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1 Protecting your assets 4 Wall, Balconies, Railings,

Claddings and Waterproofing

2 Safety 5 Garage and Parking Structures

3 Roofing 6 Mitigating Liability at the Rent Tribunal

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2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors




he 2014 RHB Apartment Guide – Exteriors serves to inform Canadian apartment building owners and managers on how to maintain, renovate and upgrade their properties, with the focus on the building’s exterior. This guide provides strategies, direction and tips on what to do, what to look for and what to avoid, as well as the importance of building maintenance and capital work. To ensure that this guide contains the most current and pertinent information, RHB worked in collaboration with Geoff Grist, President of Brook Restoration, who is an expert in building exteriors and roofing. The guide also incorporates contributions from a number of industry professionals, including Dean Pandurov (Starlight Investments), Ben Scott (Akelius Canada Ltd.), Mark Kesseler (Greenwin), Margaret Herd (Park Property Management Inc.) and Dennis Kalish (H&R Property Management Ltd.). Section one of this guide discusses the importance of creating an exterior restoration strategy in protecting the building owner’s assets, with the focus on conducting exterior maintenance and capital work. The central tenet focuses on being proactive, and how this strategy can cost less over the long term. It also discusses the importance of finding and retaining a qualified engineer, what is involved in a good assessment, and working with external contractors. Section two covers the topic of safety. It includes a checklist of items that every contractor should provide to ensure that they are properly trained and will follow all necessary safety protocols. It also discusses safety

training, and describes what is covered in Brook Restoration’s Safety Training School. Section three describes different aspects of maintaining and restoring the roof of a building, which is often a source of leakage and related issues. The guide examines typical problems associated with roofs, waterproofing the roof, the importance of guarantees and warranties, hiring a roofing contractor, and the elements involved in conducting annual roofing maintenance. Section four covers walls, balconies, railings, cladding, waterproofing and related external elements. It examines the relevance of building codes with respect to making upgrades to balconies and railings, dealing with issues related to cladding, and how to engage professionals when looking for waterproofing. Section five covers topics related to garages and parking structures. It examines how to deal with typical problems associated with garages and parking structures, the importance of maintaining the waterproofing structure, the application of local bylaws when doing maintenance, and the relevance of shortterm maintenance. Section six describes how to mitigate liability at the rent tribunal. It provides tips and techniques on how contractors, consultants and management can work together to maintain the lines of communication with all stakeholders, keep tenants informed on what is being done in their building and ensure that problems are kept to a minimum.

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors



The key goal of being proactive in maintaining your building’s exterior is the protection of your most valuable asset. Investing as little as $5,000 for a building assessment and a proper condition survey can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over the life span of your building. Relatively small investments in surveys, examinations, and preventative maintenance can reduce and eliminate the need to spend a significant portion of your budget on major capital repairs. Before a building owner engages in repairing, replacing or upgrading any of their buildings’ exterior components, they should work with a qualified consultant to conduct a general review of all components of the building envelope. Selecting a qualified engineer or consultant Seek out the best advice in dealing with your building’s assets, and use licensed engineers and architects (consultants) with demonstrated experience that correlates with your building’s needs. Licensed professionals are necessary when municipal authorities require building permits, which is often the case for structural and rehabilitative work. To select the most appropriate consultant, interview three to four different firms. Prudent owners and managers will get the best value from consultants who meet the following standards: • They

have a substantial track record in building restoration work.

• Their

CV covers buildings of a similar size, scale, occupancy and budget parameters.

• They

are capable of presenting a series of options, namely strategies to manage cash flow on renewal work.

• They

can pragmatically manage the risk around expensive structural work where there may be life safety concerns.

Do your due diligence; always ask your consultants to provide references of similar projects and then follow up on them.

