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Groundbreaking at Kingdom Developments' KSquare Condos in Scarborough

Kingdom Developments breaks ground at KSquare Condos in Scarborough

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Kingdom Developments breaks ground at KSquare Condos in Scarborough

Kingdom Developments Inc. has broken ground at its Canadian flagship, mixed-use condominium development, KSquare Condos, just a month after launching sales for the project.

“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to start construction just one month after our sales launch,” says Eric Jensen, Kingdom Developments’ vice-president, projects. “This speaks volumes to the success of KSquare Condos and the significant demand the project commands from both end-users and investors who recognize the incredible value and ownership opportunity that KSquare presents.”

KSquare Condos is located in the heart of central Scarborough at Kennedy Rd. and Sheppard Ave. E., an area currently experiencing a major transformation in new city planning and rapid development growth.

Major transformation

“As one of the first major developments in the city’s most dynamic neighbourhood, KSquare Condos is an exciting addition to Scarborough, an area that’s naturally poised for a residential density boost,” says Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor, Jim Karygiannis.

With more than 485,000 sq. ft. of planned development comprising of retail, office and mixed-use residential, KSquare presents a strong investment and ownership opportunity, the company says. Over the next decade, KSquare Condos is expected to kick-start rapid growth in population density and spur new job opportunities in this already fast-growing neighbourhood.

Groundbreaking at Kingdom Developments' KSquare Condos in Scarborough
Groundbreaking at Kingdom Developments’ KSquare Condos in Scarborough. Left to right, Raymond Chau, sales and marketing manager, Kingdom Developments; Danny Tito, executive vice-president, Skygrid; Jacob Ma, president, Kingdom Developments; Jim Karygiannis, councillor, City of Toronto; Jason Heidman president, Skygrid; Gary Chen, senior project manager, Kingdom Developments. Photo: AGI Studio

Across the rail corridor from KSquare, the City’s ambitious plans for Agincourt Mall will create retail and office jobs in a dynamic community of new shops, restaurants, cafes, offices, parks and a public square. With 10 million sq. ft. of office space, Scarborough has seen impressive job growth over the last decade, and is home to the head offices of top Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, IBM, Compaq, BMO, HSBC, Sony, Volvo and Lenovo.

‘Kennedy Central’

Dubbed “Kennedy Central,” this area between Kennedy Rd. and Hwy. 401, will soon benefit from improved planned transit service with the proposed $5-billion plan to build a three-stop subway extension in Scarborough with stops at Lawrence East, Scarborough Town Centre and McCowan Rd.

With the existing Agincourt GO station to the north and projected SmartTrack and Sheppard East LRT stations nearby, residents will be able to connect to downtown in minutes. Drivers will also appreciate easy access across the GTA via Hwy. 401, which is directly to the south of KSquare Condos.

Designed by IBI Group with interiors by Tomas Pearce Interior Design, KSquare Condos features two sleek, elegant glass towers rising 36 and 39 storeys above a shared seven-storey podium.

Eric Jensen, vice-president, projects, Kingdom Canada
Eric Jensen, vice-president, projects, Kingdom Canada

KSquare features a wide range of suite types and sizes including one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts. Prices start from $372,900 and early buyers can also take advantage of a free parking space included in their purchase price.

“We have a really diverse group of condo units and sizes,” Jensen told Condo Life. “On the one end, we’ve got the students at (University of Toronto Scarborough) that are looking for a small one-bedroom, but at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got a number of three-bedroom plus den corner units for full families.”

Signature amenities

KSquare will not only be home to Toronto’s largest private condo library and study area, residents will also have access to amenities such as two private music rehearsal rooms, state-of-the-art gym, pet grooming spa, kids zone, 24-hour concierge, an expansive party room with two dining areas and a rooftop terrace offering panoramic neighbourhood views.

“The real highlights are… the seventh-floor outdoor terrace is spectacular, it’s really like having a taste of a forest or High Park that you can just step out into,” Jensen says. “The private library is probably the crown jewel of them all. The versatility that this type of space offers… you can go there to study, there are breakout rooms, quiet spaces… it all ties into the library, and we’ve got moveable panels to open up spaces.”

Construction now underway at Kingdom Developments' KSquare Condos in Scarborough
Construction now underway at Kingdom Developments’ KSquare Condos in Scarborough

“The lobby itself is very unique, if for no other reason than its size,” Brian Woodrow, senior designer, Tomas Pearce, told Condo Life. “It’s almost a full double height, has a fireplace lounge, a business/tech lounge, so its broken into two areas and its meant to draw people together in a work, live and communicative environment.”

