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September 2016 â€˘ Vol. 31 #6
Inside the CRTC decision that sent a Toronto condo corporation back to the negotiation table with a fourth TSP
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Crossed wires By Michelle Ervin
Is your condo electric car-ready? By Gerard Gransaull
Legal Can condo directors be sued for conspiracy? By Rod Escayola Fighting back against excessive closing costs By Megan Mackey Governance FYI: The owner information meeting By Shlomo Sharon Management Four ways to measure thermal energy use By Dustin Ingram
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FOCUS ON: SECURITY
Security patrols get digital back-up By Paul Amendola
Three keys to mobile access By Stephen Pollack
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Telecom access A recent Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision sent a Toronto condominium corporation back to the negotiation table. Despite its capacity concerns, the corporation was directed to work out reasonable terms and conditions for the timely access of a fourth telecommunications service provider to its three buildings. Failing which, the CRTC raised the prospect of ordering the corporation’s existing providers to stop servicing the buildings. The decision is based on guidelines for the access of telecommunications service providers to multi-dwelling units including condominiums. At the heart of the guidelines are the goals of competition and consumer choice. The latest case reinforces findings from earlier cases that applied this framework to disputes between a telecommunications service provider and developers. But the case has also raised questions about a previous understanding that condominium boards could be considered the end user for the purpose of consumer choice since directors are elected to represent unit owners. This month’s cover story digs into the CRTC decision and what it means for condominium corporations at large as new players in the telecommunications market build out their infrastructure in high-rise buildings in the GTA. Also, in this security-themed issue, we asked an expert to survey the risks associated with the rise of Pokémon Go. Plus, look for articles on trends in mobile keys and digital back-up for security guards. In its recent decision, the CRTC could have issued a direct order for access but instead asked the parties to sort out reasonable terms and conditions for an agreement amongst themselves, with a few guidelines. The agreement only needed to provide for access to the corporation’s main terminal room to start, with access to telecommunications closets to be accommodated as end users requested service. Michelle Ervin Editor, CondoBusiness email@example.com
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The rise of Pokémon Go Millennials everywhere are relishing the return of the Pokémon franchise, which launched into the cultural lexicon in the mid-1990s with video games featuring the f ictional creatures. The ‘Pocket Monsters’ are back in
the form of a mobile phone app that uses GPS to superimpose the game onto the actual locations of its players. As players hunt for creatures and battle each other at designated stops, the game is raising a number of security concerns for private property owners. How can condominium communities protect themselves? Security expert Quintin Johnstone, president and CEO of Samsonshield and Riskboss, surveys the situation.
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The creators of Pokémon Go have advised that they are
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Sponsored by MediaEdge
working on a fix that allows properties to opt out of becoming a location for Pokéspots. Four reasons to Imagine a large crowd of 100 people or more all focused on their cellular phones rushing the main doors of a condominium. They piggyback in with legitimate residents who, unbeknownst to them, are trespassing in search of an elusive and rare Pokémon. Is this a fantasy or a shocking reality? Actually, it can happen. By all accounts, Pokémon Go is a new worldwide cultural phenomenon. Players enter a virtual world that in many cases becomes their reality, obsession and focus. After joining, players receive alerts on their cellular phones when the fictional creatures are near. Players rush to catch coins that help them climb the levels of the game. Whether Pokémon Go is a new fad that will fade away or it is here to stay is not the issue. The issues for condominiums are access control and restraining would-be trespassers. The question that boards and property managers alike need to ask is whether their condominium communities are prepared for such eventualities. Pokémon Go figures are randomly created and can appear absolutely anywhere. Pokéspots have appeared at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and have also overwhelmed the City of Toronto Ferry Docks and Manhattan’s Central Park with large crowds swarming these areas in search of Pokémon. Manic crowds with tunnel vision have created traffic jams, car accidents, and pedestrian hazards as a result of people walking into traffic focusing on their cellular phones rather than their own safety. The noise and disturbances to a neighbourhood can be dramatic and long lasting. The issue for condominiums is not just trespassing. There is also the potential damage to property, noise, traffic jams, littering, physical assaults, theft of cellular phones, mischief to private property, graffiti,
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FourFour reasons to to reasons startstart marketing marketing withwith video video
