CondoBusiness June 2020

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Canada’s Most Widely Read Condominium Magazine

June 2020 • Vol. 35 #2

RISE ABOVE PM#40063056

Condo communities grow stronger

+

Tech Spotlight & 6th Annual Who's Who

PA R T O F T H E

P A R T

O F

T H E


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Contents COVER STORY

DEPARTMENTS

22

18

Governance Communicating a Crisis By Sue Langlois

28

Legal People, Protocols and Pandemics By Josh Milgrom

Rise Above By Rebecca Melnyk

FOCUS ON: TECHNOLOGY

14

Could Technology Ease a Looming Manager Shortage? By Murray Johnson

34

Maintenance Ten Pandemic Cleaning Tips By Peter Farrell

20

The Private Side of Security By Scott Hill

36

How to Find the Right Roofing Contractor By Jack Albert

38

Design A Grand Entrance By Kent Ford

FEATURE

31

Sixth Annual Who’s Who Survey of the Canadian Condo Industry’s Major Players and Portfolios

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IN EVERY ISSUE

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Observations

8

Ask the Expert

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New & Notable

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Our Business is to Make Yours Shine! Whiterose is an Industry Leader with a long list of condos in the downtown and surrounding areas Whiterose Janitorial Services Ltd. believes in servicing its customers with professionalism, communication and appreciation. The Key to our success is service, quality and value. We clean beyond the surface! Quality management begins behind the scenes prior to commencing a job all employees are evaluated and or training to the whiterose standard given special attention to health and safety policies. Whiterose Janitorial Services is a full service company and a member of ACMO and CCI. Specializing in cleaning and live in & live out Superintendents for the past 30 years. Spectrum of Cleaning Services: • Facility assessment • House keeping and general cleaning services • Customized cleaning service plan • Customized cleaning schedules • Window cleaning (Exterior high rise) • Garage cleaning • Marble restoration & Polishing • Carpet cleaning

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OBSERVATIONS

A Resilient Response Twenty-five years ago, a heat wave tore

through Chicago, killing more than 700 hundred people — many had gone without electricity for two days. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg studied two

adjacent neighbourhoods that fell victim to the catastrophe, both with similar demographics. He found that one had experienced a mortality rate six times higher than the other because it lacked social connections; its seniors were physically and socially isolated. Quadrangle's Director of Innovation Michelle Xuereb recently pointed this out during a conversation on creating social bonds in condo communities. In this issue’s cover story, she, along with other industry members, share insight on how to live in, manage and design condos that are resilient, that bend — not break — during an emergency. The pandemic has shown us how to do this better. The way technology is being used and imagined to build community resilience is also discussed. In other articles, industry delves a bit more into technology — the focus of this issue of CondoBusiness. Topics discussed include the impending shortage of condo managers and how technology just might ease the blow. Scott Hill advises on a popular issue — the private side of security cameras. Sue Langlois ignites a conversation about communicating a crisis, some of which can be done without technology. The current climate is also changing the way boards of directors and managers operate. Josh Milgrom from Lash Condo Law offers his legal perspective on some issues that residents and owners are likely navigating. On the operations and maintenance side, we bring forth industry advice on finding the right roofing contractor, creating cost-effective curb appeal and some cleaning tips for managing infection control. Condo-dwellers are spending more time indoors. Many have been raising questions about the efficacy of ventilation systems in protecting from the virus. Robert Borovina addresses some of this concern in our Ask the Expert column. We also bring you our sixth annual Who’s Who, a rundown of the major players and portfolios in Canada’s condo industry. We hope you enjoy the issue. If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, please visit our award-winning website www.reminetwork.com for breaking news and feature stories. Happy summer!

Rebecca Melnyk Editor, CondoBusiness rebeccam@mediaedge.ca

Publisher Robert Hertzman Editor Rebecca Melnyk Advertising Sales Kelly Nicholls Melissa Valentini Senior Designer Annette Carlucci Production Manager Rachel Selbie Contributing Writers Jack Albert, Robert Borovina, Peter Farrell, Kent Ford, Scott Hill, Murray Johnson, Sue Langlois, Josh Milgrom Digital Media Director Steven Chester Subscription Rates Canada: 1 year, $60*; 2 years, $110* Single Copy Sales: Canada: $10*. Elsewhere: $12 USA: $85 International: $110 *Plus applicable taxes Reprints: Requests for permission to reprint any portion of this magazine should be sent to info@mediaedge.ca. Circulation Department Taras Kozak circulation@mediaedge.ca (416) 512-8186 ext. 234 CONDOBUSINESS is published six times a year by

President Kevin Brown Director & Group Publisher Sean Foley Controller Nadia Piculik, CPA, CMA 2001 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 500 | Toronto, Ontario M2J 4Z8 (416) 512-8186 Fax: (416) 512-8344 e-mail: info@mediaedge.ca CONDOBUSINESS welcomes letters but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40063056 ISSN 0849-6714 All contents copyright MediaEdge Communications Inc. Printed in Canada on recycled paper.

/condomediaedge /condobusiness /condomediaedge



ASK THE EXPERT

Air Up There Ensuring indoor air is fresh, clean and safe is one of many tasks that boards and managers must oversee on behalf of their residents. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has made this even more daunting. The World Health Organization tells us the virus normally spreads through tiny droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even speaks. This knowledge has caused prevailing uncertainty over potential exposure to the virus through building ventilation systems. How concerned should condo communities be and what measures can they undertake to reduce transmission? Robert Borovina, director of mechanical engineering at McGregor Allsop offers some guidance.

8 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


ASK THE EXPERT The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has recently published their position document on infectious aerosols, in which they state that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 through the air is sufficiently likely, so airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. The document also states that ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and therefore the risk of transmission through the air. Disabling HVAC systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus. In general, pathogen transmission through the air occurs via droplets or aerosols. While larger droplets fall by gravity to the floor or surrounded surfaces within two metres of their source, the operation of the HVAC systems do not affect their transmission. Contrary, the smaller infectious aerosols, such as droplet nuclei (particles smaller than 10 microns) that can form from desiccation (drying) of the larger droplets, can stay suspended in the air for longer periods, with HVAC system operations affecting their pattern.

any recirculation within the building. In some cases, the MAU only provides heating and ventilation and in other cases air conditioning as well. Since the MAU only provides outdoor air there are no special filtration sections required, other than standard filtration for this type of operation. The MAU generally does not provide humidification during winter months. The second HVAC system relates to the individual suites. This typically includes fan coils or heat pumps. In newer buildings, individual suites are also equipped with

dedicated energy recovery ventilators (ERV), that provide continuous ventilation for the suites, utilizing energy recovery from the suite bathroom exhaust. In older buildings, pressurized corridors provide outdoor air for suites, forcing air through the door cracks of the individual suites that are normally kept under negative pressure through centrally or individually operated bathroom exhausts. In buildings where suites are provided with ERVs, there is practically no possibility of cross-contamination between corridors

