supply side of the housing equation in Ontario is highly regulated and dependent on factors that can make it less responsive to demand signals. The first of these factors is the supply of land designated for residential construction and serviced with the appropriate infrastructure. Within the cities of the GTA, the amount of available lands for new residential construction has been steadily decreasing.

Another factor that restricts our housing supply relates to planning and approvals. New housing cannot simply be built anytime, anywhere. All new housing projects go through a complex and lengthy approval process, subject to multiple pieces of provincial regulation, which is interpreted and administered by municipal governments. This slows the supply side from being able to meet demand signals. As a result, in the GTA it takes on average 10 years to complete a typical highrise project and 11 years to complete a typical lowrise project.

Like a growing number of governments around the world, the Ontario provincial government has recognized that achieving balance in the housing market starts with increasing supply. The government recognizes that adding new homes helps moderate prices, creates trickle-down housing opportunities for those looking to enter the housing market and has a beneficial impact on the rental market.

BILD is highlighting some of the benefits of the province’s Housing Supply Action Plan in a public education campaign called The Math is Simple. I encourage you to learn more at bildgta.ca/themathissimple.

Dave 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.


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BILD Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – what’s in store for GTA housing next year?

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Outlook 2020 – what’s in store for GTA housing next year?

Global and even some Canadian economic and political uncertainty shouldn’t derail growth in the GTA housing market next year, according to experts at the Building Industry and Land Development Association’s (BILD) recent Outlook 2020 event.

Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist at RBC, and Peter Donolo, political and communications strategist with Hill + Knowlton Canada, said that overall, the fundamentals for the economy and housing market in Ontario and the GTA bode well for 2020. There are some challenges, however – namely the ongoing new home supply issue.

With Justin Trudeau’s Liberals re-elected as a minority government, Canada will see a relatively stable left-leaning federal government that will focus on environmental issues, affordability and redistribution rather than on economic growth, Donolo says.

BILD Outlook 2020
Left to right, Dave Wilkes, Peter Donolo and Craig Wright

Globally, geopolitical uncertainty and softening economic growth mean that Canada faces challenges with export and investment, leaving the heavy lifting to the consumer, according to Wright. Economic growth is expected to be modest and in line with employment and income, at about 1.7 per cent, and interest rates will likely continue to be low.

Strong employment growth

For Ontario, GDP growth will likely be a notch below, about 1.5 per cent, with housing starts for 2019 and 2020 at about 72,000 units, compared to about 79,000 in 2018, Wright says.

“That reflects a number of factors,” Wright told HOMES Publishing. “We continue to see strong employment gains, Ontario is leading Canada in terms of employment growth on a year-over-year basis, and strong population growth. So, strong fundamentals supporting it, in a low rate environment.”

BILD Outlook 2020 Craig Wright
Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC

The GTA’s robust population growth will continue to drive demand for both ownership and rental housing, Wright says. Municipal and provincial governments are shifting to supply-side solutions for balancing the housing market.

“As you look at the structural reality of the GTA market, where we have immigration coming in… we have 140,000 to 150,000 people coming to this region each and every year,” adds BILD President Dave Wilkes. “That really does bode well for our industry.”

The mortgage stress test needs to be revisited in light of the continued low interest rates, Wright says.

Millennial attitudes

Another issue that might affect the Canada and the building industry is Millennials and their views on the environment and the economy – attitudes Donolo describes as “absolute.”

BILD Outlook 2020 Peter Donolo
Peter Donolo, political and communications strategist, Hill + Knowlton Canada

“When I say absolute, you talk about the oil sands and it’s like you’re talking about the Medellin drug cartel,” he says. “They’re not conscious or interested in the fact that the oil sands and Canada’s oil and gas sector is a kind of the backbone of the Canadian economy, that millions of jobs depend on it… They’re not interested in a kind of slow transition or weaning away from it. They think it’s immoral… and this is a very widespread view.”

Millennial views on homeownership are also different, Donolo says.

“Do Millennials look differently at what homeownership is about? Are they less interested in owning a traditional detached house with a backyard and property? If you look at rates of drivers licenses among Millennials, there is perhaps an indication.”

