Tag Archives: Dave Wilkes

Renovation wrap-up

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Renovation wrap-up

This is a significant and exciting year for BILD. Not only are we celebrating our 100th anniversary as an association, but we are also marking the 20th anniversary of our renovator-specific RenoMark program.

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The end of a renovation project is one of the busiest times, often with many questions and decisions that need to be made quickly. A RenoMark renovator will prepare you for this phase and walk you through the following steps:

  1. Substantial performance This is a legally defined stage in your project, as outlined in the Construction Lien Act, and means that the work on your project is about 97- to 98-per-cent complete. This starts the release of holdback funds that the client has kept and publicly tells all the trade companies that worked on your home that their final payments are pending.
  2. Final inspection Be diligent during your final inspection to catch any defects, damage or work that is not yet complete. Remember that you will have done many other inspections during the renovation process, giving you opportunities to catch problems as they arise.
  3. Create a ‘punch list’ This list will be the result of your final inspection and will list all items that need to be addressed. Adding new items to a punch list after it is created is typically not done, so make sure you’re thorough when you do your final inspection.
  4. Final homeowner approval Final approval is your opportunity to review all the completed items from your punch list. If there’s still a problem, don’t approve that item.
  5. Substantial completion This is a legal term defined in the Building Code, signifying that the house is safe and ready for the occupancy permit to be approved, thus allowing a homeowner to move back home.
  6. Learn your new systems and appliances Some contractors offer an ongoing maintenance program that can manage the replacement of air filters or other items.
  7. Review your warranty Be aware of everything that is included. If you aren’t sure about something, ask questions.
  8. Plan your move back in You can only move back after the city official has issued an Occupancy Permit.
  9. Notify your home insurance carrier You will need to update your insurance coverage, especially the details of your home (such as an addition).

Dave Wilkes

Dave 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, @bildgta, or visit bildgta.ca.

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More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

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More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

I recently read an article about a survey conducted by the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto’s Ryerson University saying that COVID-19 has more people thinking about ageing in place. The survey of 1,517 Canadians suggests more seniors want to continue living at home as they age, rather than move to a retirement home or long-term care facility.

Sixty per cent of respondents said the pandemic had changed their opinions on whether they would arrange for themselves or an older loved one to live in a retirement home. Seventy per cent of respondents aged 65 and older said they would try to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.

Do you feel the same about your own ageing process? The good news is, you can stay in your present home as long as you want if you design it to meet your future lifestyle needs. Here are some things to consider.

Washrooms

You can make your washrooms safer and help prevent falls by having smooth transitions between floor finishes. Installing a curbless or roll-in shower is a great idea if you want to remain independent. You might want to have a seat in the shower and install a hand-held spout lower on the wall for easier access. And, a floating vanity provides easy wheelchair access.

Access

Consider wider doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs. Think about stairlifts and elevators for the future. When it comes to the kitchen, you can install upper cabinets that lower with a slight pull on a handle for easier access. Lastly, think about a dual-height kitchen island or counter to accommodate both those in a wheelchair and everyone else in the family.

Tax credits

The provincial government recently announced the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, which can help you make your home safer and more accessible. The tax credit is worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior’s principal residence in Ontario. The maximum credit is $2,500.

This is only a short list of what you need to consider. We could get into more detail, such as addressing lighting quality to help with visual impairments, or other potential situations that need special consideration, but the best thing to do is to work with a RenoMark renovator who has a certified ageing in place specialist on staff. These professionals know what to do, have the correct licences and will ensure that you do it legally and correctly the first time. Your home and safety are not places to cut corners. Find out more by visiting renomark.ca.

Dave 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, @bildgta, or visit the website.


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BILD introduces new education programs for RenoMark members

BILD introduces new education programs for RenoMark members

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BILD introduces new education programs for RenoMark members

When the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) established RenoMark in 2001 its purpose was to identify professional contractors who agreed to abide by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. We want to differentiate your expectations of RenoMark by introducing a mandatory Professional Renovator Education Program (PREP) for all member renovators. We’re looking to renovate your expectations one course at a time.