CONSULTING ENGINEERS

Precautionary Measures There are a number of measures to reduce the transmissions of pathogens via HVAC systems, however, few can be readily implemented. They include: • Dilution of room air by increasing the amount of outdoor air in the overall recirculation; • Increasing the efficiency of the filtration system or use of single space high-efficiency filtration units (portable or fixed); • Maintaining proper temperature and relative humidity to reduce desiccation of larger droplets into aerosols. • HVAC for condominium buildings is quite different from commercial office buildings. Some precautionary measures that may require implementation in commercial buildings are not necessary for condominiums. Reducing Transmission in Floor Corridors, Suites and Common Spaces There are three distinctive HVAC systems in typical mid to high-rise condos. The first one is HVAC for the floor corridors. These areas are served by the dedicated make-up air unit (MAU) that supplies 100 per cent of outdoor air, without

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ASK THE EXPERT

an d in d i v i d u al suites . I n b uil d in g s where suite ventilation is provided via pressurized corridors such a possibility exists, especially in winter months when dr y make - up air can desiccate droplets into aerosols capable of being suspended in the air for longer periods. Although dilution of the air in the corridors is significant, due to a large amount of outdoor air being introduced into such areas, it would be a good practice for residents to carry protective wear when walking through the corridors and elevators, primarily to prevent possibility of creating droplet particles by coughing or sneezing. The third HVAC system relates to c o mm o n sp a c es , su c h as lo b b ies , recreational rooms or facilities. Due to the building stack effect, lobbies are generally diluted with large amounts of outdoor air any time the main entrance doors are used, so no additional measures for the HVAC units are required. The outdoor air for recreational rooms or facilities are usually directly ducted from the outside to the HVAC units serving such spaces. The amount of outdoor air is usually limited to two air changes per hour at the best, which is not enough for proper dilution of the air in the space. In cases where upgrades to the HVAC system to enable larger amounts of outdoor air are too costly or technically challenging, it is recommended that such spaces become equipped with high efficiency, self-contained filtration units. It is also recommended that temperature and relative humidity is kept at the proper levels, especially in the winter. Although preliminary research results have been released on the transmission of COVID-19, there is a general consensus that HVAC systems in non-medical buildings may contribute very little to the transmission of the disease. This is particularly true for condos, therefore, basic principles of social distancing, surface cleaning and disinfection, should be more important at this moment than contemplating major retrofits of the HVAC system. 1 R o b ert Borovina is the d irector of mechanical engineering at McGregor Allsop, Toronto. He brings 37 years experience in all aspects of HVAC engineering.

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ondo refurbishment reaps benefits for owners and residents alike. Making it through the process successfully, however, is no small task. From planning to design, and project scheduling and team coordination, refurbishments can overwhelm even the most seasoned property management team. Here’s where partnering with a Design-Build General Contractor can have its advantages. “There’s a lot to consider during a refurbishment, and there are challenges throughout every stage that require the perspective of an experienced contractor,” says David Petrozza, a Director at PAC Building Group. “Having a Design-Build partner at the table from the very beginning provides property managers and owners with additional skills, knowledge, and insights they need to see their vision through.” A PARTNER FOR ALL PHASES There are numerous reasons why property stakeholders trust end-toend contracting firms to quarterback a project. At a high level, they include:

Single point of contact: Between architects, designers, engineers, and on-site crews, there is no shortage of teams to keep track of during a refurbishment. That said, having a general contracting partner to serve as your voice and manage thirdparties reduces stress, strengthens collaboration, and helps to avoid miscommunications. “It simply comes down to having one contract, and a single point of responsibility,” says David. “The key advantage of a specialized contractor is leveraging their management process. They integrate all the moving parts necessary to complete a project, and that has tremendous value.” A consistent vision: It’s difficult to see a vision from its inception to completion. Having a specialized Design-Build General Contracting firm on the team from the start ensures all parties (trades, residents, property teams) begin on the same page and remain in alignment. Here again, establishing a single point of contact between property owners/ managers and their refurbishment teams keeps everyone on track and moving towards the same goals.


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Greater accountability: With a single point of contact comes greater visibility into the progress of a refurbishment. General contractors can be the “eyes on the ground” to monitor activity, address challenges, and hold other trades and vendors to task. “All workers are an extension of the contractor and need to represent the client accordingly,” says David. Safety first: Timelines and budgets are key, but nothing is more important than keeping everyone safe. This includes the crews on the ground, building residents, and the property management team. Herein, an experienced general contractor can enforce leading safety practices at all times and ensure worker health and wellbeing is a top priority throughout all the stages – even, for example, through a worldwide pandemic. For example, says David: “As a reopened business, we adapted with new policies and procedures to operate under Ontario’s health and safety guidelines. We are positioned to approach all projects with a focus on constant sanitization and optimal physical distancing.” Avoiding surprises: A general contractor will know what to watch out for. As such, they can help tackle (or outright avoid) the common pitfalls and “surprises” that creep up during a refurbishment project. After all, says David, “It’s construction – there can always be new challenges.

That’s why being dynamic and responsive is imperative to a contractor’s success in upholding their client’s best interest.”

PUTTING RESIDENTS FIRST

The success of a refurbishment project is measured largely by its impact on residents. To that end, one of the largest advantages of working with a Design-Build general contractor can help keep resident comfort, safety, and preferences in the spotlight through each stage. “It’s important to be proactive and communicative with building occupants that will be directly affected by any construction work,” offers Rep, adding, “Transparency in condo communities ensure there are no surprises and enable a project to transition smoothly through the primary phases of construction.” Yet while keeping residents in the spotlight is key during construction, making sure their voices are heard during initial planning is also critical for delivering results that make all the disruptions and investments worth it in the end. “At the end of the day, it’s about creating spaces where people can thrive,” notes Rep. “It is not simply about changing carpet, wall-paper, and paint; We believe every condo renovation project is an opportunity for a fundamental re-invention and elevation of the human experience.” David is with PAC Building Group. For more information visit

www.pacbuildinggroup.com


Could technology ease a looming manager shortage? During this terrible time

of BY MURRAY JOHNSON COVID-19 and self-isolation, most, if not all, management offices are closed to visitors. With a widening spread between the number of condominiums and managers — currently at one manager for every four-and-half condominiums — new and never contemplated issues are surfacing. Condominium management expects that about another 30 per cent of existing general licensed managers will be leaving the industry as two very critical events converge.