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The rules of renovating your condo are worth knowing

The rules of renovating your condo are worth knowing

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The rules of renovating your condo are worth knowing

Renovating a condominium isn’t as easy as you think. In a traditional detached home, replacing kitchen cabinets, changing your floors or even changing a faucet is relatively easy. You can call up a renovator, sign an agreement and poof, your home improvement project is in progress. In a condominium, however, before you can do any work, you must get permission from your condo board or management company.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Prior to any condo renovation, you’ll need to do some homework, too. It’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the renovation rules your condo board or building management company may have. Some have simple rules, while others can be extensive. Understanding and communicating these rules to your renovation contractor will help them develop a more accurate estimate. Here are some rules that may increase your budget and add time to the renovation.

  • Restricted construction times. For example, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. like a normal project.
  • Restricted parking access. If the contractor isn’t allowed to use the visitors’ parking area to unload materials or pick up garbage, then workers may need to walk a block or more to get to their vehicles.
  • Restricted elevator access. The use of the common elevator needs to be scheduled and some days you may not be able to use them at all.
  • Protection of common areas. If you are required to put protective flooring or wall protection daily, this will add time to the overall renovation.

Do you know that you don’t own everything in your condo? If you open up a wall, you’ll find that there are water lines, a drain line, air ducts and electrical conduits. These common building elements are not yours and you most likely can’t move them. This means that if there is a bulkhead or dropped ceiling that you were hoping to move or eliminate, you might not be able to.

There are some things in your unit that you own like the toilet and faucets. You may change them, but often drain lines that take water and sewage away are designed for the fixtures that are currently there. This means that you may not be able to change a low-flow toilet or showerhead to a higher-flow fixture as it will change the water pressure in a way that the system wasn’t designed for. This type of problem is more relevant to taller buildings.

One upside of condo renovation is that you typically don’t need a building permit as you are not touching anything structural. All you need is plumbing or electrical permits if you are changing these systems. This means that you can begin your renovation much faster.

I personally like this type of work because you can do anything that is superficial like painting, changing laminate flooring, tiles or cabinets. These parts of your condo are the most visible and this is where you can add your own personal style.

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.


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Local planning appeal tribunal often works for the common good

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Local planning appeal tribunal often works for the common good

If you follow development and construction in Ontario, you will be familiar with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and its predecessor, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

LPAT adjudicates disputes about the decisions of municipal councils as they relate to the Planning Act. Opponents of development often label LPAT as biased in favour of developers. These critics erroneously believe that the decisions of local councils should be placed ahead of Ontario policy and legislation.

What often goes unmentioned are the countless decisions by LPAT that have resulted in new housing developments that benefit those in need. As the provincial government prepares to introduce changes to streamline and expedite the LPAT process, it is a good time to remember some of these decisions.

Thanks to LPAT, Habitat for Humanity was able to build nine affordable housing units at 357 Birchmount Rd. in Scarborough, despite opposition from the local councillor and residents.

Housing for more than 1,700 students will be added to the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph after the resolution of appeals to LPAT.

When the City of Toronto was unable to reach a decision within the prescribed time frames, LPAT allowed the building of 1,000 purpose-built rental units near transit in the High Park neighbourhood of Toronto.

A housing project for seniors on vacant Toronto District School Board property got the go-ahead from LPAT after the city failed to make a decision. It resulted in a continuum-of-care facility funded by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, and 49 independent seniors’ apartments.

In Hamilton, LPAT approved a residential care facility for adolescent girls with mental health challenges following the intervention of the Ontario Human Rights Commission over the city’s bylaw objections.

These are some of the numerous decisions that have been made by LPAT, and the OMB, that have resulted in development that would not have occurred in their absence. These decisions, by LPAT and the OMB, have benefited seniors, students, people with disabilities, and those needing rental housing in a city with a housing shortage.

When a group feels a municipal development decision runs counter to provincial policy or legislation, the case can be brought to LPAT, which derives its authority from provincial legislation.

Through Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, the province reinforces the notion that an effective and efficient tribunal is a necessity to ensure that planning conforms to provincial policy and regulations and that the planning process is free of political interference.

Recently, the provincial government announced changes to LPAT to enhance the effectiveness and speed by which the body adjudicates disputes. These positive changes will increase LPAT resources, streamline the appeals and ensure that decisions are made on the latest and best possible information.