Much has changed in the renovation industry since 2001. We have seen updates to building codes, advances in building science and construction materials, new design trends, and with the advent of the Internet, customers that are engaged and more informed.

With all these changes RenoMark renovators need to adapt and continue to keep learning. Our members must keep up to date of changing practices and stay educated if they want to remain relevant. That’s why continuing education and lifelong learning is important for everyone in the industry, and it should be important to you as a consumer when choosing a renovator.

In 2020, RenoMark renovators participated in eight PREP education courses. They started with a refresher course on the RenoMark Code of Conduct and other courses included Customer Service, Dispute Resolution, Finance, Documentation, Insurance, Risk and Contracts.

The Code of Conduct course is the pillar of the program and is written with the consumer in mind. All RenoMark renovators must provide their clients with a written contract, offer a minimum one-year warranty, carry $2 million in liability insurance, possess all licences and permits, return client phone calls with two business days and have workplace liability insurance (WSIB).

How does renovator continuing education affect you as a consumer? For starters, the contracts course places an emphasis on providing a written contract for every job. The importance of getting such a document from your renovator cannot be overstated. A contract protects you by setting out clearly what you are getting, when you’re getting it and how much you will pay for it. The customer service module lets contractors see the renovation from the consumer’s point of view. The consumer wants a quality renovation that is on time and on budget, with minimal corrections and minimal call-backs. Consumers want protection and peace of mind by ensuring that their renovator has all the necessary permits, licences and insurance.

The remainder of the courses review new financial software, update them on environmental risks and give them a refresher on how to deal with consumers in a professional manner.

If you’re interested in finding out more about RenoMark, please visit us at renomark.ca or email us at renomark@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.


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Home renovation tax credits, will help kickstart the post-COVID-19 economy

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Home renovation tax credits, will help kickstart the post-COVID-19 economy

Photo Eurodale Design + Build

In June, the Canadian and Ontario Home Builders’ Associations (CHBA and OHBA) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) submitted a plan to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee to help kickstart the Canadian economy post COVID-19. The groups recommended that the federal and provincial governments look at introducing home renovation tax credits to help stimulate the economy in the Greater Toronto Area.

A home energy retrofit tax credit will encourage homeowners to replace old windows, doors and insulation

The residential renovation industry is essential to the GTA’s economic foundations, job creation, housing quality and long-term prosperity. According to the CHBA, in 2018, the home renovation and repair industry employed 152,993 people in the GTA. The industry in the region pays $9.4 billion in wages and maintains and improves the largest single wealth-builder for many Canadian families, with an investment value of $16.9 billion.

A renovation tax credit is a proven stimulus activity that is nearly cost-neutral. A tax credit will deter cash deals and generate tax revenues by bringing the underground economy above board. RenoMark renovators will be ready to help once home renovation tax credits become available, as they provide receipts, pay tax, work with a contract and eschew cash deals ensuring a level playing field. It’s clearly a win-win situation.

A home energy retrofit tax credit will encourage homeowners to replace old windows, doors and insulation. Installing an energy efficient furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner or solar panels will not only reduce monthly utility bills, but will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And let’s not forget that energy retrofits will increase the value of your home while reducing your carbon footprint. Previous iterations of these types of programs have operated on a nearly revenue neutral basis.

An aging in place tax credit can help seniors make their home safe, more accessible and enjoy independent living in their own home

An aging in place tax credit can help seniors make their home safe, more accessible and enjoy independent living in their own home. Projects such as walk-in bathtubs, installing an elevator or chair lift, lowering existing counters, installing adjustable cupboards, replacing knobs with lever handles on doors, adding non-slip flooring and adding more light fixtures throughout the home should be eligible for a retrofit tax credit.

With all levels of government facing financial challenges and funding requests, the building industry is providing ideas that will unlock consumer and construction investments that will help stimulate the economy. We are making these recommendations to support economic development with more housing choice and employment opportunities that will support consumers and businesses during the recovery program.