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TECHNOLOGY It is expected the industry will lose a large number of experienced transitional general licensed managers as the transition period expires and so does grandfathering. Many of these transitional licensed managers will simply not want to take the required courses while being so close to the end of their careers. The second exodus will happen as the fifty-five to sixty-five-yearold managers retire. W hile we all wait for new managers to gain experience, we must find ways to keep the current senior managers a lit tle long er. C OV I D -19 has forc e d us to introduce new ways of providing the same service as the pre-COVID-19 period, but delivered differently. Managers have been advocating for years to have boards move to virtual meetings or conference call meetings. This eliminates one of the senior manager pet peeves: extended late night meetings. Boards of directors were having ex tended board meetings, then only had to take the elevator home while managers had to pack up, prepare for the next day and drive home. Forcing us all, boards and managers, to use software conferencing programs l i ke Z o o m , G oTo M e et i n g a n d G o o g l e Hangouts, to name a few, allows boards to consider mid- day meetings or shorter meetings. Surprisingly, the adage that you can’t manage a proper ty from behind a desk seems to be losing at least a little traction. While software and the internet offer a break from having to be on site five days a week, ever yone is learning that a half day or two days on site is enough to d eli ver the s am e l evel of ser v ic e. O f c o u r s e, m a n a g e r s c o nt i nu e to b e innovative and are busy at home each day, completing tasks that they normally did in the office. S o f t w a re l i ke O f f i c e 3 6 5 n o t o n l y addresses the Condominium Act regulation requiring the protection of data by storing data on the cloud, it offers the abilit y to retrieve documents remotely and continue to service boards, residents, vendors and site staff while continuing to meet their fiduciar y obligations and d o almost all remotel y. Lo g M eIn also allows remote access to desktop office c o m p u ter s . C o mmunic ati o n p l at fo r ms for resident information sharing, amenity booking and work requests, to name a few, also allow for remote ac cess by residents, staff and the manager. Tutorials

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are all over the web and often provided as part of the purchase of the software. For those of us getting a little long in the tooth, password management apps help as well. W hile the more seasoned managers will still face small learning curves for the various software applications, in the end they offer a new way of providing customer service. We still have email and the good oldfashioned telephone to suppor t the new v ir tu al wo r l d of c o n d o minium management. It would be wise to remember that goo d, seasoned (and usually older) managers are in high demand. Newly licensed managers simply can’t walk i n t o a c o m p l ex c o n d o m i n i u m a n d provide the same level of ser vice as t h e ir m e nto r s . I f t h e m a n a g e m e nt o f f i c e i s c l o s e d , i t ’s b e c a u s e t h e site st af f must protec t themselves from COVID -19. Exposure to anyone testing positive in a multi - residential environment is at best a 50/50 chance of management staff contracting the virus. If a manager gets the virus and becomes ill, there are simply no other managers standing by to fill the void, full stop. This problem becomes critical 1:41 PM as the number of managers testing positive for COVID-19 climbs. B o a rd s of d ire c to r s w ill h ave to realize that having the manager and site staff in the office every day does n ot e q u a te to b et te r s e r v i c e. T h e avail a b ilit y of v ir tu al s of t w are an d e l e c t ro n i c to o l s m e a n s t h a t p o s t pandemic condominium management will look dif ferent and be delivered differently, but the ser vice level will perhaps be even better than the pre pandemic days. It’s a new world, with new tools and younger professionals who are adept at working in the virtual world. Software will never replace a site inspection or contract management and staff supervision, but we are quickly learning that being on site five days a week is not the only way to provide superior service. 1 Murray Johnson is vice-president of client operations at Crossbridge Condominium Services. He is an organizing committee member for The Condo Conference, condoconference.ca.


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Communicating a Crisis

T he c oron av i r u s p a ndem ic has had a great impact on all aspects of life in general, and

BY SUE LANGLOIS

it particularly posed a communication challenge for many condo corporations. The vast and constantly changing flow of information took many by surprise, but it is never too late to adopt best practices and lessons learned in order to make strategy a natural part of condo communication planning going forward. When it comes to communication tools, COVID -19 seems to have been the catalyst for many to realize the benefit of having a digital elevator screen to reach the majority of residents in a highly effective manner. Regardless of the tool, starting early, setting a tone and planning what type of information to share, all go a long way to getting the right message across at the right time. Communicate Early News reports about a new SARS - like coronavirus began circulating around the Lunar New Year on January 25. Smart condo corporations with proactive communication strategies had

18 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network

their communication provider dust-off flu campaigns from the previous November and adapt them to the new threat. The key is to start building awareness early on — these properties were reminding residents to wash their hands and avoid touching their faces a whole month and a half before the crisis fully hit. Planning communication in advance has the added benefit of sharing information in reasonable measures. One of the biggest snags of COVID-19 condo communication was too much info, too fast. It is important to break information down into smaller pieces, and this can be accomplished by sorting topics and sharing one item from each topic at a time. Facts about the virus can be placed in rotation with health info and amenity closures.


TECHNOLOGY Set the Tone Setting the tone when it comes to crisis communication can go a long way to promoting a sense of calm and dissipating unnecessary fears. It is very important to know the audience, and with COVID -19, it was sometimes necessary to get tough when residents were not taking self-isolation seriously. Reminders about the law and consequences of breaking it helped gain compliance with the rules. On the other hand, simply reminding a nervous audience to keep calm and wash hands frequently underlined the importance and safety of that one simple act to help keep everyone safe. Humour is one of the best ways to get a message across and even though COVID-19 is no joke, lightening the mood often helps keep everyone in a positive frame of mind. Not only that, but it can positively impact behaviour as well. COVID-cranky residents fed up with social distancing, long elevator waits and no amenities

can use a smile every so often. Reminders that everyone is dealing with the same limitations (taking a break from the oft-used “we are all in this together”), funny quotes about being patient or using humour when asking residents to don masks in common elements all help lower the stress and get the most cooperation. Plan Information Wisely Great communication during the COVID-19 crisis should not be all virus-based either. It could include ideas for what to do during social distancing and keep other day-to-day items in the loop as well. Keep in mind that all this communication is likely more than the average property manager is able to do. The time and skill set needed is likely outside the scope of a manager’s job description, and if that is the case, board directors should not be afraid to hire an appropriate service to assist. In the end, a well-informed resident audience is well worth it, crisis or not. 1

Sue Langlois is the founder/CEO of DigiNotice, a digital display and creative notice service designed specifically for condos. Sue has served on the CCI-Toronto board of directors as well as the communication/marketing committees for both CCI-Toronto and CCI-National. She contributed the Communications chapter of CCI-T’s Board of Directors’ Tips, Tools and Techniques. Sue can be reached at sue@digi-notice.com.