the draw on overstretched emergency services resources, the sense of helplessness of condominium residents and the impact to the brand image of a community. The costs By Steven Chester By Steven can be quite substantial. By Chester Steven Chester Police officials worldwide are concerned Since the brain processes visuals 60,000 brainthe processes visuals 60,000 about public safety issues. Aggravated local Since the Since brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for it times faster than thethan timethe it takes it times faster time for it takes for it residentstohave even taken the law into their process text, and 65 per cent of the to process text, and 65 per cent of the to process text, and 65 per cent of the own hands whenarelarge appear, population visual crowds learners, it’s time to population are visual learners, it’s time to population are visual learners, it’s time to thinking about video marketing. throwingstart eggs and water-bombing Pokémon start thinking about video marketing. start thinking about video marketing. Go players. Here are four insights that tell you why: Here are four insights that tell you why: Here are four insights that tell you why: As is •the case allofaccess orYouTube crowd Sixty per in cent traffic on • Sixty•per centper of traffic YouTube Sixty cent ofon traffic on YouTube control issues, the time toThat start planning is search-driven. means most is search-driven. That means is search-driven. That most means most aren’t visiting YouTube to see for such anusers event is not when it is actually users aren’t to see to see usersvisiting aren’tYouTube visiting YouTube cat video is trending on what latest catlatest video is video trending on happening.what For latest condominium communities, what cat is trending on the homepage. They’re looking for the homepage. They’re They’re looking for the homepage. looking for that means preparing in advance, having information. information. information. resilient• access control equipment and Native video on Twitter drives 2.5 times • Native•video onvideo Twitter 2.5 times2.5 times Native ondrives Twitter drives a standard post. more engagement than a standard post. processesmore as engagement well as than having robust more engagement than a standard post. • Facebook postsregularly. have 135 per • Facebook video posts have 135 per emergency plans thatvideo are drilled • Facebook video posts have 135 per cent more engagement than photo cent more engagement than photo When Pokémon Go events occur, cent more engagement than photo posts. Facebook is going toe-to-toe posts. Facebook is going istoe-to-toe posts. Facebook going toe-to-toe calling 911with immediately should be the YouTube. No longer is it effective with YouTube. No longer it effective with YouTube. Noislonger is it effective first ordertoofpost business when very that YouTube video linklarge on to post that YouTube video link on link on to post that YouTube video your Facebook page – Facebook crowds appear. Most average residential your Facebook page – Facebook your Facebook page – Facebook wantsare thatnot video content for itself. You wants that video content for itself. You condominiums built for and, more wants that video content for itself. You can benefit from this battle by posting can benefit from this battle by posting can benefit from this battle by posting often thandirectly not, ill-equipped to meet the to both platforms. directly to both platforms. directly to both platforms. demands such on incidents. • of Videos Instagram offer two times • Videos on Instagram offer two times • Videos on Instagram offer two times engagement and comments If this more should occur, condominiums more engagement and comments more engagement and comments than photo posts. Video controlling views have than photo will face challenges including thanposts. photoVideo posts.views Videohave views have also grown 350 per cent over an also grown per 350 centper over an over an also350 grown cent crowds, prohibiting access to the property eight-month period on this platform. eight-month period on this platform. eight-month period on this platform. and supporting front-line concierge staff. The how do you source content that aftermathSo, will require careful communications So, howSo, do how you source that do you content source content that others wantthe to see? Keeptointhe mindbrand others want to see? Keep in mind strategies to limit impact others want to see? Keep in mind that businesses put too much focus put too much image of condominiums so the community that businesses that businesses put toofocus much focus on themselves rather than what their on themselves rather than what their on themselves rather than what their does notaudience becomewants stigmatized and residents’ to hear. What problems audience wants to hear. What problems audience wants to hear. What problems anxietiescan are addressed. you solve to position your business can you solve to position your business can you solve to position your business as a thought leader? Go Try to answer The creators of Pokémon have advised as a thought leader? leader? Try to answer as a thought Try to answer frequently asked questions by searching asked questions by searching that they are working on a fix that allows frequently frequently asked questions by searching community hubs, blogs, LinkedIn community hubs, blogs, community hubs,LinkedIn blogs, LinkedIn properties to opt out of becoming a location Groups and competitor sites. Groups Groups and competitor sites. sites. and competitor for Pokéspots. In the meantime, condominium property managers may want to reach out Steven Chester is the Digital Director of to Pokémon Go through itsMedia request and Steven Chester the Digital Media Director Stevenis Chester is the Digital MediaofDirector of MediaEdge Communications. With 15 years’ MediaEdge Communications. With 15 years’ MediaEdge Communications. With 15 years’ support website (https://support.pokemongo. experience in cross-platform communications, experienceexperience in cross-platform communications, in cross-platform communications, Steven helps companies expand their reach through nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/requests/new) and Steven helps companies expand their reach through Steven helps companies expand their reach through social media and other digital initiatives. To contact social media and other digital initiatives. To contact social media and other digital initiatives. To contact ask for the communities they oversee to be him directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org. him directly, email email@example.com. him directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org. excluded. 1
www.REMInetwork.com | September 2016 9
Security patrols get digital back-up The act of performing a “guard BY PAUL AMENDOLA patrol ” has a long-stand ing history and how it’s been completed has changed
over time. At a basic level, a guard patrol is simply a routine check of locations that have been deemed valuable or classified as requiring an
inspection for whatever reason — due diligence, preventative maintenance, regulatory.