Kingdom Developments gave Tomas Pearce the freedom to execute its ideas, Woodrow says. “They came to us with these ideas… I wouldn’t call them prerequisites because they gave us a free hand, which is very unusual, and allowed us to develop these thoughts and notions from our design standard point of view.”

The KSquare community will be surrounded by nature and greenspace. Bordering the building, South Linear Park boasts over half an acre of parkland and trails and the building’s grounds will also feature lush landscaping that will weave into a central courtyard to the east of the main entrance.

Register at ksquarecondos.com or visit the Presentation Gallery located at 2035 Kennedy Rd., open Monday to Thursday noon to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Fridays.

RELATED READING

KSquare Condos is the flagship of Kingdom Canada coming to Agincourt

Luxury condos coming to Scarborough with KSquare Condos

 

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Restoring a Heritage Home

Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

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Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

Transforming a heritage home into a real estate jewel through a renovation or restoration is a labour of love – it requires a commitment to architectural character and a willingness to meet the challenge of unexpected surprises along the way. If your client has hired you to preserve the look, but update certain areas, the following are five broad categories that you’ll want to investigate.

HISTORY

Age, general architectural style and condition

Learn as much as you can about the history of the building. The historical society can be a good resource. Also, check archives for any old permits, drawings, photos, or newspaper articles about former owners. Learning about the lives of the people who built and lived in the house can help with restoration decisions. Many styles of architecture have played a role in our history, from Queen Anne, Victorian to Colonial Revival. Occasionally, you might also find a true Arts and Crafts style home too. It’s worth documenting the details of the home and checking books at your local library (or on the Internet) to determine its exact style. By learning the age of the home, who its former occupants were and its architectural style, you’ll be able to more easily piece together the “historic” puzzle for your client.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Structure, electrical, plumbing, heating-cooling and drainage

As far as condition goes, it’s worth investing in the services of a home inspector who is knowledgeable about historic architecture. He or she will be able to create a report that identifies potential problem areas and suggest viable, cost-effective solutions.

Problems with infrastructure can range from knob and tube wiring to clay pipes in plumbing. Foundations can be problematic as well, as old concrete can settle and crack, causing the building to shift; a pencil or a marble placed on the floor may well provide you with a heads-up. Any horizontal cracks in the concrete indicate severe settling and could mean costly repairs. If you suspect any underlying issues with the structure, it’s best to have it inspected by a structural engineer.

Envelope, roof, insulation, walls, windows and doors

Before changing any of the elements that make up the envelope of the building, ensure that replacements or repairs will maintain the architectural character.

Windows and doors on old homes can be problematic due to rotten wood and energy inefficiency. Luckily, most historical boards recognize this and let owners replace them with more modern choices as long as the general character is the same. However, if you are fortunate enough to have windows with stained or art glass, consider hiring an expert to restore them.

Many older homes were originally insulated with horsehair or newspaper. Newer homes, but older than 1990 may also have vermiculite insulation which likely contains asbestos. In most cases, an investment is needed to remove the old insulation and properly insulate the walls, the attic and the roof. Energy rebates may be available for this.

Interior furniture, fixtures, materials and decorative trim

The interior design of a heritage property can be very detailed, and it’s important to decide which characteristics contribute to the value of the home. Ceiling details and interior trim — such as door stiles and rails, wainscoting and any decorative motifs — can be extremely valuable and worth preserving or restoring to its original state. Wallpaper patterns can be replicated and heritage paint colours are available.

Door and window hardware is often bronze, copper or crystal. Sometimes missing fixtures or ornate lighting can be found in architectural salvage stores.

The fireplace was the focus of many older homes. Oftentimes, mantel and hearth details were spectacular and included carved wood or marble. Make sure the home inspector is a bit of a detective as well and removes bits of paint in inconspicuous areas to see if you own a hidden treasure.

Landscaping, hardscape, plantings and style

The landscaping of a historic property can’t be overlooked. Many of our forebears brought their gardening skills with them from England, Italy and France, where gardens were outdoor living spaces. While it may be difficult to determine from an initial observation of what a garden may have once looked like, old photos can provide valuable clues.

Scent gardens, formal seating areas tucked into the shrubbery, and decorative ironwork gateways that framed views of other landscape elements. Gardens can give a heritage property context and take a historic home from stunning to truly spectacular.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes.

She is an expert in the field of design and construction and is a columnist for several HOMES Publishing Group publications.