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MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

The Private Side of Security Cameras

Security versus privacy

remains a g row i n g c onc er n a mon g c ondo corporations, especially as it relates to security cameras. A condominium should be guided, in part, by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which provides guidance for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. This act makes a condominium responsible for the

information it collects in the process of securing the facility. PIPEDA mandates that the information that is collected must be necessary to the operation of the facility and that it is not to be disclosed without consent or unless required by

20 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network

BY SCOTT HILL

statute — the prime example being the Condominium Act. Condominiums usually use overt cameras, as opposed to covert (hidden) ones. It is highly recommended and required that condominiums install signage to advise


TECHNOLOGY

what a condominium should consider if ever discussing hidden cameras. The basic premise is that residents are entitled to expect that their movements are not under surveillance if there is no visible camera and they have not been told that there are any cameras. Similarly, at the time of writing, a court decision stated that cameras installed in the peephole of doors may violate the privacy of the residents for the same reasons above. Hidden cameras should be considered only as a last resort, and condominium corporations should consult with their legal council before installing any such device. Obviously, even overt cameras should not be installed in any area where a resident would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Many condominiums struggle with the presence of cameras in either a public pool or fitness area. These areas are considered common elements and, as such, there is no expectation of privacy. However, due to the nature of activities and clothing worn in these areas, some condominium corporations feel that these areas should not be under surveillance. Security cameras should also be located in such a manner that they do not record activities outside the condominium’s property line. Special care must be taken that they do not record actions of any adjacent properties or homes. This is particularly

residents and visitors of the presence of these cameras, even if they are overt. In addition to protecting the condominium, the presence of this signage may act as a deterrent for unwanted intrusions. The reason for the liability is that these cameras may record personal information of the residents (appearance and vehicle information), as well as actions such as comings and goings and with whom they may associate. There has been much discussion on hidden cameras in condominiums. Just last year, a court case confirmed that a condominium cannot allow police officers to install hidden cameras in the building without a warrant. Several important points emerged in the case ruling, highlighting

important with PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras, whose view can be modified from the control room, usually using a joystick. Cases out of Surrey, B.C. in recent years have raised the issue about cameras being used for purposes other than security. There is a case where a strata levied $40,000 in fines due to breaches of the facility rules within a single month. Security cameras were used to track the actions of the residents and thereby impose fines, such as $200 for driving away before the gate was closed or $200 for each incident of improper disposal of garbage. In this case, there were three cameras installed in the garbage room alone. The residents of this building are making a strong case that these cameras may have been used inappropriately. Cameras are a defensive security tool, put in place to protect the condominiums and all who reside within. Cameras should not be used as an offensive tool to monitor the actions of the residents of the condominium, except where such actions compromise the safety and security of the building. Having clear guidelines on the usage of security cameras will go a long way towards ensuring that the cameras are operated both ethically and in the best interest of the condominium owners who paid for them through their common element fees. 1

Five items to consider including in the Condominium Security Privacy Policy 1. The purpose and location of each camera installed within the complex. 2. Under what circumstances will the video be reviewed and who is authorized to view it. 3. What happens when and if an owner requests to review the video collected. 4. How will the video be achieved and how long will it be kept before being deleted. 5. How will owners and residents be notified of changes or expansions to the existing camera system.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and are not in the position to provide legal advice in this (or any other) matter. Rather, the article is a summary of the best practices seen or researched in the security industry.

Scott Hill is the owner of 3D Security Services, a security company specializing in condominium protection and security services. Scott is a RCM with ACMO, a Physical Security Professional (PSP) with ASIS/GSX and a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) with the Security Industry Association.

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 21


MANAGEMENT

RISE ABOVE Condo communities grow stronger

22 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


TECHNOLOGY

Building resilience in condos helps communities persevere, adapt to change and feel resourceful — and with ever-evolving guidelines and pandemic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever.

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 23


COVER STORY

Several condominiums across southwestern Ontario with larger concentrations of senior citizens quickly watched their everyday routines change like quicksilver as the pandemic hit. Paper copies of board meeting packages and hand- delivered notices morphed into virtual meetings, electronic messaging and crash courses in Zoom. “Suddenly, people had to figure out how to communicate and do that safely for everyone,” says Casey Beacock, president of Sanderson Management Inc. and president and director of the Grand River Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute. “What made our boards survive was their ability to adapt to change and not be afraid of it.” Managers and boards have long been tasked with preparing communities for uncontrollable events — to help them absorb shocks in the face of adversity. The pandemic is revealing some gaps while testing the resilience of condo communities — enhancing communication channels, rethinking technology and even reimagining the way common spaces are designed and used.

For Judy Statham, president of ICC Property Management, clear and constant communication is something to strive for always and especially now. “At the onset, due to mixed demographics with varying degrees of understanding, acceptance, needs for amenity spaces and usage of their condo dwellings, there were diverse viewpoints on the severity of the pandemic, as well as acceptance of protocols put in place by the board, with management recommendations,” she says. “We have seen our communities pull together and help one another during this time. Continuing to manage our communities with care and proper communication and listening to our residents has and will continue to ensure our condominium corporations are strong and resilient.” For property managers, this pandemic is about learning how to actively listen, says Beacock.

Connect and Communicate Debbie Dale, president of MCRS Property Management, says positive relationships among residents are evolving as they face guidelines and protocols together and that building resilience happens over time. “Communicating in a time of crisis is a quintessential element to successful survival as a community collective,” she says. “Ideally, the communities that have successfully communicated in these difficult times are the ones that will truly excel in the future through the lessons learned — together.”

24 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network

“People are home, so there is a lot more communication coming in,” she says. “They were typically too busy before so we didn’t hear from them until we needed to; now we are hearing from people every day — sometimes those we have never heard of, who have lived in the condos for years.” Catching COVID-19 could mean serious infection or hospitalization for those who are more vulnerable in her buildings. This requires a tailored perspective by which to manage. “You have to think about the plan moving forward and be prepared to go slow — we tend to lag behind what is allowed provincially a bit just because our demographic is vulnerable for the most part,” she adds. “But they don’t always understand that either — they’re tired of being locked down and isolated.” To help a community’s most vulnerable residents absorb the shock of such a crisis, “support, care, empathy and understanding the various economic, social and physical limitations of the communities should all be considered,” Statham points out. Uneducated assumptions should also be avoided, says Dale. Resilience cannot be successfully created without living and learning another’s experience. She suggests that a confidential survey to pull out variables and define commonalities is a great first step, along with direct engagement. “ Vu l n e r a b l e p o p u l a t i o n s r e q u i r e specifically craf ted measures to protect their rights and entitlements in a respectful manner,” she says. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to simply copy and paste repeatedly. Understanding