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In the security and life safety industry, securit y guards are resp onsible for patrols, hence the name guard patrol. To fulfill this dut y, securit y guards conduct frequent checks of specified locations such as mechanical/electrical ro oms, st air wells and flo ors und er construction. Documenting guard patrols is just a s i m p o r t a n t a s t h e p a t r o l i t s e l f. Te c h n o l o g y h a s c o m e a l o n g w a y t o s i m p l i f y t h e s e p r o c e s s e s . To understand where the future of guard patrolling is heading, itâ€™s helpful to step back and recall how it has evolved. The most primitive form of conducting a patrol is when the security guard goes to each location and uses his or her senses to c omp lete the inspection, and then w rites results down on a paper template/checklist. This st yle of repor ting takes time because the guard has to note each location, when it was visited and its s t a t u s . A m a n a g e r w o u l d n e e d to c o lle c t all re c ord s of gu ard p atro ls to rev iew a n d ve r i f y t h at all a re a s have been routinely patrolled and to escalate problems to the appropriate personnel. In addition, manually documenting g u a r d p a t ro l s w i t h p e n a n d p a p e r can leave room for human error and requires storage/ indexing. Over time, technology has evolved to help automate the guard patrol process. In the 1990s, a cylinder-shaped tool that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology became available and popular. The guard had to inser t the cylinder into a puck affixed at each stop on the patrol to document that he or she had been there. At the end of the patrol, the location results would be
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downloaded and available upon request. M o r e r e c e n t l y, t e c h n o l o g y h a s advanced to where any modern mobile device can be used to scan an affixed t ag or b arc o d e at e ac h lo c ation to document that a guard has been there. T his technolog y also provides ex tra features such as checklists and the ability to add a note or photo, to report l o c at i o n s a s re q u ir i n g at te nt i o n o r service, and to see outstanding patrol stops. In addition, the technology automatically alerts the right people to deficiencies and allows managers to identify trends and see whether patrols are completed on time and if there are any repeat areas of concern. T his technolog y is just becoming popular in the market now. There are several emerging technolo gies that guard patrols will be able to leverage in the future. F o r e x a m p l e , v i r t u a l r e a l i t y, a c omputer- g enerate d 3 D worl d , w ill be used to provide a t wo - way real time assistance channel for locations
that require immediate at tention. If t h e g u a r d i d e n t i f i e d ex t r a o r d i n a r y c onditions during the p atrol, he or s h e c o u l d c o n n e c t w i t h a n ex p e r t staff member, such as an engineer or manager, who c ould remotel y walk them through how to rectify the issue. Te c h n o l o g y l i k e t h i s w o u l d d r am ati c all y re d u c e r isk an d c o s t s by eliminating the need to have experienced staff members on standby at all properties at all times. A nother example of emerging technolog y is the use of unmanned vehicles also known as drones. Instead of guards conducting patrols, drones would complete a majority of inspections. Each drone would be programmed to know what and when to inspect. If the drone identified a problem, the drone would be able to document and notify the r ig ht st af f mem b er s to ensure deficiencies are corrected. R e g a rd l e s s of t h e m et h o d u s e d , g u a r d p a t r o l s m u s t b e c o m p l e te d fo r a v a r iet y of re a s o ns , in c lu d in g
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compliance, due diligence, preventative maintenance and to lower insurance premiums. Conducting guard patrols can be repetitive and mundane at times but is an essential part of protecting properties and people. As technology advances, the documenting and post- patrol review process will continue to become more efficient so that time can be spent on revenue - generating tasks and other assignments deemed important. 1 Paul Amendola is chief executive officer of Tap Report a Toronto-based firm that specializes in creating safer workplaces through software. Th e p re c e d i n g a r ti c l e o ri g i n a l ly ap peared in the August 2016 issue of Canadian Facility Mangagement & Design.
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2016-07-21 10:14 AM
Three keys to mobile access If mobi le key usage t rends continue as t hey have in ot her
BY STEPHEN POLLACK
industries, it is only a matter of time before residents view a smartphone-operated door lock as a must-have amenity. Young and tech-savvy residents lead the way. Their ever-present mobile devices already function as tools to socialize, shop, entertain, and navigate life. The ubiquity of smartphone use paired with evolving electronic lock technology makes multi-unit residential properties a prime market for mobile access. Multi-unit residential property managers must be familiar with the facts surrounding mobile access use to correctly and successfully deploy these solutions. Mobile access solutions are becoming more widely used in the hotel industry.
Experience shows that deploying secure multi-unit residential property mobile access involves much more than a resident’s smartphone, a downloaded app, and communication with an electronic lock. There are multiple security, safety, and liability factors that should be evaluated when considering mobile access use. Launching a multi-unit residential property mobile access system that supports secure property operations requires a thorough understanding of the options available and how these systems work in the real world.
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Background: What is mobile access? Mobile access is the ability to open a door lock with an encrypted code or “key credential” sent over Bluetooth low energy (BLE) or a similar signal from a smartphone to an electronic lock. As operators evaluate this new door lock technology, they must remember that the purpose of a property’s secure access, including mobile access deployed across an entire multi-res property, is to ensure management has complete and total control of keys being issued.
SECURITY Owners and managers should first consider how the technology will impact their operations; then, they can factor in the costs of these systems. Stakeholders should thoroughly evaluate the two basic mobile key deployment options, “pairing” and “property wide,” and how each functions, to ensure effective security within the system and throughout their properties. Experience suggests that multi-res stakeholders should ask questions in the following three important areas to assess their readiness for a secure mobile doorlocking system. 1. Will a mobile access system provide adequate security? Property security is largely the responsibility of its owner. One of the first mobile access system choices for owners and managers is “direct pairing” versus “property-wide implementation.” Both options are based on BLE technology, but they differ significantly in how much control property management maintains over security. Direct pairing creates a unique wireless link between each specific set of devices, such as the smartphone and the door lock. The resident controls the source of the access code — via his or her smartphone — and who gets to use the device to open the door. Residents can grant access to any number of guests, sometimes from a remote location, without management’s knowledge. Property-wide implementation establishes that access is managed from a centralized software platform. That means management can better monitor every access point across an entire property, including perimeter entries (lobby, garage) and amenity areas (party room, pool). Only management can issue mobile key codes, which are encrypted and delivered over the network from a trusted service provider to a resident’s phone. Residents are not able to pass access codes on to other users. It’s important that operators work with a vendor that will ensure secure, industry standard, end-to-end mobile key encryption at all vulnerable wireless points. The mobile key must remain encrypted until it is decrypted by the door lock. For example, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology remains in place along the entire communication path from the supporting network to the key generation service, the mobile app, the smartphone, and door lock
to provide a robust defense against today’s communication attacks. At first glance, direct pairing may appear to be a fast, relatively low-cost path to mobile key access. The crucial question is, would an investment in stronger security — for access codes, unit doors, and property perimeters — be a better value? It is wise to compare current property security costs and operational processes with the potential mobile access investment and likely operational changes mobile access will require.