Dave 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, @bildgta, or visit bildgta.ca.

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Renovate safely during COVID-19 with a RenoMark Renovator

Renovate safely during COVID-19 with a RenoMark Renovator

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Renovate safely during COVID-19 with a RenoMark Renovator

Photos by Eurodale Design + Build

New renovation projects were allowed to start this past May when the provincial government expanded the list of allowable construction activities under its COVID-19 emergency orders. Previously, only renovation projects that had already been underway were permitted.

The health and safety of homeowners and workers is the industry's number one priority.
The health and safety of homeowners and workers is the industry’s number one priority.

To help guide renovators and protect homeowners, our partners at the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) developed a Health and Safety Guide that outlines best practices for renovators under COVID-19.

The health and safety of homeowners and workers is the industry’s number one priority. RenoMark renovators are industry professionals who only work with contracts, carry all the necessary insurance and permits, provide a warranty on their work and abide by the RenoMark Code of Conduct. When it comes to COVID-19, RenoMark members have all the necessary protective equipment and processes in place to complete the job safely and to the standards that homeowners expect.

During COVID-19, sanitation and cleanliness on the job site are paramount. For projects lasting longer than two days, portable toilets and designated wash stations will be made available or a washroom designated by the client will be used as an alternative. Daily cleaning requirements are to be documented in a cleaning log. Communal areas are to be cleaned regularly and logged daily. On weekends, the homeowner will be responsible for cleaning communal spaces. Workers will wash their hands frequently, sanitize and use proper hygiene protocol as outlined by the chief medical officer of health.

RenoMark renovators understand that communication with customers is now more important than ever. Renovators will ask that clients communicate directly with the site supervisor while practicing physical distancing. All site access will be scheduled by appointment only, and clients will be asked to sign in when entering the work zone.

To ensure that no worker shows up unexpectedly, RenoMark renovators will provide schedules of when trades will be in the home. OHBA guidelines require that renovators stagger on-site trades’ schedules to limit the number of people in the home. They also require the renovator to screen the health of tradespeople accessing a site every day.

These are some of the protocols that RenoMark renovators are putting in place to protect the health and safety of homeowners and their families. In return, renovators will ask clients to avoid entering the work site when work is being performed and to notify the site supervisor of any illness, wear a face covering when entering work areas and practice physical distancing.

Our industry is ensuring that work is carried out in compliance with the Ministry of Labour’s Guidelines for Construction Site Health and Safety during COVID-19. Our entire industry also supports closing any site that doesn’t meet requirements and welcomes increased inspection levels by the Ministry of Labour.

To find a RenoMark professional renovator for your next project, visit renomark.ca.

Dave 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, @bildgta, or visit the website.


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Caps on parkland fees should still be a priority

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Caps on parkland fees should still be a priority

The Ontario government recently introduced changes that will adjust the way development pays for the infrastructure, facilities and services required to support growth. The changes, the result of extensive consultation, are good news for municipalities, builders and ultimately homebuyers, but they underscore the challenges of producing one-size fits-all housing policy for a province as diverse as Ontario. As an example, while the province chose to leave the way municipalities fund new parks essentially unchanged, BILD will continue to advocate at the municipal level for caps on parkland fees.

Currently, municipalities can require that each new development contribute land for a park, or pay a fee in lieu, to be used to purchase parkland. Our industry believes that parks are vital parts of any vibrant and complete community, but we have concerns about the cash in lieu (CIL) of land that some municipalities opt to collect. Our concerns are threefold.

First, as CIL rates are linked to the value of the land, collection of parkland charges can act as a disincentive to density. This is especially true with high rise buildings in downtown areas across the GTA, where it is not unusual for a one bedroom condominium to attract double or more in parkland fees compared to a single-family home.

Second, many municipalities have a record of collecting far more in parkland fees than they spend on new parks. A study conducted by Altus Group in 2018 found that GTA municipalities had accumulated $1.13 billion in parkland cash reserves. This means that new-home buyers are paying for new parks as part of the cost of their new homes, but not necessarily receiving them.