COVER STORY the goals and needs of each individual or defined group yields the basis from which to draft potential resiliency driven measures.” Hi-Tech, Low-Tech High-Rise Technology also plays a role in building stronger, more cohesive communities, helping to facilitate connections among residents, owners and staff. “Technology has proven to be an invaluable tool, prior to the pandemic, and even more so now,” says Statham. “It allows us to communicate frequently and accurately without the need to print and post notices, track maintenance items, conduct inspections and host board and owner meetings.” A few critical tools ICC has deployed at their Greater Toronto Area properties include email, a community website or portal, a video chat conference line, cloud-based servers to access corporation records, VPN connections for remote access and IP cameras to view footage. The need to virtually monitor both operations and compliance and enhance the community has also pushed many condos to embrace mobile technology, says Jason Reid, senior adviser for Fire & Emergency Management with National Life Safety Group in Toronto. This includes the ability to track cleaning requirements, security guard patrols, virtual board meetings, property inspections and even amenity bookings, “Technology is not only leading operations; it’s enhancing community safety,” he says. “Today, condos in Toronto can even allow the fire department to send text messages to residents during evacuations.” While technology may never replace an experienced “bootson-the-ground superintendent or concierge at the front door,” it’s been proving its worth lately — such as the Ontario government’s emergency order allowing condos to conduct virtual meetings and e-voting, whether or not they have a bylaw permitting so. “Even the screen-sharing aspect in a virtual meeting is a great resource,” says Dale. “We can keep the entire board focused on one subject matter as a group fairly easily, which is hard to do in a live meeting. For a virtual owners’ meeting, I suspect the more timid folks will be empowered, too, to participate as they tend to stay quiet in large groups.” The emergency order on allowing virtual meetings, however, is fleeting. Whether or not most condos will pass a bylaw before the order ceases is unclear. Some managers believe that to implement one would at least offer a choice for boards going forward. “This sets the corporation up for success over the years in making it easier for directors, who travel or go south for months at a time, to still participate effectively, thereby hanging on to that valid volunteer resource pool,” says Dale. Besides new methods that help the business side of a condo corporation, Director of the Condominium/Strata Group at McIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Jon Juffs foresees the social networks of a corporation developing more over the next few months, such as more variant social media communication that promotes interconnectivity and conversations. Condos will not only be able to reach out among their own communities, but also connect with similar condos elsewhere — perhaps to acquire free expert advice or opinions, he says. For instance, a 60-unit townhouse corporation in suburbia might want to talk to another 60-unit condo in another suburb to see what

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COVER STORY

challenges they face with completing pavement markings. Potential advancements could also support more vulnerable residents, he notes, such as an electronic Neighbourhood Watch-type program that monitors the lack of activity in a condo’s light fixtures. “People would be able to react more quickly, but it will be a tougher challenge,” he says. “I don’t think it will get that invasive, but rather boil down to the practical realities of keeping our communities safe and better informed, and potentially having far-reaching consequences, like saving money, as residents understand their time of use.” Canadians believe emerging technologies are helping to improve communities by making them safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable, according to research last year from the Consumer Technology Association. However, the Emerging Technology in Canada: 2019 Consumer Sentiment report found there are regional gaps when it comes to awareness of tech innovations, from smart home devices to 5G connectivity, with a greater recognition found among Torontonians. Such sentiment translates to condominium communities. “Condo communities have such diverse demographics, so in the urban centres there is a tendency to have a great deal of acceptance of technology as a means of conducting business or staying socially connected,” says Juffs. “That is less so when you get into the more suburban, rural areas where the demographic tends to be a little older.”

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He remembers back to when people insisted mail be delivered by Canada Post — few would sign a contract by email. That has changed in the last few years. He expects a more general acceptance to unfold over time despite the locale. “We will eventually see more standard, tried-and-true methods of communication being abandoned for these more avant guard ones that will become mainstream,” he says. Designing for Resilience How can the built environment be adapted to help residents’ respond and recover from stressful events like pandemics, or even climate change emergencies? Quadrangle Architects recently set for th a vision that reimages how amenit y spaces transform into welcoming communit y assets, or “neighbourhood nests.” As condo corporations think about local risks they face and prioritize physical maintenance — an adaptive communications network, back-up power, a continuous clean water supply and refrigeration for medical and other essential supplies — soft infrastructure like social connections should also be considered. The idea is, the more social bonds, the more resilient the community will be when a crisis hits. As Ken Brooks, senior associate and design director at Quadrangle, says, “a key characteristic of resilience is redundancy . . . having such a rich network of connections that the loss of one connection does not jeopardize the stability of the whole." The lobby, a common space in most condos, is a fitting place to begin fostering these bonds. Michelle Xuereb, director of innovation at Quadrangle, says such a space should provide an invitation to pause, stay for a while and return. Placing a couple of chairs outside makes people feel welcome and “blurs the boundaries of public space and private space.” A security guard, for instance, could be reimaged into someone who also facilitates inclusive community engagement and sets a welcoming tone — or becomes the “nest curator.” “Instead of being the gate-keeper whose role it is to keep people out, what if their job description included qualities that you want more in a barista or a bartender — where that person’s job is to engage people,” she says. “When something happens, you can check with the concierge who will know what to do.” Accessible design elements, a counter for cof fee and snacks, a bookshelf for toddlers, a music event or postings for local farmers markets are just a few elements that could entice people to return to the space. Long tables with room for casual conversations or nooks around the periphery for quiet reflection invite people to hang out. When a crisis occurs, the lobby is already a place people trust — a place to take shelter, plan next steps, coordinate emergency provisions and pool resources. When physically distancing, these places can become the communications hub that keeps residents connected, providing necessary information. The nest curator could even coordinate grocery orders delivered to the space, then notify residents to receive them one by one. “The space could be used to still keep people connected, while also providing these really fundamental services,” says Xuereb. “This is really about providing people with the ability to adapt over time so they can build their resilience.” 1

26 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network Jermark_QP_Condo_June_2016.indd 1

2016-06-24 8:59 AM


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28 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


TECHNOLOGY

Condo Meetings 2.0 Some significant and rapid technological advancements are changing the way condos are operating. Boards who previously never would have dreamed of virtual board meetings are — with the occasional microphone feedback, “Zoom mullets” (business on the top, party on the bottom) and awkward camera angles – embracing the opportunity to transact business virtually. The Condominium Act, which contemplates electronic voting, board meetings by teleconference and electronic delivery of notic es to ow ner s was nevertheless inadequate to meet the needs of condos during the pandemic. Additional flexibility needed to be added as emergency legislation to ensure boards were able to govern in accordance with the requirements of the Act – permitting owner ’s meetings vir tually without a by-law, permitting notices to be sent electronically without the consent of owners and permitting boards additional time within which to hold their AGM. Fully virtual condo owners’ meetings were unheard of just several months ago. Now, various platforms have emerged offering fairly seamless and commendable alternatives to in-person meetings, enabling owner participation, communication and transparency in owners’ meetings. Many corporations are taking the opportunity now — while virtual meetings are permissible without a bylaw — to pass a bylaw to permit virtual meetings af ter the pandemic. W hile most will l i ke l y reve r t to i n - p e r s o n o w n e r s’ meetings when it is safe to do so, the future for many condos may be a hybrid meeting – offering both an in - person and vir tual option. Those owners who are unable to physically at tend the meeting would be able to log - in, participate and vote from the convenience of their living rooms. The goal is not to replace the in-person meetings and the sense of community and transparency that is associated with those; but to replicate those crucial components online, while increasing owner participation