Since multi-res operations vary with each property and management team, the best way to begin a mobile access evaluation is to schedule face-to -face meetings with leading secure system prov id ers ex p erienc e d in multi - res operations. 2. Will a mobile access system promote safety? There are numerous safety concerns for multi-res owners and operators who use
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direct-pairing to place mobile key access under residents’ almost-exclusive control. For example, what will happen in the event of a lockout should the door key reside in a lost smartphone? Many residents employ dog walkers, housecleaners, and other service providers. Who should be responsible for their access, and is it important to the ownership and management groups to have a firstperson process in place to physically check these people into the building face to face?
Safety of all residents in the building is at risk when rogue keys can be issued without management knowledge. The software associated with a secure proper t y wide system can allow management to issue and revoke credentials to specific ser v ic e p rov i d er s as ne e d e d . I f a resident’s smartphone is lost or stolen, management can cancel the mobile key. The management/ownership team retains total key and access control.
Meet with an experienced mobile access provider to evaluate whether the quick-and-inexpensive direct pairing approach will produce an acceptable return on investment (ROI), particularly if resident safety is compromised or a security issue occurs at the property. 3. What are potential mobile access liability issues? Building owners must demonstrate reasonable care to residents. This care encompasses property access and safety. With a traditional door lock and key system, each resident should receive a restricted high security key, with a second key secured for management use. However, smartphone lock credentials are dynamic. Further, residents are responsible for the level of security protections on their Wi-Fi network and Internet connection. Liability issues could definitely emerge if these resident-controlled mobile key systems are breached and injury or damage occurs. Property-wide mobile key implementation may significantly reduce liability concerns. This is especially true when owners work with a mobile access system provider experienced in implementing mobile key access delivery systems with strong end-to-end security. Multi-res stakeholders should plan to discuss these issues with their legal counsel and their lock provider. In total-cost terms, property-wide secure mobile access may yield the best ROI when owners balance cost with potential liability issues raised by direct pairing. Conclusion: Cool factor or security? The rising demand for mobile key access coincides with the rapid growth of the multi-res community. This perfect storm of technology, growth, and tech-savvy residents has created a heightened interest in mobile access. Technology is currently available to quickly meet that demand. But before making a decision, carefully evaluate the questions touching security, safety, liability, and cost offered in this white paper. 1 Stephen Pollack is the vice president of marketing at Kaba Access & Data Systems. The preceding white paper, “Look Before You Leap: Three Essential Questions to Ask as Multihousing Professionals Evaluate Mobile Access Locking Systems,” is reprinted with permission from Kaba.
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Can condo directors be sued for conspiracy? An interesting case recently came out of Toronto where the owner of three commercial condominium units
BY ROD ESCAYOLA
commenced a claim against the condominium corporation and the directors personally,
claiming conspiracy, nuisance and intentional economic interference. This raises an interesting question: Can condo directors be found to be involved in a conspiracy when they take decisions as a board? Sadly, the answer is “maybe”. Yet another reminder for condo directors to take their responsibilities very seriously. Facts of this case This case opposes the owner of three retail condominium units to the condominium corporation, its directors personally and the property manager. The owner commenced an action, claiming that, from 2003 until 2015, its tenants were allowed to use a service laneway and a room identified as the “Retail
garbage” room. This service laneway was also used for deliveries to the retail units. It is alleged that in 2015 the retail tenants were no longer allowed to use the laneway or the retail garbage room and that delivery vehicles were being prohibited from stopping in the laneway when making deliveries to the retail tenants. It appears that delivery trucks for residential tenants were not bothered.
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The corporation, directors and manager brought a motion to strike the statement of claim on the basis that it did not disclose a reasonable cause of action. In other words, they argued that the claim against them could not stand in court and that it was certain to fail. On the issue of the claim of conspiracy (the most interesting one in the context of this article), they argued that for such a claim to be
LEGAL successful, the owner needed to demonstrate that the directors had agreed to unlawfully act with either the predominant purpose of injuring the owner or in a way where they should have known that injury would result. The owner argued, amongst other things, that directors interfered with the tenants’ use and enjoyment of the land (which they argued constituted nuisance) and that they committed an unlawful act for the predominant purpose of causing injury to the owner (through the interference with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property). The court’s decision It is important to note that the court did not decide whether these directors had in fact acted improperly or whether they had in fact conspired or intentionally interfered with the owner’s interests. This was a motion on pleadings only, where the court was asked to determine whether the claim was certain to fail or whether the claim should be permitted to proceed to trial. Still, it’s very interesting that the court concluded that condominium directors could be found liable of conspiracy (if the matter is properly pleaded and the facts support the allegations) on the sole basis that they are
involved in the operations of a condominium! Wow! There is a scary thought… For there to be an actionable tort of conspiracy, all that is required is that identifiable individuals (the directors) agree to cause financial injury either through an unlawful act or even through a lawful act where the predominant purpose is to financially injure the plaintiff… What is unsettling with this decision is that condo directors, by virtue of the fact that they must act on consensus, seem to be exposed to claims of conspiracy. By definition, board members always have to “agree” to something for a corporation to act. Lessons learned The standard of care expected of condo directors has not changed. Directors continue to be expected to act honestly and in good faith and must exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. Directors will also continue to benefit from a statutory protection when they rely in good faith on the advice of lawyers, public accountants, engineers and other persons whose profession lends credibility to the report or opinion they give.