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Construction

Ontario’s new apprenticeship ratio a boon to home building industry

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Ontario’s new apprenticeship ratio a boon to home building industry

 

Construction

The Ontario government’s plans to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system is welcome news to the home building industry.

“This is a game changer,” says Rick Martins, president of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA). “This means our industry will finally have a system in place to close the trades skills gap across Ontario. This means employers can finally bring apprentices into their small businesses and train the next generation of skilled trades workers. This opens thousands of new opportunities for youth, and people looking for new employment opportunities.”

COMPETITIVE BOOST

The new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the current ratio of 3-to-1, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices.

“The existing apprenticeship system in Ontario includes ratios that are among the most restrictive in Canada – this is why it hampers builders,” OHBA CEO Joe Vaccaro told Homes Publishing. “Most other provinces have had a 1-to-1 ratio for years, and as a result Ontario ranks last in Canada in the number of tradespeople with certification. The high ratio limits Ontario’s ability to compete and remain competitive.”

OHBA says it has been recommending lower apprenticeship ratios for about 10 years, to help make Ontario a competitive training and business jurisdiction and removing a major barrier for young people to enter the skilled trades.

“Ontario will grow by more than 4.3 million people in the next 25 years, and with that there will be an overwhelming need for skilled labour in the building and renovation sector,” says Vaccaro. “With this new apprenticeship plan, our members are now going to be able to hire and train the skilled workers they need to build the new housing choice and supply for future #homebelievers.”

For home builders and renovators employing carpenter apprentices, the current ratio of 3-to-1 means a company must have three licensed journeypersons on staff before they can hire an apprentice.

“This ratio may not be a reality that makes sense how builders and renovators operate their businesses,” says Vaccaro. “For example, they may not have the exact mix of employers to apprentices, or they may want to take on more than one apprentice but not have the proportionate number of staff to support additional apprentices.”

RELATED READING

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

Home construction and renovation the largest contributor to Canada’s underground

economy

 

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Building condos in urban areas requires the use of traffic lanes

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Building condos in urban areas requires the use of traffic lanes

We often joke in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that we have two seasons, winter and construction. Most people can do without winter, but construction is essential to city building. We put up with it because we know that infrastructure like roads, sewers and watermains, must be continually maintained to ensure the viability of our growing cities. The same can be said when it comes to new condo construction.

On occasion large construction projects like condos in the downtown core can take up traffic lanes and create traffic slowdowns. Unfortunately, to keep up with the influx of the 9.7 million people that will call the GTA home by 2041 and to build to Growth Plan policy, our industry will be building highrise buildings in urban areas that may slow down your daily commute.

A recent City of Toronto motion was put forth to consult with the development industry to eliminate the practice of occupying sidewalks and traffic lanes for construction purposes. While this might help ease traffic congestion, it does very little to help keep the cost of new homes down. If the development industry is forced to build off-site staging areas, instead of using the already in place and legal City right-of-way, the extra cost incurred by the industry will ultimately make new homes more expensive.

A construction staging area is a physical location used for the storage of construction related equipment and materials such as vehicles and stockpiles. The City has policies to deal with this issue and the construction industry pays hundreds of thousands of dollars per project to be able to use City property for this legally allowed and long standing purpose.

The provincial Growth Plan calls for more intensification in urban areas where transit is available and where people work. Therefore, the City of Toronto has urban design guidelines that allow for the construction of tall buildings very close to the property line. These are the challenges of building in an urban environment. There is little or no room to do anything on the site and the only way to build safely is to take a lane of public traffic.

The industry is constantly looking for ways to alleviate traffic construction by avoiding closing down lanes and keeping costs down by side-stepping building off-site staging sites that would ultimately increase the cost of a new home or condo.

Developers often reach out to residents for solutions. A developer of a midtown 70,000-square-foot condo was considering an underutilized park adjacent to the highrise as an alternative to using the street. Having to build a separate staging site at a cost of $1,000,000 would have increased the price of a condo by $20,000 or $30,000. Using the street is the best way to keep the development affordable.

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

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Marking the groundbreaking and start of construction of Davpart's Avro Condominiums in Toronto are, left to right, Skygrid Executive Vice-President-Residential, Danny Tito; Baker Real Estate President, Barbara Lawlor; Davpart’s Ari Hofstedter and Zev Hofstedter; Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects Partner, Greg Alexander; Baker Real Estate Vice-President, Jeff Clark. Photo: Spencer Wynn

Davpart begins construction at Avro Condominiums

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Davpart begins construction at Avro Condominiums

Davpart Inc. recently broke ground at  Avro Condominiums, a 14-storey, 180-unit development located at 10 De Boers Dr., just north of Allen Road and Sheppard in Toronto.