Undoubtedly, these are positive steps to increase supply of housing and affordability for Ontarians.

Dave 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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Building and development brings benefits to the GTA

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Building and development brings benefits to the GTA

In many of my columns, I focus on the need to increase housing supply in the GTA and the regulatory and policy barriers that are leading to shortfalls. This issue, I’d like to highlight the benefits that the building and land development sector brings to the region. When all of the data is unpacked, many people are surprised to find out that the industry is an economic engine of the region.

Each year, members of our industry construct about 40,000 homes of various types – detached single-family homes, townhomes and highrise apartments – as well as countless commercial buildings and, increasingly, purpose-built rentals. To get the job done, they employ people in more than 120,000 jobs, both on-site in the trades and construction positions that carry out the building, and off-site in the planning, design, architectural, engineering, financial and support services, that enable the physical construction. These are local jobs that will stay local. The industry adds more than $7 billion in wages to the GTA economy, which in turn get spent and support the people and companies that provide goods and services to those employed in construction and development. New home building contributes $17 billion in investment value in the GTA.

When home renovations and repairs, including those carried out by BILD’s RenoMark renovators, are added to the mix, the numbers are even more impressive. The home renovation and repair sector employs people in more than 150,000 jobs, bringing the overall total of jobs created by new home building, renovation and repair to about 270,000, a significant portion of the GTA job market. The renovation and home repair segment has a payroll of $9 billion and represents $16 billion in investment value.

All this activity results in new communities and renewal of existing housing stock – buildings and infrastructure where people can live, work and play. It also results in significant tax revenue for all levels of government, which is reinvested in the programs and services that support our society.

Aside from the income and corporate taxes that result from home building and renovations, each home constructed contributes to the public coffers. A 2018 study commissioned by BILD and conducted by Altus Group found that the fees, taxes and charges applied by all levels of government and rolled into the cost of a new home accounted for 22 per cent of an average GTA singlefamily home (or $186,500) and 24 per cent of an average highrise apartment (or $121,500).

About a third of that is the HST that flows to the federal and provincial governments. Approximately another third consists of development charges that go to the regional and municipal governments to fund infrastructure, roads, transit and municipally provided social services such as affordable housing and daycare. Other government charges on new homes include parkland dedication, which municipalities collect to support new parks; land transfer tax, which goes to the province; and in the case of Toronto, municipal land transfer tax, which goes to the city.

Every new home built provides a place for a family to live, supports three fulltime jobs, generates economic activity that supports the broader economy, and lastly, provides tax revenues for all levels of government, supporting government programs, services and infrastructure enjoyed by all residents of the GTA. The building, land development, and professional renovation industries are truly engines of our economy.

Dave 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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August new single-family home sales outpaced year-earlier levels for the 10th month in a row

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August new single-family home sales outpaced year-earlier levels for the 10th month in a row

It was a typically quiet August in the GTA new home market this year, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 1,400 new home sales in August, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. This was up 19 per cent from August 2018 but still 23 per cent below the 10-year average.

Condominium units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounted for 961 new home sales, down four per cent from August 2018 and 12 per cent from the 10-year average.

“August was the first month since March that new condo apartment sales didn’t exceed their 2018 level,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “Typically, very few new projects open in August, and this year there were actually none. This played a role in the slightly lower number of new condo sales compared to August last year.”

August saw a decrease in inventory compared to the previous month, to 16,529 units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

Single-family home sales, with 439 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up 143 per cent from last August, but still down 39 per cent from the 10-year average.

“New single-family home sales outpaced year-earlier levels for the 10th month in a row in August,” says Arsenault. “But the level of sales remains low in historical terms, with affordability of available product an issue for many would-be buyers.”

The benchmark price of new single-family homes in August was $1.08 million, down 4.1 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $840,799, up 7.2 per cent over the last 12 months.

“It is encouraging to see sales of single-family homes increase as the market returns to more typical levels,” says BILD President and CEO David Wilkes. “However, we still have concerns that until fundamental adjustments are made to align supply with demand in the GTA housing market, we will continue to have affordability challenges.”