It goes without saying that condo directors should act lawfully and that the predominant purpose of their actions should never be to cause someone injury (financial or otherwise). Finally, boards should act reasonably and should properly document the rationale for their decisions. 1 The preceding article first appeared on Condo Adviser.ca. It is reprinted here with permission. Rod Esc ayo l a h e a d s G owl i n g s’ Condominium Law Group. He is the editor of Gowlings’ condo law blog the Condo Adviser.ca. Rod is on the board of directors of the Ottawa chapter of CCI and is the co-editor of its quarterly magazine Condo Contact. He also sits on the board of directors of his own condominium c o r p o ra t i o n . R o d c o - f o u n d e d t h e Condo Directors Group, a not-for-profit org anization, providing a forum for condo directors to share knowledge and experience on a range of issues of common interest, through meetings and presentations by experts and service providers.
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2016-10-122016 2:12 PM www.REMInetwork.com | September 19
CROSSED W After being unable to secure access to three Liberty Village condominium buildings, an Internet service provider turned to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). What the CRTCâ€™s recent decision could mean for other communities BY MICHELLE ERVIN
www.REMInetwork.com | September 2016 21
Let a fourth telecommunications service provider in, or risk losing all Internet access. That was the headline version of an Aug. 15 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision concerning entry to a Liberty Village condominium corporation’s three buildings. In reality, the decision was more nuanced than that. The commission set out a series of increasing restrictions for the condominium corporation’s existing telecommunications service providers — also known as TSPs — that would begin to roll out within 60 days. In effect, the restrictions put pressure on the condominium corporation to negotiate reasonable terms and conditions for the
timely access of a fourth TSP to its buildings. The CRTC’s decision echoes two earlier rulings concerning TSPs in condominiums since the commission issued a landmark decision in 2003 spelling out guidelines for access to multi-dwelling units. Designed to support competition and end-user choice, the guidelines establish that, no matter their housing type, consumers should have their selection of TSP. “The decision makes clear that the CRTC wants to maximize consumer choice in multiple dwelling units,” said condominium lawyer Deborah Howden. “And even in circumstances where there are already three TSPs, the commission is going to
22 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
order that — subject to capacity or other discrete issues, which was something we raised — a corporation cannot deny timely access to other TSPs on reasonable terms and conditions.” Howden is a partner at Shibley Righton LLP, the firm that represented the condominium corporation in the latest case. Among other arguments, the corporation submitted that it lacked the capacity to accommodate a fourth TSP’s wiring. The corporation also submitted that it was already serviced by three TSPs and therefore offered residents their pick of competitors. The CRTC clearly disagreed that the presence of three TSPs satisfied its goals of competition and end-user choice. The commission also accepted the prospective TSP’s contention that there was in fact some capacity to accommodate its wiring. The CRTC largely gave the condominium corporation and the TSP the freedom to work out amongst themselves what reasonable terms and conditions of access would look like. However, the commission did establish a general framework. Reasonable terms and conditions of access would at least include letting the TSP extend its wiring from the street into the condominium corporation’s main terminal room. But considering that immediate access to all telecommunications closets in the buildings might unnecessarily disrupt residents — one of the concerns expressed by the condominium corporation — the TSP only needed to be permitted to build out its infrastructure to each floor incrementally, as residents requested service. Alongside this framework, the CRTC outlined deadlines that would trigger progressive restrictions on the condominium corporation’s existing TSPs. After 60 days, the corporation’s existing TSPs would be barred from servicing new customers, whether new to the building or new to the service provider. After 90 days, the corporation’s existing TSPs would be barred from changing or upgrading the services of existing customers. And after 120 days, the commission said it would consider its regulatory options. Those options include a decision that would prevent existing TSPs from servicing the building altogether and an order that would have the effect of compelling the corporation to grant the fourth TSP access. Robert Weinberg, president of the Association of Condominium Managers of
Ontario (ACMO), expressed concern as to how infrastructure limits would be practically addressed in light of the CRTC’s latest decision. “If the building is constructed with a specific diameter conduit to deliver telecommunications wiring throughout and it’s already jammed by three TSPs and you cannot fit in a fourth, what is the corporation to do?” he asked. “They cannot pull someone else’s wires out, and they are likely not going to want to demolish building assets or disrupt the owners’ quiet enjoyment of their units in order to run another conduit, so I don’t know how they’re planning to make this work.” Indeed, the latest CRTC decision may have raised more questions than it answered, and at a time when new players are trying to crack into the TSP market. “The field is getting crowded and you’re getting new telecommunications service providers popping up fairly regularly,” said Howden. “It used to be that you were dealing with Bell and Rogers; now you’re getting other players and I think there are a number of considerations that remain outstanding.”
For one, both the corporation and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which intervened in the case, called on the CRTC to look at clarifying whether condominium boards could be considered the end user with respect to the goal of enduser choice. PIAC is a group that is active on issues concerning the ability of consumers to access, afford and choose important public services, including telecommunications. Guidelines for the distribution of cable and satellite services in multi-dwelling units suggested that condominium boards could be considered the end user, since directors are elected to represent unit owners. “Previously when the commission had decided end user choice could be determined by the board, it had assumed that the board would represent the interests of the unit owners and those unit owners were the ones that were actually living in the units,” said Alysia Lau, legal counsel, PIAC. “A lot of these units are actually resided in by tenants, so the ability of the board in that case to determine what actual residents in the building might want might not be as clear cut anymore.”