Featuring a sleek contemporary design and eye-catching rooftop expression, Avro offers sophisticated living complete with landscaped entry terraces.

Marking the groundbreaking and start of construction of Davpart's Avro Condominiums in Toronto are, left to right, Skygrid Executive Vice-President-Residential, Danny Tito; Baker Real Estate President, Barbara Lawlor; Davpart’s Ari Hofstedter and Zev Hofstedter; Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects Partner, Greg Alexander; Baker Real Estate Vice-President, Jeff Clark. Photo: Spencer Wynn
Marking the groundbreaking and start of construction of Davpart’s Avro Condominiums in Toronto are, left to right, Skygrid Executive Vice-President-Residential, Danny Tito; Baker Real Estate President, Barbara Lawlor; Davpart’s Ari Hofstedter and Zev Hofstedter; Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects Partner, Greg Alexander; Baker Real Estate Vice-President, Jeff Clark. Photo: Spencer Wynn

While the lobby is double-height and full of light, the top of the building is capped off with a wing-shaped roof that pays homage to the Avro heritage.

The structure is made up of high-efficiency glazing, white pre-cast concrete, and decorative metal features at the lower levels to frame entrances, canopies and fencing.

Architects are Brisbin Brook Beynon; amenities and interiors provided by Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc.

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THE GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEER: The writing’s on the retaining wall

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THE GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEER: The writing’s on the retaining wall

By Jeff Dietz
Stantec

Last year, I attended a presentation by a professional liability insurer. The presentation gave a summary for claim dollars they had paid for various design professionals and various types of projects. The summary showed that, for the period their data had been taken, more than 20 per cent of claim dollars for geotechnical engineers, and 4 per cent of claim dollars for civil engineers, were related to retaining walls.

Retaining walls are commonly used when two areas on a property are at different elevations and there is a desire to transition from one elevation to the other in a short distance—shorter than can be used if the land was just sloped.

As a geotechnical engineer, I’ve participated in design and construction monitoring of retaining walls on many projects. I’ve even participated in the redesign and rebuild of retaining walls that turned out to not be designed and/or constructed properly in the first place. I’ve seen issues crop up in project after project. So, here’s my list of the top five mistakes made during design and construction of retaining walls — and how you can avoid them.

MISTAKE #1

Leaving the Design to the Bidding Contractors

I’ve seen many projects that include a retaining wall as part of a much larger project, where the design drawings show the wall location with both top of wall and bottom of wall elevations at various points along the wall. To save time and money, the owner or civil engineer doesn’t have the retaining wall design completed prior to having contractors bid on construction for the site.

The contractor must bid on the retaining wall portion of the project based on that limited information. What is the contractor going to do? They’ll go to a manufacturer of retaining wall components, who will give them a design for free. What is the manufacturer going to do? They’ll provide a design based on the configuration provided and typical design soil parameters. Are those design soil parameters applicable to the site? Possibly. Possibly not.

Leaving the design to the bidding contractors can also lead directly to the next four mistakes below. If the retaining wall is properly designed prior to the contractors bidding, you’ll know they’ve bid on a wall that will meet the project needs. You reduce the potential for delays — if it’s discovered that the wall isn’t appropriate for the site, which is often the case — and extra claims by the contractor.

MISTAKE #2

Not Having Soils Information at the Time of Design

I know. Shocking. The geotechnical engineer — who specializes in soils investigations — is recommending having soils information prior to design.

Well, if there hasn’t been some form of investigation prior to design, how are you going to know if the soils can support the forces produced by the wall?

Are there soft or organic soils that have to be removed or improved prior to construction? How do you do the global stability analysis to make sure the whole thing doesn’t rotate? If a soils investigation is completed first, you’ll have the information you need to properly design the wall.

So, design the wall for the soil conditions. It’s harder, and often impossible, to change the soil conditions to fit the wall that was designed.

MISTAKE #3

Not Doing Global Stability Analysis Prior to Construction

I’ve seen many retaining wall designs that leave the check of global stability to “others.” Global stability is the mechanism by which the whole wall, as well as the soil behind and below the wall, rotates.

If the global stability check finds that there isn’t an appropriate factor of safety in the design, the most appropriate way to fix that is to change the design. This can lead to a lot of back-and-forth between the designer and the other professionals who are analyzing global stability. If the global stability analysis isn’t done before the wall construction begins, and the analysis finds an issue, then there could be a need to remove the part of the wall already constructed and start again. Make sure global stability analysis is done as part of the design of the wall.