August new home sales by municipality, August 2019

Source: Altus Group


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Building and development brings benefits to the GTA

Latest News


Building and development brings benefits to the GTA

In many of my columns, I focus on the need to increase housing supply in the GTA and the regulatory and policy barriers that are leading to shortfalls. This issue, I’d like to highlight the benefits that the building and land development sector brings to the region. When all of the data is unpacked, many people are surprised to find that the industry is an economic engine of the region.

Each year, members of our industry construct about 40,000 homes of various types — detached single family homes, townhomes and highrise apartments — as well as countless commercial buildings and, increasingly, purpose-built rentals. To get the job done, they employ people in more than 120,000 jobs, both on-site in the trades and construction positions that carry out the building, and off-site in the planning, design, architectural, engineering, financial and support services, that enable the physical construction. These are local jobs that will stay local. The industry adds more than $7 billion in wages to the GTA economy, which in turn get spent and support the people and companies that provide goods and services to those employed in construction and development. New home building contributes $17 billion in investment value in the GTA.

When home renovations and repairs, including those carried out by BILD’s RenoMark renovators, are added to the mix, the numbers are even more impressive. The home renovation and repair sector employs people in more than 150,000 jobs, bringing the overall total of jobs created by new-home building, renovation and repair to about 270,000, a significant portion of the GTA job market. The renovation and home repair segment has a payroll of $9 billion and represents $16 billion in investment value.

All this activity results in new communities and renewal of existing housing stock — buildings and infrastructure where people can live, work and play. It also results in significant tax revenue for all levels of government, which is reinvested in the programs and services that support our society.

Aside from the income and corporate taxes that result from homebuilding and renovations, each home constructed contributes to the public coffers. A 2018 study commissioned by BILD and conducted by Altus Group found that the fees, taxes and charges applied by all levels of government and rolled into the cost of a new home accounted for 22 per cent of an average GTA single-family home (or $186,500) and 24 per cent of an average highrise apartment (or $121,500).

About a third of that is the HST that flows to the federal and provincial governments. Approximately another third consists of development charges that go to the regional and municipal governments to fund infrastructure, roads, transit and municipally provided social services such as affordable housing and daycare. Other government charges on new homes include parkland dedication, which municipalities collect to support new parks; land transfer tax, which goes to the province; and in the case of Toronto, municipal land transfer tax, which goes to the city.

Every new home built provides a place for a family to live, supports three full-time jobs, generates economic activity that supports the broader economy, and lastly, provides tax revenues for all levels of government, supporting government programs, services and infrastructure enjoyed by all residents of the GTA. The building, land development, and professional renovation industries are truly engines of our economy.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

bild.ca

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Toronto tour of laneway housing

Tour of Toronto’s laneway housing

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Tour of Toronto’s laneway housing

Photography: Craig Race Architecture Inc.

A few weeks ago, we took BILD’s RenoMark renovators and custom homebuilders, as well as a number of journalists, on a tour of laneway and infill homes in Toronto. We were delighted by the level of interest in this event and happy to add an extra bus to accommodate everyone. We were not surprised to see that people are enthusiastic about the possibilities of laneway housing and eager to learn about the technicalities of building them. With laneway dwellings allowed to be built “as of right” in Toronto and East York as of only last summer – and with city council expected to make a decision in the near future on expanding this to Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke – we are all entering exciting new territory.

The adjunct advantage

A laneway home is typically a second, smaller dwelling built at the back of a lot, facing onto a public lane that shares utilities with the main house. Laneway housing has many advantages, both for homeowners and for neighbourhoods. For the homeowner, a laneway home can be a source of rental income or provide extra living space for extended family. For neighbourhoods, having homes facing onto laneways can improve safety and inject beauty and vibrancy. Laneway housing increases density in a non-intrusive way, enabling a more efficient use of infrastructure such as: transit, schools and community centres. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, laneway homes will contribute some much-needed rental housing in the city of Toronto.

Style meets function in The Junction

The Junction

That will certainly be the case with the first project on our tour – a laneway home that just broke ground in The Junction. The homeowners, who graciously answered questions from our tour participants, are planning to rent out the two-storey, three-bedroom house when it’s completed later this year. With more than 1,400 sq. ft. of living space, this home will do away with notions that laneway homes are cramped sheds in backyards. The best part? The homeowners report that the neighbours are excited, and some are even interested in building on their own lots.