The guidelines for the distribution of cable and satellite services were released shortly before the guidelines for TSPs and largely align with them. The two sets of guidelines are separated simply because broadcasting and telecommunications are dealt with by two different pieces of legislation. While the latest CRTC decision implied that the condominium board may not be considered the end user, it remains a grey area in Howden’s view, because the commission didn’t explicitly say one way or the other. Up to now, TSP access may not be an issue many condominium boards have c onfronte d . Buil d ers nor m all y negotiate access to new buildings with at least one TSP during construction so Internet service is available to residents at occupancy. “From what we’ve seen, the developer has already entered into an access agreement with Bell or Rogers, or both, and it’s usually both so as not to exclude anybody,” said Weinberg. “I am not personally aware of buildings that are initially set up with a third alternative.”
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“What is undecided is what
happens when there is no capacity.
Are we going to have 10 and 12 and 25 telecom service providers?” But that could change as new players enter the TSP market. The condominium buildings rising in Toronto are an attractive entry point, Lau observed. “The cost is less risky for companies such as Beanfield and Coextro in a condo because you have negotiated with a developer and, when you build out your infrastructure, you automatically have access to 20 floors of units,” she said. “It’s different from building out to a home.” Two earlier CRTC decisions concerning entry to multi-dwelling units were between builders and a TSP. In the pair of cases from 2013 and 2015, a TSP filed applications after being unable to access two new developments in Toronto. In the earlier case,
only one TSP already had an agreement in place to service the condominium. In the more recent case, two TSPs already had agreements in place. For their part, the builders in both cases contended that the condominium board could elect to enter into agreements with additional providers after turnover. But the commission, in imposing conditions as it did in the latest case, commented that residents wouldn’t be able to access the competing TSP upon moving into their units. These decisions might stop builders from punting questions of TSP access to condominium boards when requests come in before turnover. But for those that don’t, there is uncertainty around what would
constitute a legitimate technical reason for denying access to additional TSPs. “What is undecided is what happens when there is no capacity,” said Howden. “Are we going to have 10 and 12 and 25 telecom service providers? That remains an open question.” 1
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Fighting back against excessive closing costs First purchasers of condominium units a re sometimes shocked by the extra costs
BY MEGAN MACKEY
that are charged
at closing. Agreements of purchase and sale often allow condominium
developers to recover a variety of costs directly from purchasers. Often these extra costs are collected for things that one might assume were part of the purchase price. For example, developers could collect the cost of installing hydro meters, traffic lights, new sidewalks or even fencing by adding these additional construction costs to the purchase price at closing. Developers can recover construction costs and other expenses by hiding these costs in the “fine print.” These extra costs are
referred to in the agreements of purchase and sale as “adjustments.” Adjustments are charged on top of the purchase price that buyers agreed to pay for their units. These charges can typically exceed $10,000 on the purchase of a modestly priced condominium unit. Adjustments have the effect of increasing the purchase price and result in purchasers paying more for their condominium units
26 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
than anticipated at the time of purchase. This practice is legal and commonplace. It is easy for developers to use these charges as a way to recover costs at closing; perhaps a little too easy. Developers of larger condominium projects can collect hundreds of thousands of dollars by adding these “adjustments” to every purchase. Developers can and have abused the system. While it is impossible to estimate
the amount of monies purchasers have paid as “adjustments,” it is reasonable to suspect that this is a lucrative source of revenue for developers. When challenged on these questionable charges, developers may remove them or insist on payment. In the latter situation, purchasers are often forced to pay questionable or improper “adjustments” because failure to do so may result in the purchaser being threatened with the legal consequences of breaching a purchase agreement. Sometimes the only way for purchasers to dispute these adjustments is to pay the money and sue the developer after closing. Legal recourse The article author’s firm recently acted for a group of purchasers who believed the adjustments charged by their developer were improper. Purchasers each paid $2,466.58 as an “adjustment” on closing for the installation of a meter to measure the water consumption in their residential units. While the agreements of purchase and sale permitted the developer to recover the
cost of installing individual water meters, these meters were not installed. It is estimated that the developer collected close to half a million dollars for meters that had never been installed. In order to recover the charges for water meters, the firm commenced a number of small claims court actions against the developer on behalf of this group. The lawsuits were heard together in a single trial. The judge found that the water meter charges were improper because the developer had not installed them. The developer was ordered to reimburse each purchaser who participated in the lawsuit for the water meter “adjustment” that appeared on their statements of adjustments. Note: A lawsuit to recover $2,500 is not cost-effective. In this case, the clients were able to maintain their lawsuit because a number of purchasers came together to sue the developer, which permitted them to share the legal costs. Unit owners who believe that their developer may have claimed adjustments that were not permitted by their agreement
of purchase and sale should speak to their neighbours and, if it seems appropriate to do so, organize a town hall meeting to discuss a group legal action. In litigation, there is often strength in numbers. Under the current Condominium Act, collecting adjustments is perfectly legal as long as the adjustments were disclosed in the purchase agreement. Purchasers should not, however, be complacent and assume every adjustment is valid. It is recommended that unit owners who have purchased directly from the builder review their statements of adjustments carefully in order to see if there are any charges that seem inappropriate or do not make sense. Lawsuits such as the one cited above care usually initiated by one diligent purchaser. 1 The p rec ed ing artic le is re p rinte d with permission from the June 2016 MTCondoLaw newsletter. Megan Mackey is a partner at Miller Thomson LLP.
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FYI: The owner information meeting At some point in its life, a condominium corporation is likely
BY SHLOMO SHARON
to face issues in which the owners want to have their say or at least be made aware of. These events can include changes to the corporationâ€™s assets, bylaws, common elements or services. They can also include litigation and special assessments.