What makes a good assessment? Once you have selected your consultant, ensure that their assessment contains the following: • A

review of all documents of previous repairs and major work

• Identification • Life

of major maintenance issues

safety concerns and building code violations

• Minimum

forecast of the longevity of your building components for 20-25 years, including budget estimates for construction work

• Recommendations

for increased curb appeal, which can be done cost effectively during repair programs

• A

review of all building’s documents, including previous repair work, contractor and manufacturer warranties

The results of an assessment form a key part of an owner’s business plan to cost effectively maintain their assets. There are several benefits in obtaining an assessment and adhering to the recommendations: • Ability

to budget accordingly

• Sequencing • Being

repairs based on priority

proactive rather than reactive

• Minimizing

tenant inconvenience and reducing tenant complaints

Failure to obtain a consultant and following an assessment can result in the following: • Inability

to understand the cost of future liabilities to your asset

• Ineffective

repairs (i.e., cosmetic patches in lieu of repairing the underlying problem)

• Improperly • Lack

maintained records

of quality control on repairs

The key issue with not following an assessment and maintaining a consultant during repairs is being unprepared when a problem occurs. This can lead to safety violations or serious accidents.

“The building assessment provides the foundation for the property’s long-term investment strategy, that is, where to spend now to save in the future,” said Ben Scott, Asset Manager, Akelius Canada Ltd. “It is important to avoid the trap of focusing on year over year budgets and looking to reduce ongoing maintenance costs over the life of the asset. A proper building assessment provides the costs to fix now versus defer, and a clear path to save long term.” Selecting a qualified restoration contractor Building owners should only work with qualified restoration professionals to ensure that the work and materials are to the highest standards. Repairs conducted to professional standards will help ensure that buildings and components last as long as possible, which also helps prevent short-term failures that will add to the building’s restoration costs. “No one likes surprises, so we work closely with our engineering consultant to properly define the scope of work and identify any potential issues that may arise,” said Ben. “Then it comes down to fit and matching the right contractor to the job, based on experience, timeline and, of course, cost. This lowers the risk of cost overruns and delays, and reduces the impact on tenants.” A consultant should pre-approve six to eight contractors that are suitable for your respective repairs. Rely on your consultant’s experience and field knowledge in determining the contractors’ qualifications and a review of their CCDC 11 “Contractor’s Qualifications Statement.” This document will provide information on the company’s work history for the past six years, value of projects, total bonding ability and banking information. You should also consider the contractor’s health and safety program when making your selection. “When looking at trying a new contractor, we have them complete a vendor assessment form, which includes all projects that they have successfully completed over a fiveyear period,” said Dennis Kalish, General Manager, H&R Property Management Ltd. “We then have them provide contact names and phone numbers of building owners where they have worked, We also get references from engineers who have worked with the contractor.” • 2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors



Owners can be liable if they do not do their due diligence in ensuring their contractors follow all Ministry of Labour (MOL) guidelines and Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requirements. Any contractor you retain should provide a minimum of the following: • WSIB

clearance certificate

• Corporate

general liability insurance

• Corporate

policy and procedure manual

• Form

1000s for the company and any of their subtrades (registration of constructors and employers engaged in construction)

• Emergency

rescue plan and contact information

• Plan

for fall protection while on the roof (guardrail, barriers and fall protection tie-off)

• Training

• Notice

• Fall


A contractor that can provide the following is going above and beyond the minimum requirements:

• Fire

• Third

party safety consultants

• Joint

health and safety committee

protection/working at heights

extinguisher awareness

• Policy

and procedure training

• Ontario

worker awareness

• Violence

in the workplace

• Accessibility • Supervisor • First



aid and CPR (valid to Reg 1101 requirements)

• Propane

handling (for roofing – torches and tar kettles)

• Training

competency for elevated work platforms (if required)

• Scissor • Boom



• Training

competency for skid steer (if required)

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

of project for jobs over $50,000.00

Safety training Safety should be a primary concern for building owners and managers, as well as contractors who do restoration work to their buildings. Everyone involved should be aware of government safety regulations, and all contractors and their employees must be properly trained and licensed to do the work. Meeting the standards should be the minimum requirement. Going above and beyond knowing and understanding safety regulations, Brook Restoration operates a Safety Training School, which ensures that those who take their courses are completely prepared and trained to deal with government mandated requirements, safety issues and more.