Lastly, with infill development in existing neighbourhoods, parks are generally already in place, which leads us to wonder what new-home buyers are paying for with their parkland fees.

While the changes introduced by the province allow municipalities to set alternative parkland dedication rates and allow municipal parkland dedication bylaws to be appealed, it is still important to have a maximum cap for parkland rates in certain GTA municipalities so that new-home buyers are not asked to pay more than their fair share.

The changes introduced by the provincial government are a very positive step in addressing the housing supply and affordability challenge in the GTA. They provide builders with greater clarity and certainty about costs and allow municipalities to recover 100 per cent of costs for facilities such as daycare centres, long-term care homes, playgrounds and libraries. BILD’s advocacy with certain municipalities on parkland fees is meant to ensure that the way we fund parks does not add unnecessary costs for new-home buyers and erode affordability.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the homebuilding, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta or visit bildgta.ca.

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GTA new home market sees increased activity in June

GTA new home market sees increased activity in June

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GTA new home market sees increased activity in June

The GTA new home market began to see more activity in June, following two months of historically slow sales due to the pandemic, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Plane flys over the city (Building signs are removed)
Plane flys over the city (Building signs are removed)

Sales of new single-family homes, accounting for 1,160 of the total of 1,904 new homes sold, were the highest for June since 2016, though still 12 per cent below the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Single-family homes include detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses).

Sales numbers for new condominium units, including units in low-, mid- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and lofts, at 744 units sold, were up compared to April and May, but still down 73 per cent from June 2019 and 70 per cent below the 10-year average.

“The June new home sales numbers are encouraging, though much remains to be seen as the GTA re-opens and begins recovery,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Now is the time to implement what we learned about facilitating the delivery of housing during the pandemic, to address our long-standing housing supply and affordability challenge while stimulating the local economy. Our industry is working with all three levels of government to help achieve these goals.”

“Single-family demand recovered more quickly as buyers returned and new supply started to come back into the market,” adds Matthew Boukall, Altus Group’s vice-president, Data Solutions. “Given the challenges around COVID-19 restrictions, we’ve seen developers adopt new strategies to reach consumers and have seen success in the lower density segments.”

The benchmark prices for both new condominium units and new single-family homes increased in June compared to the previous month. New condos rose to $999,228, up 24.2 per cent over the last 12 months. New single-family homes, meanwhile, increased in price 3.9 per cent over the last 12 months to $1.14 million.


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GTA new home market quiet in May

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GTA new home market quiet in May

The GTA new home market saw another slow month in May, thanks largely to the impact of the pandemic, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

New home sales

With 866 new homes sold, it was the lowest May for total new home sales since Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, began tracking in 2000. May’s total new home sales were down 81 per cent from May 2019, and 76 per cent below the 10-year average.

Single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), accounted for 438 new home sales, down 55 per cent from last May and 68 per cent below the 10-year average. Sales of new condominium units, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, at 428 units sold, were down 88 per cent from May 2019 and 80 per cent below the 10-year average.

“The fact that we have not seen much new supply brought to market in the last few months is not surprising, but it is concerning, given our region’s ongoing housing shortage,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “An economic impact report we released with Altus (recently) shows that construction delays due to the pandemic won’t just affect housing supply but will also have fiscal implications, including a loss or delay of some $850 million in government revenues. All levels of government must work together to remove barriers to the renewal of construction activity that will help kick-start our economy.”

“Two months into the COVID-19 crisis, we are continuing to see the impact on available new home inventory numbers, with the number of new units brought to market in April and May reaching unprecedented low levels,” adds Matthew Boukall, Altus Group’s vice-president, Data Solutions. “Looking back at the market activity following the SARS outbreak in 2003, the industry will likely experience more months of disruptions to available inventory and sales.”

The benchmark price for new condo apartments in May was $985,436, up 26.4 per cent over the last 12 months; the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1.1 million, which was even over the last 12 months.