by expanding the ways owners are able to participate and vote. While some condos were utilizing technology wherever possible, COVID19 has undoubtedly fast-tracked this transformation. Common Element Use and Restrictions Under the Occupier’s Liabilit y Act, corporations are deemed to be the occupier of the common elements. This means a corporation has an obligation to keep the property reasonably safe for residents, guests and service providers. The Act requires corporations to manage the common elements and to prevent dangerous conditions on the property. In the context of COVID-19, we have rightfully seen a significant shift in how a corporation manages its common elements and protects people on the property. Each community is unique — and so too are the processes, protocols and restrictions that corporations have put in place to protect their communities, including deliveries, garbage disposal, in-suite renovations and real estate showings. Heeding the advice of public health authorities, most common element spaces have been substantially closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protocols have been established to minimize common element traffic. As the economy slowly starts to reopen, the weather improves and people return to work, more requests (and regrettably, demands) will continue to roll in from owners to reopen the amenities and ease the protocols. For the time being, and unless/until a vaccine is developed, the risks associated with COVID-19 remain – and so too do the risks of contracting COVID-19 within the common elements, especially amenity areas such as gyms. During the transition back to reopening these area s a n d e a s i n g p roto c o l s , corporations should plan and carefully consider how to do so safely. For a corporation to discharge its obligations to ensure the property is safe, it will not be enough to simply reopen, rely

on residents to follow appropriate use guidelines and to use the spaces at their own risk. Corporations will need to be able to dedicate sufficient resources, such as cleaning staff, to regularly clean and disinfect the areas and ensure compliance by residents with guidelines by the public health authorities. For some corporations, this may have financial implications as well, requiring an increase of the budget. Remember: just because one can, does not mean that one should, and importantly, does not mean that a failure to exercise reasonable precautions would not attract liability. Noisy Neighbours For now – and for the foreseeable future at least – increased numbers of people will be working from home, creating unique challenges for condos. Noise and other nuisance issues, increased utility consumption and costs and increased deliveries are just the tip of the iceberg. In particular, with respect to noise, while residents have never been entitled to absolute silence in their units, the threshold for what is excessive or unreasonable noise may actually be higher than it was prepandemic. Corporations should consider this when dealing with noise complaints. While enforcement of the governing d o c u m e nt s is ne c e s s a r y, c o nsi d e r engaging in more communication (with the noise-maker and the complainant) and initial efforts to mediate and de-escalate the dispute where possible. As we all navigate the circumstances brought on by COVID-19, continue to plan, adapt and keep your communities safe. 1 Josh is a condo lawyer at Lash Condo Law whose experience spans all things condorelated. He is actively involved in the condo industry and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and seminars. As the past president of his condo corporation in downtown Toronto, Josh learned firsthand about being a director – and gained valuable insight into what directors want from their lawyers.

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 29


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TOP

TEN CONDO BUILDINGS

IN THE CONDO BUSINESS INDUSTRY

TOTAL

CONDO UNITS

TOTAL

Wilson Blanchard Management Inc.

607

FirstService Residential Management Canada

111,307

Pacific Quorum Properties Inc.

450

Crossbridge Condominium Services Ltd.

86,820

Crossbridge Condominium Services Ltd.

422

Del Property Management Inc.

72,000

Del Property Management Inc.

265

Wilson Blanchard Management Inc.

41,729

Gateway Property Management Corporation

263

Pacific Quorum Properties Inc.

28,745

AWM-Alliance Real Estate Group

238

AWM-Alliance Real Estate Group

27,638

ICC Property Management Ltd.

213

ICC Property Management Ltd.

26,797

KDM Management Inc.

210

Gateway Property Management Corporation

21,885

Rentalys Solutions

180

KDM Management Inc.

16,067

Percel Inc.

163

Rentalys Solutions

12,653

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 31


CONDOBUSINESS WHO’S WHO 2020

RANK

UNITS

BUILDINGS

RANK

UNITS

BUILDINGS

7

ICC Property Management Ltd.

26,797

213

8

Gateway Property Management Corporation

21,885

263

265

9

Icon Property Management

18,000

100

41,729

607

10

KDM Management Inc.

16,067

210

Pacific Quorum Properties Inc.

28,745

450

11

Apollo Property Management Ltd

14,800

140

AWM-Alliance Real Estate Group

27,638

238

12

GPM Property Management Inc.

13,350

70

13

Goldview Property Management Ltd.

12,678

83

14

Rentalys Solutions

12,653

180

15

Percel Inc.

11,500

163

16

Sterling Karamar Property Management

8,714

106

17

A.A Property Management

8,000

50

18

Times Property Management Inc.

7,200

47

19

MF Propety Management

6,703

93

20

Nadlan-Harris Property Management Inc.

6,235

62

21

Shelter Canadian Properties Limited

5,714

33

22

Royal Property Management

5,000

60

23

Canlight Management Inc

4,839

50

24

Menres Property Management Inc.

4,089

13

25

Whitehill Residential

3,878

35

1

FirstService Residential Management Canada

111,307

1,089

2

Crossbridge Condominium Services Ltd.

86,820

422

3

Del Property Management Inc.

72,000

4

Wilson Blanchard Management Inc.

5 6

410 3,242

The number of licensed condominium provider companies in Ontario

How many licensed condo managers in Ontario as of March 31, 2020, according to the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO). They include General Licensees (1,710), Transitional General Licensees (574), and Limited Licensees (958).

1.7 million

Approximately people live and invest in condominiums across Ontario There are more than condo communities in Ontario

750,000

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CONDOBUSINESS WHO’S WHO 2020

RANK

UNITS

BUILDINGS

RANK

UNITS

BUILDINGS

26

Rancho Management Services

3,708

0

45

ANTREV & ASSOCIATES INC

214

1

27

Meritus Group Management Inc.

3,387

41

46

Southwest Properties Ltd.

200

2

28

Equium Group

3,242

36

47

Westcorp Property Management

136

1

29

Real Estate 360 Property Advisory Limited 2,927

44

48

76

2

30

BayShore Property Management

2,834

31

Richmond Community Management Services Corp.

31

Smart REIT

2,767

5

49

Skywater Property Management

41

0

32

Dove Square Property Management Inc.

2,650

34

50

Lameer Management

2

0

33

Berkley Property Management Inc.

2,500

28

51

SABJOY INC

1

0

34

Around The Lakes Property Management Limited

1,878

59

35

Provincial Property Management Limited

1,800

28

36

Colliers International

1,663

25

37

Lionheart Property Management Inc.

1,600

0

38

Downing Street Property Management Inc.

1,149

18

39

Warrington PCI Management

1,105

10

40

HighPoint Property Management

900

19

41

Condominium Living Management Inc.

576

0

42

Huntington Properties Ltd.

465

13

43

Summa Property Management

306

26

44

Arnon Corp.

281

3

Goldview Property Management Ltd. will guarantee the highest standard of property management services. Our meticulous attention to detail, innovative and cost-effective solutions, advanced communication networks, and green technology have established Goldview Property Management as a leader in the industry for the past 30 years.