01 2



8 19





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Companies that encourage pre-job and ongoing safety training and updating help to make workers safer, as they educate workers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, as well as the hazards that are present in the workplace. Brook Restoration’s Safety Training School was introduced to help train workers in preparation for beginning work on the job. The training school runs a variety of courses. The most popular courses are combined in one program called Core 6, which provides training in Fall Protection, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems, Violence in the Workplace, Fire Extinguisher Awareness, Personal Protective Equipment, and Policy and Procedures. The workers receive this training prior to starting work for the first time. These courses allow employers to ensure that workers receive a solid baseline of training before encountering hazards in the workplace. The Safety Training School also teaches classes on suspended equipment. These courses teach the requirements for using and rigging a swing stage. The

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

centre has extensive equipment setups to ensure that workers get a wide range of hands-on training prior to being certified. Other classes deal with ensuring that supervisors understand the law and how they need to apply the law to their workplaces and the employees under their responsibility. Other courses deal with the operation of equipment such as skid steers and lifts, confined spaces, asbestos and lead awareness, and first aid. Many construction workers have never received formalized training beyond grade school or high school and many more have language or literacy issues. Companies that encourage pre-job and ongoing safety training and updating help to make workers safer, as they educate workers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, as well as the hazards that are present in the workplace. •

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ROOFING Leaky roofs are one of the leading causes of building damage and degradation, as leaks can affect many different building components – from individual units (which will greatly frustrate tenants) to damage of structural components, such as steel and concrete decks. Common issues with roofs include insufficient drainage, improper or missing flashings, windswept areas that leave membranes exposed (which can cause premature degradation of materials), and failure of materials that have reached the end of their life cycle.

Waterproofing is an integral element of the roof restoration process, and requires a specific set of procedures and guidelines. The roofing professional should ensure that the roof is watertight at the end of each shift. They should have a contingency and emergency plan in place should wet or inclement weather catch their crew off guard. Since most roofing procedures involve hot application of materials, the roofing company should have specific insurance and guidelines in place to deal with safety concerns.

“Simply put, when it comes to maintaining your building, the roof is the boss,” said Dean Pandurov, Executive Director, Capital Expenditures, Starlight Investments. “You ignore roof problems, it makes you pay later in multiples. Early roof problem detection is worth its weight in gold as it not only reduces the scope of the fix but also saves you from great pains of roof leaks, tenant dissatisfaction and insurance claims. Suffice to say, it protects your asset value from sinking fast.”

“Several roofing options can be recommended during replacement from conventional four-ply built-up asphalt, two-ply modified torch applications and/or inverted roof assemblies,” said Mark Kesseler, Director, Construction & Physical Operations, Greenwin. “All roof assemblies will perform properly, when installed as per manufacturer’s specifications and industry standard. Detailed scope of work and installation supervision are key components.”

One of the first steps in being proactive about roof maintenance involves ensuring that qualified personnel conduct annual inspections. They should also ensure that drains are free flowing, and all perimeter and upturn flashings are intact. Building personnel should follow maintenance procedures as recommended by inspecting professionals. This includes conducting regular monthly visual inspections to ensure that drains remain clear and protective measures are in place. Note: Safety is a concern when any elements of a building are being maintained or repaired. Building owners must be aware of their responsibilities and potential liabilities with respect to safety issues related to roof maintenance and repair. 2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

Building owners should also understand what is covered by guarantees and warranties on roofing. Two warranties are issued at the end of a roofing project: one from the contractor and one from the manufacturer. It is important to stress that the manufacturer should be involved throughout the entire project, as it is required for obtaining their warranty. For large roofing projects, it is crucial to engage third-party inspections to ensure that the proper materials are being used for that particular roof, and that it is being installed correctly (and as per manufacturer’s recommendations). •