28 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
In most of these cases, any decisions are up to the board of directors, but it may be helpful for the corporation to communic ate with owners in the interest of transparency and let owners express their opinions. In addition, it may avoid surprising owners, which can lead to a backlash. One way the board of directors can do this is by c alling an information meeting and inviting all the owners to attend. It is also common to invite p rofe s s i o n a l s s u c h a s c o nt r a c to r s , engineers or law yers that the corporation has hired to help in the matter at hand. To prepare for the meeting , send a notice to all owners advising them of the d ate, time and p l a c e of the information meeting, the subject matter and the financial or physical implications it may have for the corporation and owners. Also, let them know who else is going to at tend and speak at the
meeting — in addition to members of the board of directors and any guests such as the professionals named before. Provide relevant financial information in the notice, too. If there is no cost implication to the corporation or owners, as in a situation where the ser vice prov id er is und er t ak ing the cost, say so in bold text in the notice. However, if a cost will be incurred, provide owners with the details. The notice should also state that the information meeting is just that — for information — and will not require the ow ners to vote. A lthough, in some cases, the owners need to be made aware of their right to requisition an owners meeting — for example, if the corporation intends to make an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements, or a change in the assets or services of the corporation. In that case, the notice of the information m e etin g sh o ul d info r m the ow ne r s of what sections 4 6 and 97(3) of the Condominium Act require. E s senti all y, the c or p oration must inform owners of the proposed addition, alteration or improvement along with i t s c o s t s a n d h ow t h e c o r p o r a t i o n plans to cover them. That information must be delivered in a notice that also explains and includes section 46, which gives owners the right to requisition a meeting within 30 days of its receipt if they can collect signatures representing at least 15 per cent of the corporation’s stakeholders. The addition, alteration or improvement can only proceed if owners do not requisition a meeting in the prescribed timeframe, or if the owners do not vote down the
addition, alteration or improvement at a requisitioned meeting. It’s recommended that a “Code of Conduct” be attached to the meeting notice to establish ground rules. Also p ro v i d e t i m e fo r q u e s t i o n s i n t h e agenda. In preparing for the meeting, board members should put themselves in the shoes of the owners, so that they are ready to address any questions. However, the board should not hesitate to recognize that sometimes the answer will not be readily available and they should commit to providing the answer within a reasonable time. Have extra copies of the notice on hand at the meeting in case an owner has misplaced theirs. The more information is communicated to the owners in a clear, precise and accurate way, the more likely the information meeting will be a success. Af ter the meeting, don’t forget to follow up with owners with a summary of what occurred. 1 S hlo mo S h aro n is the C EO of Taft Management.
Find more governance tips at
www.REMInetwork.com | September 2016 29
Four ways to allocate thermal energy use In Canada, energ y conscious communities are expanding their
BY DUSTIN INGRAM
use of thermal energ y systems for heating and cooling buildings. One challenge with these systems is the question of how to effectively measure and bill end users for thermal energy consumption.
30 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
If residents are confident in the accuracy of the consumption data, they will be more confident in the costs reflected on their bill.
developing their standards for thermal energy measurement. The United States and China are basing their regulations off of the wellestablished and recognized European and international standards. In Canada, the four main methodologies for measuring and/or allocating end consumer usage of thermal energy are: 1. Thermal energy sub-metering 2. Inferred measurement or run time measurement 3. Ratio utility billing systems (RUBS) 4. No metering or measurement
T he C anadian market sees growing d e m a n d fo r s u b - m e te r i n g t h e r m a l energy and appears to be following recommendations from groups, such as The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, who have recommended thermal submetering as a means to achieve energy conservation and cost control. Unlike other utilities such as electricity and gas, there are currently no federal regulatory standards in Canada regarding thermal energy measurement. Measurement Canada has indicated it will follow already established European and international thermal metering standards EN1434 and OIML R75 and that it is committed to implementing a standard, as per its Trade Sector Review. O ther international jurisdictions have either developed or are currently
What follows are descriptions of each of these measurement options, along with some of their pros and cons. 1. Thermal energy submetering Similar to a utility-level thermal energy meter, a thermal energy sub-meter comprises a flow meter, supply and return temperature sensors and a BTU calculator. Approved meter components should meet relevant standards for accuracy and configuration. A well - designed and deployed submetering architecture properly measures the end userâ€™s energy consumption and its cost. If residents are confident in the accuracy of the consumption data, they will be more confident in the costs reflected on their bill. Complying with thermal meter regulations, such as EN1434, will also lead to increased confidence in measuring equipment and resulting data.