Contact Goldview Property Management and your Corporation can also realize significant financial and operational benefits.

www.goldview.ca • 416.630.1234 51 Toro Road, Suite #200 Toronto, Ontario, M3J 2A4 Fax: 416.630.3132

271

Net Increase of Licensed Managers (2018-19 to 2019-2020) General Licensees: 172 Transitional General Licensees: 137 Limited Licensees: 236 Licensed condominium provider companies: 21

REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF LICENSEES* Northern Ontario: 52 Eastern Ontario: 314 Western Ontario: 339 Toronto: 1,260 Central Ontario: 1,687

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CALL 416-789-7611 www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 33 Jermark_QP_Condo_June_2016.indd 2

2016-06-24 8:59 AM


Ten Pandemic Cleaning Tips Proper cleaning and sanitation have never been more top-of-mind

BY PETER FARRELL

among residents and condo property managers alike. As Canadians continue to spend time at home, keeping common areas clean and sanitized is key in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other potential health threats.

1

D i s i n f ec t Common Sur faces Daily with a Hos pital- grade Disinfectant Follow this guidance as indicated by the World Health Organization and the C a n a d i a n C e nt re fo r O c c u p a t i o n a l Health and Safety. Daily disinfection of common surfaces like elevator buttons, door handles, and mailboxes is one of the most effective ways to reduce instances of surface-to-person transmission. Using a Health Canada-registered disinfectant ensures potency and maintains health and safety standards.

2

Don’t Forget Stairways Using condo elevators and trying to remain socially distant can be difficult, which is why many people opt for the stairs during this time. Stair railings are a crucial but often overlooked hotspot for crosscontamination and need to be disinfected.

3

Install Hand Sanitizer Stations Throughout Common Areas Having hand sanitizer available to tenants and guests in common areas not only creates a more hygienic living space, but also targets surface-to-person transmission at its source.

34 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network

4

Keep Pests Under Control Pests don’t rest for pandemics. Partnering with a trusted integrated pest management provider keeps your condo free of unwanted guests.

5

Upgrade to Touch-Free Washroom Fixtures Installing touch-free washroom fixtures in common areas, like automatic faucets and soap dispensers, leads to cleaner washrooms. With COVID-19’s potential for fecal-oral transmission, the less people are touching items in the washroom, the better.


MAINTENANCE

6

Regularly Review Cleaning Procedures with Operations Staff Proper training and regular updates on new cleaning procedures assures the consistent delivery of maintenance and facility operation objectives.

7

Have Dedicated PPE Disposal Bins at all Entrances Many residents leaving their homes will be wearing personal protective equipment. Having an enclosed receptacle where residents can safely dispose of their PPE at all entrances ensures infectious material is kept separate from common area disposal bins.

8

Provide Educational Signage Throughout the Condo Educational signage throughout the condo indicating the symptoms of COVID-19, reminding residents to use hand sanitizer upon entering the building, and displaying how to safely remove PPE directly contributes to the overall cleanliness of the condo. Creating a hygiene-conscious DelProperty_Condo_March_2018_torevise.pdf 1 helps 2018-04-13 2:44 PM efforts. culture uphold cleaning

Consider Professional Disinfection Having your condo professionally disinfected acts as an extra safeguard in support of regular c l e a n i n g p ro c e d u re s . P ro fe s s i o n a l d isinfe c tio n ser v ic es c over all the harder to reach and often overlooked surfaces that regular daily disinfection misses. C onsider this especially if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.

10

Disinfect Delivery Packages A surge in online ordering means more packages arriving at the front desk. Disinfecting packages as they come in protects residents from unknowingly cross-contaminating other surfaces, like the elevator, when bringing them into their unit. 1 Peter Farrell is the chief executive officer of Citron Hygiene. He oversees Citron’s global operations in Canada, the US and the UK, and has served on a number of industry Boards, including ISSA and BOMA Toronto.

50

C

M

9

20

18

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 35


Finding the Right Roofing Contractor Low slope roofing systems, on top of most residential towers,

BY JACK ALBERT

w i l l t y pica l ly requ i re replacement following a service life of 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of roof and the quality of the initial design and installation. Shingle roofs may be in the range of 15 to 20 years. Since the replacement work is a significant investment and can have a major impact on the site, it is important to find the right roofing contractor for the job.

36 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


MAINTENANCE Checking References References should be reviewed and contacts called for any prospective contractors. The project references should be both recent and for projects that were of a similar scope and size. It may be valuable to contact both the property manager and consultant references (if provided) as they may have information on different aspects of the work. When calling references, some items to review include: 1. Project Schedule – Was the agreed upon schedule met (both start date and duration)? 2. Communication – Was information such as working days proactively provided, and was the roofing project manager or superintendent responsive to phone calls and emails? 3. Site Presence – Were the site staff respectful and well behaved? There are instances of roofers being abrasive, but many roofing crews go out of their way to ensure the client is happy and to limit disruptions to the site and interior spaces below their work. 4. Surprises – Did anything come up on the project that was unforeseen, and how did the contractor deal with this? There are contractors who want to work as a team and get the project done quickly; others are looking for extras. 5. People – The people make the difference. It is worth asking the names of the site and office team members of the project. Special Conditions Some project conditions may be difficult or uncommon, and it is essential to know that the potential roofing contractor has the ability to deal with them and can convey to the property management how those conditions will be addressed. Such items may include: 1. Noise Limitations – Work cannot be completed during regular working hours.

Basic Qualifications For any larger construction project, it is necessary to ensure that the potential contractor or bidder has the proper qualifications. This would typically include bonding, insurance, experience in similar work and a good health and safety record. For many roofing systems and warranties, the roofing installers must also have specific training from the roofing system manufacturer to install the products and to qualify for certain warranty levels. Additional qualifications may include membership in the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA) or CORTM certification which is an occupational health and safety accreditation program. Detailed References Company and project specific references can be provided on the CCDC 11 – 2019 Contractor’s Qualification Statement, which is a standard document for contractors to provide information about their companies, capacity, skill and experience. The CCDC 11 document includes project references and company information, such as the legal structure, financial reference, bonding (security) reference, insurance reference, health and safety information, valuation of construction work projected for current year and the actual value for the past four years. Personnel qualifications and experience are also provided, including the proposed key office and site personnel.

2. Odour Limitations – Work may be near air intakes or there may be people in the building with odour sensitivities. 3. Special Access – Accessing the work area may involve extensive scaffolding, shoring or large cranes. 4. Specialty Materials – Not all contractors are familiar with less common materials such as flat seam copper, slate, landscaping, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), etc…. 5. Designated Substances – These may include asbestos, lead or coal tar pitch. 6. Ice Damning – This is often related to venting, thermal bridging or air leakage. 1 Jack Albert, P.Eng., is an associate with Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd (RJC). Jack is a member of the Ontario Building Envelope Council, IIBEC, and is an accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP), certified Passive House Designer, and a LEED Accredited Professional. Over the past 15 years, Jack has completed numerous projects involving window and roofing installation, building envelope testing and thermal modeling of building envelope assemblies.