The second laneway home on the tour also offered a feeling of spaciousness, both in the open-concept living area on the ground floor and in the courtyard behind the house. This two-storey, two-bedroom Leslieville home, currently rented out to a young family, was converted from an existing garage.

Sustainable supplement

Leslieville

Next on the tour was an infill project in Leslieville. Infill construction means building and renovating homes in established neighbourhoods. Infill homes, like laneway homes, add gentle density in our communities. The infill home we visited was created after an architect severed an unusually shaped lot into two separate properties. The home is filled with light and its high-performance building envelope helps conserve energy. A basement apartment provides extra rental income.

Laneway building incentives

The City of Toronto is offering two programs to encourage homeowners to develop laneway suites. The first allows for a deferral of development charges for 20 years, while the second provides a forgivable loan for property owners who agree to rent out their laneway suites at an affordable rate for 15 years.

Are you thinking of adding a laneway home on your property, or building or renovating an infill home? Laneway and infill building projects come with their own unique challenges when it comes to zoning requirements, design considerations and construction techniques. Your best bet is to work with a professional RenoMark renovator or custom homebuilder who can guide you through the process. To find one in your area, visit renomark.ca.

Making sure we have enough housing for the 9.7 million people who will call the GTA home by 2041 is a generational challenge. We need innovative solutions — laneway and infill homes among them — to meet it.

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.


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Plan Ahead: BILD president shares insider tips to ensure your renovation comes up roses

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Plan Ahead: BILD president shares insider tips to ensure your renovation comes up roses

Like thousands of people in the GTA every year, I just had a major renovation completed on my home. It was a great way to make sure that my home meets the changing needs of my family, and that it is updated with features and designs that match our current tastes. In doing so, I experienced first-hand the benefits of using a professional renovation contractor, and putting into practice what the Building and Land Development Association (BILD) and its RenoMark renovators recommend to all their clients.

By following our own recommendations, I didn’t experience any nightmare scenarios that unfortunately, are more common than anyone would like to think. The end result was fabulous, the project was finished on time and on budget, and while most renovations often have some bumps in the road, the process went relatively smoothly.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Spend the time upfront to have a very clear picture of what you want to achieve. Know your budget, and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Chances are, as you proceed with your renovation, you will likely have to make some trade-offs between what you want and what you can afford.
  • Choose your renovation contractor carefully. Interview at least three. If you don’t know where to start, you can find a list of RenoMark renovators on the RenoMark.ca website with renovators in your city from coast to coast. The benefit of using a RenoMark member is that they are professionals, they carry all the applicable licenses and insurance coverages (including WSIB). Also, they will always provide a written contract, provide a two-year warranty on their work and continually upgrade their skills with ongoing education provided by the local home builder’s associations (HBA).
  • When interviewing potential renovation contractors, make sure that they understand your vision for the renovation and are able to work with you to fine-tune your project. Ask for references from previous clients and check them! Don’t just be satisfied with pretty pictures and a snazzy brochure. If they are not a RenoMark renovator, ask them to provide evidence of insurance and workers compensation coverage, ask about their warranty coverage and ask if they are members of the local HBA. Insurance and WSIB coverage are important because if the renovator does not have coverage, you, as the homeowner, could be liable in the event of an accident on the job site.
  • Make sure you have a comprehensive written contract with the renovator. This will make sure you get the renovation you want, and protects you in the event something goes wrong. Check our website for tips that outline some of the most common terms and features you will want to make sure are included in your contract.
  • As the renovation progresses, make sure to stay in regular contact with your renovation contractor. Book regular progress meetings. Changes are bound to occur with the project as you are working with an existing, and sometimes older, structure or home. When you do make changes, make sure to document them with your contractor in a change order.

Fortunately, my overall experience was a very positive one. I worked with a professional and was very happy with the end results. Remember: you wouldn’t hire someone off the street to repair your car; you would go to a licensed mechanic, so why would you risk the biggest investment of your life, your home, to a nonprofessional just to save a few dollars?

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.


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