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BILD construction survey

Survey shows almost 500 projects delayed due to COVID-19

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Survey shows almost 500 projects delayed due to COVID-19

A majority of residential construction projects in the GTA have been delayed due the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to a survey from The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

BILD construction survey

The survey covered 498 active projects (276 in Toronto) representing 156,000 units at various stages of construction. These interruptions will have far reaching impacts on housing supply in an already tight market and will have negative financial impacts on government coffers.

The residential construction industry was granted essential workplace status under Ontario’s emergency orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the industry was only able to complete homes that were near completion. Nevertheless, overall development and building projects across the region were delayed.

Slowed processing

“One might ask, if the building industry was granted essential workplace status, why are there new housing slowdowns,” says BILD President and CEO Dave Wilkes. “The response is a bit complicated. Disruptions to the supply chain negatively impacted the ability of the industry to secure vital building materials. Worksites had to appropriately adjust to COVID-19 protocols, as social distancing rules negatively impacted productivity and some municipalities had to adjust to working remotely. This slowed processing of planning and building applications and stalled developments and construction projects.”

The survey found that 65 per cent of projects in Toronto reported interruptions of three to six months, and 32 per cent were greater than six months. Eighty-three per cent of not yet above grade projects reported delays of three to six months, and 11 per cent are greater than six months. Eighty-five per cent of projects under construction permitted for above grade reported a delay of three to six months, and five per cent are greater than six months.

Significant losses

Altus Group estimates that these holdups will result in the loss of about 9,000 housing starts over the course of the next 18 months. This will set back occupancy of more than 8,000 units by the end of 2021, potentially exacerbating an already existing shortage of housing in Toronto, reduce construction activity and see the loss of 10,000 jobs per year.

“Now more than ever, all levels of government must work together to make sure that proper measures are in place to remove barriers that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments to help kick-start the economy,” adds Wilkes.


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Our economic recovery will be led by building and development

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Our economic recovery will be led by building and development

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canada, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area, and my heart goes out to residents of the GTA who have been affected or lost loved ones to this terrible virus.

Millions of people were let go from their jobs and the economy has all but ground to a halt. As governments at all levels begin to look at recovery, they will need to focus on the GTA. Our region is the heart of Canada’s economy, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s GDP and 50 per cent of Ontario’s GDP.

The residential and commercial building and development industry, and the professional renovations industry, are major contributors to economic activity in the region. Collectively, they employ more than 360,000 people in the GTA, paying $22 billion in wages and generating $42 billion in investment value annually. Our industry is well-positioned to play a significant role in the recovery of our region, Ontario, and Canada. Working with our colleagues at both the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations, we have put together a roadmap for simple changes that can have a big impact.

Our industry submitted a report to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee that includes 19 recommendations to all three levels of government to get our economy back on track. These recommendations will create an immediate and significant impact to consumers and businesses, and will involve little to no new money from government. Proposed measures include suspending the Canadian mortgage stress test, transferring mortgage tenancy to the date of occupancy for new condominiums, eliminating security deposits for the Ontario land transfer tax on affiliated transfers, and freezing municipal increases to property tax reassessments and development charges. Many people have lost their jobs in all sectors of the economy.

Many projects have been delayed, constraining consumer and industrial/commercial liquidity. Government coffers are also not bottomless, which is why they need to focus on liquidity and freeing up funds that would otherwise be stuck in such things as municipal agreements (refundable deposits paid by developers) and replacing them with surety bonds. These changes can be transitory until such time as we can all fully adjust to the new normal, or when a vaccine for the coronavirus is widely available.

Other suggestions include reinstating home improvement tax credits for homeowners to support ageing-in-place improvements or energy retrofits. In the past, these programs have paid for themselves, since they cut out the black and grey renovation market.

I encourage you to read the full report at bild.ca and support us as we work toward recovery in the GTA, Ontario and Canada through residential and commercial construction and professional renovation.

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

bild.ca

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