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 37


DESIGN

Unique plant materials, such as Arnold Promise witch hazel, come into full, fragrant bloom in February and last for weeks.

A Grand Entrance R e sident s of mu lt i-u n it condominium towers share the same

BY KENT FORD

front door. It should be on every condominium management and board of directors to-do list to keep the front entrance up to date and in A-1 condition. After all, keeping up curb appeal not only brings owners the daily enjoyment of arriving and leaving their homes, but also reduces yearly maintenance headaches for management. It also allows realtors to feature listings inside the condo with a new face. The return on investment is always favourable. 38 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


DESIGN

T he problem for many GTA condominium properties is that their current ex teriors do not match the investment already made on renovated lobbies and corridors. A s a result, residents star t to ignore entrances to their buildings and a d o w nw a r d s p i r a l o f t i re d - l o o k i n g hardscape and eyesore patchwork repairs takes hold.

Architectural Accessorizing One of the simplest ways to cheer up a tired entrance is to add exterior awnings. Not only will they provide sun and snow protection, but they can also develop new branding for the condo through wellchosen colours, logos and lettering. Working with an experienced awning company is crucial to determine the necessary signage and awning related

by-laws. A good design rule of thumb is to avoid awnings that sit at the base more than 21 inches out from the wall of the building. More than 21 inches would create an awning angle that will not be acceptable to the local municipal building department. A w n i n g s c a n a l s o i l l u m i n a te a n e nt r a n c e w i t h t h e l a te s t L E D p ot lighting — mounted to the underside CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Curb Appeal Case Studies Following the feel and flavour of the lobby interior is always a good way to springboard the design of the entrance exterior. Despite the seasonal climate, think of the inside and outside as one space.

ABOVE At Citysphere Condominiums, an existing landing, ramp and railings were dysfunctional, the landing too small and the ramp too narrow. A first step was looking to improve ease of access with an expanded landing and a wider wheelchair ramp and railing. Existing granite pavers were recycled when creating the new landing and ramp. Dry-laid granite and other durable stones are preferable as opposed to mortaring them in place. The use

of de-icing salt has intensified by snow removal contractors to the point where mortar joints are quickly eaten away, creating an ongoing maintenance headache. The advantage of dry-laid paving is that it makes spot repairs easy, bypassing the need for jackhammering out existing surfaces that adhere to a concrete base. Matching new stone or concrete with old can prove impossible as these surfaces age and change in tonality.

RIGHT At Market Square downtown, the floor patterning of the interior lobby renovation was finished with dramatic alternating horizontal sections of through-body colour porcelain tiles. The goal was to echo this pattern into the exterior pavers and include a new welcome mat of all season durable porcelain pavers extending right out to the street curb. A dramatic acrylic light box feature connects the interior design aesthetic with the exterior and provides much-needed entrance illumination for the shaded pedestrian areas leading up to the front door.

www.REMInetwork.com | June 2020 39


DESIGN

“The problem for many GTA condominium properties is that their current

exteriors do not match the investment already made on renovated lobbies and corridors.” soffit po r t i o n . T h e s e p ot l i g ht s c an tie into new L ED building wall mounted fix tures that b alance with the landscape lighting and illuminated letters on the front of a focal-point, like a steel planter. More Than Meets the Eye Consulting a legal survey to determine the front property line is an essential first step to any improvement

p ro j e c t . A f ro nt e nt r a n c e c o u l d , i n f a c t , b e s i t u a te d o n c i t y p ro p e r t y. Many condominium entrances in Toronto were realized under special development agreements that allowed construction on the municipal right- of-way. To renovate such an entr y, project m a n a g e r s w i l l n e e d to n av i g a te a number of permits for construction and facilitate an encroachment agreement

between their clients and the city. This will ultimately protect the investment from damage that could be caused by future municipal underground utility or streetscape improvements. C areful planning, high and low d esig n c ost o ptio ns an d a “l o ok at m e” a p p r o a c h t o t h e s t r e e t s c a p e design will quickly transform any curb -appeal project into improved real estate value. 1

Kent Ford is founder and principal of Kent Ford Design Group Inc., a Toronto-based landscape design and project management firm kentfordesign.com @kentforddesigngroup

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NEW AND NOTABLE

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Cybersecurity Risks Surge

A new transit-oriented residential development, including 1,200 condominium and rental housing units, will be based on concepts that respond to the new realities of the pandemic.

Canadians are at increased risk of having their personal and corporate information captured and exploited while working from home during the pandemic, according to a panel of industry stakeholders and experts from the University of Waterloo.

Located above and surrounding the Longueuil– Université-de-Sherbrooke métro station in Québec, the project is a joint effort between Devimco Immobilier and the City of Longueuil. According to Serge Goulet, president of Devimco real estate, discussions are currently underway with Québec furniture industry players to adapt the condos and apartments for teleworking. “We are responding to Longueuil’s vision by designing a multifunctional urban hub where a combination of experiences is an essential condition for creating a true living environment,” said Goulet. “What we are developing is an integrated blend of amenities, in spaces where homes, work environments and local services are located side by side. It will also be possible to enjoy cultural and food experiences, and even — as is already the case — to study there.” Featuring two 22-storey condominium towers and two 22-storey buildings for rental units, the 1.2-million square foot project is valued at about $500 million. The site is already considered a knowledge hub with the presence of three universities: the campuses of Université de Sherbrooke, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

“Because so many people are glued to the Internet 24/7, including school kids, we've seen the exponential increase in the use of technology such as video conferencing and cloud-based storage,” said Maura Grossman, a research professor and Director of Women in Computer Science at Waterloo. “You have lots of people using tools they didn't use before, and there is much more casual dealing with private information that's being exchanged in ways it wouldn't be if we were behind firewalls. Important information and corporate information is at much greater risk the longer we stay home and exchange information in more casual ways.” The security and data privacy considerations panel was part of Waterloo’s GEDI Rebooting series. It saw experts in computer science, cryptography, public health, privacy and risk and compliance talk about the emerging cybersecurity threats from at home and abroad and the interplay between privacy, public health and workforce education. “I've noticed fraudsters are getting more and more inventive in finding ways to obtain people's personal information, including things like bill notification messages that look like the real thing but are just phishing scams,” said Deborah Evans, chief privacy officer at Rogers Communications. “Society is rightfully looking elsewhere in the face of public health concerns, and fraudsters are taking advantage of that; I'm busier now than I've ever been.” It’s an issue that Canada is going to continue to face, and one that will become even more important should Canada elect to automate data collection in the form of contact tracing apps to aid in public health efforts, according to panel members. “There’s no real consensus on the right approach in this area,” said Michael Parker, the principal corporate security analyst in governance, risk and compliance at BlackBerry. “The real question with contact tracing apps is not about anonymizing the data. It's about how many people need to use the app to make it effective, which has no consensus. If contact tracing apps are not mandatory then they are unlikely to be effective.”

42 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network


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