MISTAKE #4

Leaving Insufficient Space to Build the Wall as Designed

I’ve seen many retaining walls designed to be right up against a property line, with grades on the adjacent property being higher than the grades on the property owned by whoever wants the retaining wall. But you need space to construct the wall. When you excavate to construct the wall, you can’t leave the excavated slope vertical. There will have to be some sloping to ensure safety — so that the soil slope doesn’t fail during construction.

If the wall design calls for geogrid reinforcement to hold the wall back from falling forward, then that geogrid is extending into the neighbouring property — often by several metres. With any of these scenarios, the owner of the neighbouring property may have issues with your excavations extending onto their property, especially if they have any structures, landscaping, trees, or fences near or on the property line. Make sure that there is enough room to construct the wall you want to build when you design it. If you want construction to extend into a neighbouring property, make sure you have that neighbour’s buy-in.

MISTAKE #5

Insufficient Quality Control

In the province of Ontario, the building code requires continuous review during construction of most retaining walls. Even if quality-control inspection isn’t a requirement for the wall, it’s still a good idea. Aside from identifying soil conditions that are not as good as the designer assumed and coming up with solutions, the wall installer can make mistakes, such as choosing the wrong material, using the right material in the wrong way, or using material of the wrong size.

I remember talking to a contractor who had installed uniaxial geogrid — which is a geogrid that is significantly stronger in one direction — in the wrong direction for some fairly long walls. He said he had been doing it that way for years, and he probably thought he was doing it correctly. With the geogrid in the wrong orientation, the wall could move more than anticipated — possibly even fail. A proper quality-control program during construction can catch small errors so they can be corrected early on.

Avoiding these five mistakes can help steer your retaining wall project in the right direction and help you avoid insurance claims on projects involving retaining walls.

Jeff Dietz is the team leader for the geotechnical practice in Stantec’s southwestern Ontario offices. https://www.stantec.com/en

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What’s On Manny’s Mind?!? Team Work

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What’s On Manny’s Mind?!? Team Work

If everyone involved in a construction project isn’t on the same page, you might as well rip open the envelope

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Any large renovation or custom homebuilding project needs to be a collaborative effort between everyone involved – the owner, contractor, architect, designer, and structural and mechanical engineers. Collaboration is not a nice to have, it’s a must have. If everyone involved isn’t working with the same plan at the very least you’ll have arguments and blame getting tossed around whenever something doesn’t come together as expected. In the worst case, you can introduce issues that can effect the structural integrity of the home. This is particularly true when trying to balance various design goals with a seamlessly sealed building envelope.

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I know of at least one recent case that’s gone to court because of a lack of collaboration and communication. It was a beautifully designed home with lots of hips and valleys in the roof. But it’s failing. The owners were spending thousands on heating the place and still wearing their winter coats indoors.

If you want a funky design, you have to be really careful how you seal everything. But too often contractors are asked to do the impossible. It’s like we’re being given a Rubik’s cube that doesn’t have all the colours and told to make it work.

Building a square or rectangular box is easy. Protrusions are the villain. Once you start adding windows, beams, and all these other holes in the walls you start to get into trouble.

It should be pretty simple: you keep the cold out in the winter and it’s vice versa in the summer. But in Canada we design buildings to survive the winter, without really thinking about the summer. That’s creating condensation issues.

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Part of the process is educating the homeowners. To me, in terms of the building envelope, spray foam insulation is a bulletproof product. You’ve got a vapour barrier on both sides, so no issues with condensation. But many owners don’t want to pay for foam, and they won’t really understand and appreciate it until they start to see their monthly heating and cooling bills go down. Also, foam is the worst for sound transmission. So you need to talk to your clients about these issues, and offer some solutions. My recommendation is to use about an inch of spray foam and then fill the rest of the cavity with dense-pack cellulose.

Owners also need to understand that the building inspector can’t and won’t catch everything. It would take them days to inspect the entire vapour barrier to ensure that all seams and gaps around fixtures are sealed. The more complex the structure is, the more likely it is that something gets overlooked. Little issues start to compound. Older or poorly designed homes can have countless little gaps in the envelope that collectively add up to a whole the size of a basketball.

Finally, too many homeowners get fixated on trends in colours, design, and finishes. They should always consider the building envelope first. Trends don’t last, homes should.