Checklist: Annual roofing maintenance Roof traffic


c Roof access points

c Membrane cuts & punctures

c Walkways

c Crushed roof insulation

c Mechanical units

c Trash & sharp objects

c Mechanical units

c Oil spills

c Kitchen exhausts Drainage

Wind storm damage

Moisture infiltration

c Mid-span of beams & joists

c Accumulated debris

c Large rooftop units

c Visible deflection

c Roof drains

c Discolouration of curbs & walls

c Wall scuppers

c Loose sheet metal

c Gutters & downspouts

c Cracked caulking

c Roof perimeter

c Loose areas of roof membrane

c Roof membrane surface

c Buckled insulation

c Loose perimeter sheet metal

c Displaced roof ballast

c Adjoining walls & parapets

c Cracked or sunken caulking

c Large rooftop units

c Roof membrane seams T-joints

c Skylights

c Entrapped moisture

c Soft roof insulation

c Base attachments parapet walls & curbs

c Discoloration of walls

c Roof edge

c Loose sheet metal flashings

c Membrane bridging

c Missing weather seals

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors


WALLS, BALCONIES, RAILINGS, CLADDING AND WATERPROOFING Many older buildings have similar problems due to the use of common (and lower-quality) materials in their construction. Balconies and railings are exposed to the elements, and as such tend to show greater wear over time. Balconies typically begin to show signs of deterioration at their edges due to the insufficient use of concrete cover at reinforcing locations. Also, when tenants use outdoor carpets, they retain moisture, which can lead to deterioration at the top surface of the balcony. A common repair methodology for balconies and railings involves restoring the entire front edge of the balcony, which includes installing a waterproofing membrane and new railings. This should increase the balcony’s lifespan by an average of 20 to 25 years, which can be extended with regular maintenance. When renovating certain external elements, such as balconies and railings, certain changes in building codes affect what you might want to do with your building. Typically, on older buildings, railings might not meet current building codes due to height requirements and “climb-ability” issues. The city’s building department might also require upgrades to railing components when performing repairs or restorations to railings that require permits (i.e., life safety systems) or structural repairs to balcony slabs. Building standards have changed, many of which affect what can be done with balconies and railings. There is a current trend to replace old steel, precast or concrete balustrades with new aluminum railings and aluminum panels, glass panels or a combination of both. Depending on the existing railings and their condition, new railings could be less expensive to repair over the long term. “Recent Ontario Building Code (OBC) changes also dictate requirements necessary when installing new railings,” said Mark. “Railings with glass panels now require the glass to be laminated, increasing costs significantly. Alternatively, the placement of the new railings 50 millimetres back from the balcony edge will allow heat soaked glass to be substituted in place of laminated glass, still at an increased cost to the project.”

Exterior cladding can face a number of issues due to exposure to the elements and the passage of time, including leakages, failure of anchors due to corrosion, spalling of brick, failing paint and coatings, and failed sealants. Cracked or leaked cladding can also cause further delamination when leakage gets into interior spaces. Moisture hidden within wall cavities can also be a concern with respect to mould growth and reduction in interior air quality. Building owners should be also aware that when concrete delamination is left unattended, it expands more over time. Concrete delamination is often caused and exacerbated by corroded rebar, which is due to moisture infiltration. While regular inspections can help with identifying and managing issues with other building elements, it is too expensive to conduct regular inspections of cladding. They are usually conducted after initial reports of leakage or other structural concerns. However, to be truly proactive, building owners can make these inspections a regular part of their maintenance plan. “Reducing liability is a major benefit when speaking of balcony concrete deterioration,” said Mark. “Usually during balcony work landlords include building envelope repairs to take advantage of the costs associated with swing-stage access. Economies of scale dictate savings from mobilization costs, reduction of interior damage through building leakage, as well as energy savings by reducing air leakage.” One advantage to performing work on the building’s walls and balconies is that it provides you with the ability to upgrade and refresh otherwise outdated facades. Hiring a designer at this point to change the appearance of your building will be money well spent in increasing the curb appeal to prospective renters and tenants. “Not only does it improve the building aesthetics, by doing work you can, if desired, also update a tired exterior to a more modern look,” said Margaret Herd, Vice-President, Residential Property Management, Park Property Management Inc. “This work is necessary to ensure that the entire structure remains safe and sound.” •

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors



Garages and parking structures create different issues when they require maintenance and restoration. Besides the additional costs associated with repairing surfaces, walls and supporting structures, restorations create a large disturbance due to parking displacement and overall site interference. Garages tend to be neglected over time in lieu of other building restorations and improvements, as they are often viewed as less important to tenant satisfaction than other building elements. Building owners should engage professionals to conduct monthly inspections. These should include checking drains for flow and areas of visible leakages, especially if they have increased over time. Since surfaces consist of primarily painted concrete, it is relatively simple to identify signs of regular leakage. A consultant or engineer should also recommend other types of inspection based on the structure’s type, age and condition.

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

“Being proactive helps you detect, in a timely manner, if the waterproofing membrane has been compromised,” said Dean. “Early detection leads to early and cheaper repairs versus neglecting issues that may cause expensive structural damage to garage slabs, walls and column components.” The garage’s waterproofing system is often the most important element in need of repair. The parking structure’s top deck typically has a “thick system” that consists of an application of a hot rubber, which is often exposed to the elements. Lower levels can be waterproofed with a variety of materials, such as urethane membranes, hot rubber and asphalt. Building owners should employ a qualified professional to inspect the waterproofing system and develop a maintenance plan. A detailed garage and parking structure maintenance plan can produce significant savings for building owners.



Engineering Excellence 2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

“Municipal property standards are more vigilant in recent years when inspecting properties and expect all deficiencies found to be rectified regardless of the nature of the repair. From paint peeling to spalling concrete, repairs can be minor or major structural repairs costing thousands of dollars.”

It is much less expensive and disruptive to replace a parking deck’s waterproofing system before the concrete has failed than it is to do full concrete restoration and waterproofing. “Staying on top of repairs in garages is likely the most arduous task,” said Margaret. “It is a constant battle with water and leakage. Annual repairs are necessary but, inevitably, major repairs will be required.” Short-term maintenance should include flushing the drainage systems, keeping garages clean and well lit to make it easier for employees and other professionals to recognize the signs of early deterioration. At least twice a year, you should conduct maintenance on interior waterproofing membranes and inspect exterior membranes. Additionally, the garage should be professionally cleaned twice a year to prevent the buildup of salt and debris. Random inspection of exterior waterproofing membranes can be difficult as asphalt

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

and/or soil and trees typically cover these areas. Owners should maintain as-built drawings or a log of repairs performed on the parking garage over time. These drawings will assist in monitoring leaks and predicting future problems. Building owners should be aware that local bylaws have changed with respect to painting and signage location in garages. Parking areas are potentially dangerous areas, especially when there are poorly lit or isolated. If they plan to perform upgrades and maintenance to these areas, then they should be aware that they might have to improve lighting and safety measures as well. “Municipal property standards are more vigilant in recent years when inspecting properties and expect all deficiencies found to be rectified regardless of the nature of the repair,” said Mark. “From paint peeling to spalling concrete, repairs can be minor or major structural repairs costing thousands of dollars.” •

Congratulations to Brook Restoration Ltd. from

Parking Garage Rehabilitation ◊ Window Replacement Balcony Slab & Guardrail Rehabilitation Reserve Fund Studies ◊ Roofing Solutions Building Restoration & Rehabilitation Contract Administration & Project Management 2345 Wyecroft Road, Unit 17, Oakville, Ontario L6L 6L8 Tel: 905.465.9200 Fax: 888.667-5550

Building Consultants Inc. Building Sciences & Engineering















MITIGATING LIABILITY AT THE RENT TRIBUNAL Geoff Grist (Right) and Alex McMullen (Left) receiving the award for Outstanding Safety Performance from the Toronto Construction Association

Building restoration projects often cause frustration for tenants. For example, tenants can lose access to their balconies, use of the parking garage, or limited window openings due to noise, dust and odour. In many cases, these frustrations can lead to the rent tribunal. Although this is becoming more frequent, there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that the contractor, consultant and management team have done all that they could to alleviate stresses on tenants. If properly employed, these techniques can lead to a successful project for all parties. • Work

together: From the point of contract award, it is crucial that management, consulting engineers and contractors work together and are in constant communication. Regular project meetings are a must to stay on top of all issues pertaining to the project.