For a project to be successful a lot of compromise is required. If an owner or architect is pushing for a design that raises red flags for you based on your experience, take the time to calmly and clearly point out the risks. But also use your experience and expertise to suggest some workable solutions.

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You need to have these conversations with the owner, engineer, architect, and designer early on in the process. You also need to recognize that it’s not a competition. It’s pretty much impossible to meet everyone’s needs. But it is possible to achieve most of the homeowners’ goals, in a structurally sound way, without stomping on the toes of the various professionals involved. It just takes some effort.

It’s a simple point but one worth repeating – if you don’t all get on the same page you’re not going to achieve a proper building envelope, or have a happy homeowner living in a healthy house.

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The Construction Life podcast

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The Construction Life podcast

Manny Neves of Hardcore Renos has taken on another side project: podcasting. New episodes of the hour-long Construction Life podcast are posted weekly. The Construction Life podcast, featuring Manny, Mike, and Carlito (and some special guest appearances!) will shed light on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of construction. Be forewarned – we may ruffle a few feathers.

Each covers the trials and tribulations of working on a jobsite. Some include guest, such as Eamonn O’Rourke of Reno Run, and Renovation Contractor contributing editor Will Gonell of Gonell Homes in Toronto.

Listener warning: salted in with the profane thoughts is some at times profane language. So it’s kind of like any jobsite!

 

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The View From Inside: Building A Rewarding Career

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The View From Inside: Building A Rewarding Career

Many builders are running programs to promote work in the trades

Prices of new homes today are affected by numerous factors, including the availability of skilled construction tradespeople. When there are fewer crews available to work on job sites, the total time required to complete the new homes may be extended.

In the GTA, we are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers – bricklayers and framers, to name just two. The good news is that the construction industry is working with unions and colleges through associations and affiliations to remedy the situation. Topping the list are efforts to educate and interest high school students, and to attract women, Indigenous peoples and new Canadians through specific initiatives.

“We are just starting a one-year labour market information study and video series that will promote trades, determine recruitment and retention best practices, as well as highlight the high job satisfaction of many tradespeople in the residential sector,” says Andrew Pariser, vice president of RESCON (Residential Construction Council of Ontario). “We will profile 25 different trades through the eyes of one man and one woman in each. The videos will help the viewer understand the components of each trade and demonstrate the tremendous opportunities available.”

Amina Dibe, project and policy analyst at RESCON, is implementing projects that promote recruitment and retention in the residential construction industry.

“By providing resources for school boards outlining what a job in construction entails and showing examples, we create broader awareness,” she says. “Most people have never heard of jobs such as a concrete finisher and drain-layout specialist.”

Another RESCON project includes a partnership with the construction management program at George Brown College. “Each year, we enroll 12 to 15 graduates for two semesters — one in the classroom and one placement in the field,” Dibe says. “On completion, the students are hired into positions such as junior project manager, junior estimator or site clerk.”

In addition, through Humber College’s Carpentry and Renovations Technician program, RESCON is implementing a pilot that will place 15 graduates into jobs in one of six residential trades including highrise and lowrise forming, concrete and drain, and tile. Starting in September, the students will have fourmonth contracts, with the hope that they will be kept on full time.

“We’d like to expand the program to other colleges and engage a higher number of graduates not traditionally seen in the construction trades,” Dibe notes.

By virtue of her own career, Dibe is an inspiration. Her presentations during the George Brown program have resulted in a spike in female participants. “Women are often detail oriented with exceptional fine motor skills,” Pariser adds. “They often outperform men in the finishing trades.”

Many builders are pitching in by running programs to promote work in the trades as well. In addition, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) enables high school students to earn cooperative education credits through work placement in apprenticeable trades. Following graduation, they can become registered apprentices.

At Geranium, we are proud to be part of the construction industry, which is a major economic driver in Ontario. We support the efforts among government and the private sector to encourage more people of all ages and backgrounds to consider the building trades as a rewarding career choice.

Louie Morizio is vice president, housing for Geranium and a director of RESCON. Since 1977, Geranium has built more than 8,000 homes in fine neighbourhoods and communities throughout Ontario.

Geranium.com

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Cleaning up your act

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Cleaning up your act

The closest most construction hoarding gets to artwork are the tattered and torn concert and theatre posters stapled to them – usually next to or partially obscuring a “Post No Bills” stamp. But The Patch Project in Toronto sees them as blank canvases for temporary public art installations. To view some sample images of these (and other public art installations around the city), visit ThePatchProject.com/artists.

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