• Perform

a risk analysis: As every building is different with diverse clientele, it is important to analyze all risks as they pertain to tenant satisfaction. For example, if the building has an outdoor pool, schedule the work accordingly to allow the pool to be used during the summer months if possible.

• Give

60 days notice: All tenants must be given a minimum of 60 days notice by law before any major renovations can start. If you are in a position to provide more notice, then it will help tenants to plan their upcoming schedules. For example, if they work from home, it will give them ample time to make other arrangements if the noise will hinder their profession.

• Hold

a tenant information session: This will allow you to address the tenants face to face and openly discuss any concerns, scheduling and other matters. Hold this session at least one month before the project

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

commences because it will allow you to respond to tenants in writing, as there will be many questions that cannot be answered during the meeting. • Record

everything: Document management is crucial, especially when facing the rent tribunal. Ensure that the contractor keeps records of loss time due to weather, material delays and anything that affects the schedule. Document all complaints as well as responses and approaches taken when dealing with each complaint. A well-established consulting firm will enforce these on your behalf.

• Scheduling:

Ensure that the schedule is realistic and accounts for delays in material, weather, site constrictions, etc. For example, on a balcony project, perform concrete removals in the winter when most tenants don’t use their balconies and their windows are typically closed. Stipulate the minimum number of employees and equipment that must be on the project at any given time. Ensure that all major decisions, such as colour selection and railing style, are made ahead of time.

• Provide

an information board: A simple board that indicates milestone timelines and overall progress will keep the tenants informed, who will appreciate the effort. Ensure that the provided schedule is realistic, as frustrations will increase if the dates keep getting pushed back.

• Assist

your tenants: Certain projects will require tenants to remove items from storage or lose access to their balconies and parking stalls. You should be open to providing tenants with assistance as required. With this in mind, providing garbage bins for disposal or professional movers to help relocate large items will

be a well appreciated gesture at relatively low cost. The contractor can also assist by setting up temporary storage in the underground garage if the space is available. Also, during construction, designate and furnish vacant rooms to act as “quiet spaces.” If they are not available, consider an off-site location. • Reduce

noise: Large-scale concrete or brick repairs are typically very loud as the noise from the use of pneumatic and electric hammers radiates through the building. During the concrete removal phase, the best approach is to increase the crew and get the concrete chipping completed faster. There is no way to avoid the noise, but you can increase production. Provide earplugs in the lobby for tenants.

• Reduce

dust: Restoration repairs typically generate large quantities of dust. Instruct tenants to close all windows and doors during working hours and remind them regularly with notices. Have the contractor review the exterior of all suites and remedy any possible points of dust infiltration, such as failed window sealants or subpar air conditioner installations.

• Be

prepared for the unexpected: During the construction, be proactive when it comes to emergencies. Ensure that the contractor has a plan organized for quick response to broken windows, heavy dust or water infiltration, etc. Being prepared for accidents is just as important as avoiding them.

Large capital projects can be daunting for any owner, but by following a few simple guidelines, the average tenant will respect your attention to detail and, in the long run, be thankful for their improved space. In contrast, a loss of only one month at the rent tribunal accounts for nearly ten percent of annual revenue. It could be much worse if you do not do your due diligence and it could cost more than the project itself. CONCLUSION By using a team of professionals for your project, following the business plan, openly communicating, and maintaining proper records and documentation, you should be able to prolong the life of your asset and maximize the return on your investment. Following this approach to projects has a proven track record of success. •

Weldon Warren, Director of Maintenance, Park Property Management Inc. pictured next to Alex and Geoff accepts the FRPO MAC Award for Curb Appeal at 283 Bristol Street in Guelph

2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors

Roofing • Restoration • Brook Anywhere • Restoration • Roofing 11 Kelfie ld St. , Tor o n t o, O N M9W 5 A 1 • T:416.663.7976 • www.brookrestora 2014 RHB Apartment Guide - Exteriors