There are also multiple ways to trace data. For example, the resident can read the register of the meter, which often displays consumption in kWh equivalent. Moving beyond that, newer communications protocols allow for real-time data reporting from the meter to accessible, web-based resident engagement portals. Further, this software allows residents to access their energy consumption profiles, billing history and tips for conservation. This is critical for conservation efforts supported by a utility, municipality or private sub-metering provider. Although typically more expensive, thermal submetering has become more affordable in the Canadian market. As well, financing and long-term strategic contract options with qualified submetering companies can help reduce financial deterrents. As the technology gains acceptance, it continues to grow. This year, nearly four million meters will be deployed worldwide. Sub-metering is the most accurate form of measurement; however, retrofit projects remain difficult. 2. Inferred thermal energy measurement or run time measurement Inferred thermal energy measurement (also called run time measurement) uses a combination of measurements, assumptions and hardware performance factors indicated by manufacturers. These methodologies may vary between suppliers; however, they share two main principles:
www.REMInetwork.com | September 2016 31
• The system will measure or assume A nother assumption of inferred apportioning fees based on an arbitrary set temperature at one or several locations measurement may be that the factory of energy-related variables, such as number for the entire building. settings and performance of system of residents, square footage, number of • T h e s y s t e m w i l l a s s u m e f l o w hardware are as stated by the manufacturer fan coil units, etc. RUBS assumes constant characteristics based on a combination and will stay the same for the lifetime of consumption behaviors by all residents. o f i n p u t s s u c h a s h a r d w a r e equipment. This is particularly highlighted RUBS is a very simple and low-cost way performance factors, run time and when making assumptions about flow, as of measuring and allocating thermal energy valve positions. the flow of the medium (e.g. water) is equally costs. However, since it does not account for This type of measurement may have a as significant as the temperature readings. any variation among end users, it provides lower initial cost than submetering and will There is no meter data to prove to the no financial incentive for an end user to enable billing of an end user’s consumption resident that their invoice reflects what conserve energy. in a fairer manner than not measuring at all. they consumed. It’s also more difficult to However, inferred measurement makes track the history of equipment calibration or 4. No metering or measurement assumptions in key areas to calculate manufacturer when multiple components, In the past, the most common approach to consumption. often from multiple manufacturers, are used allocating thermal energy was to divide the In some cases, inferred measurement to create a reading. total utility bill by the total amount of square uses the time the thermal system is on There are no available or recognized feet in a property, and then apportion the as an input. This assumes that when standards to reference for inferred bill based on respective suite sizes. This the system is on, it is operating at full measurement systems, as they are method comes with relatively low costs to capacity. Certainly this assumption is not proprietary. In addition, using an inferred the developer or building operator and is COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS INNOVATION RESULTS always valid. measurementEFFICIENCY system ties a condominium easy to manage. There is no measurement Infer re d me asurement may also corporation or building owner to the supplier of actual consumption at the resident assume consistent temperature of the indefinitely for services and maintenance. level, so this option does little to promote DRIVEN BY CORE VALUES heating and cooling fluid throughout the conservation efforts. building, and that all equipment, such as fan 3. Ratio utility billing systems (RUBS) Utility costs are most often lumped into SOLUTIONS EFFICIENCY INNOVATION RESULTS coils, is operating efficiently COMMUNICATION and identically RUBS is a billing practice where the the general operating costs of a building, and DRIVEN BY CORE VALUES in each suite. property owner recovers utility costs by then accounted for in rising condominium
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fees. The optics of high fees is certainly a concern for developers and members of the real estate industry. Since invoicing individual users for their utility consumption lowers condominium fees, properties that do not measure and bill end users for energy are at a disadvantage. User-pays systems also help building owners decrease the risks associated with escalating energy costs. To minimize potential risks in investments, there are four critical factors developers and other stakeholders must consider when selecting a thermal energy measurement option for their project: • Will the measurement methodology selected meet current and future regulations within Canada? • Is the methodology used by more mature thermal energy markets, such as Europe? • Can the methodology stand up to scrutiny if end-users dispute their bills? What international standards or hardware can they be directed to to ease their concerns? • Will the methodology be delivered by a provider who will correctly specify, deploy, manage and bill from the system in the long run?
User-pays systems help building owners decrease the risks associated with escalating energy costs.
The adoption of thermal energy systems will continue to grow in Canada since they offer considerable cost efficiency and conservation benefits to all stakeholders. As with the other utilities, thermal energy will need to move toward a measurement standard that will allocate and bill for accurate and equitable costs in a userpays system. 1 Dustin Ingram is manager of business development at QMC. He is a Project Management Professional and has held a leadership position in the submetering industry since 2011. He and QMC have established
an expert level of industry knowledge through strategic international partnerships and training in thermal measurement. He has presented at the International District Energy Association and is a member of the ASTM sub-committee for developing a heat meter standard for the US EPA. Dustin can be reached at email@example.com. The preceding article is excerpted with permission from the QMC white paper “Thermal Energy Metering: Regulations and Best Practices for the Canadian Market.” The white paper is available in its entirety on the QMC website, www.qmeters.com.
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The inside scoop on dog waste Dogs have become a common BY NATHAN HELDER sign on the grounds of apa r t ment bu i ld i ng s a nd condom i n iu ms.
Consequently, so has dog waste. Since it is unlikely that doggie rest rooms will become a standard amenity any time soon, it is no surprise that conflicts among residents and property managers over uncollected waste are a regular occurrence.
34 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
However, a proactive approach to pet w a s te m a n a g e m e nt c a n l e a ve p et o w n e r s , te n a nt s a n d m a n a g e m e nt h a p p y. B y p r o m o t i n g r e s p o n s i b l e pet ow nership and creating a clear waste policy, property managers can effectively control the otherwise stinky situation. Waste can be hazardous to residents and property Dog droppings can do more than just look and smell unpleasant — it can transmit bacteria and viruses, including roundworm and E. coli, to residents and visitors. The uncollected waste also poses a higher threat to young children on the premises. Beyond the dangers that waste can pose to residents, it can also make a pro p er t y lo ok unkempt. Far from being a ‘natural fertilizer’, dog waste that is left on a yard for long periods of t im e c a n re su l t in g r a s s b u r ns , which are yellow patches or completed dead areas of lawn. T hese sections are unsightl y and c an le ad to p o or curb appeal, which is a turn of f for prospective residents. Property management means pet waste management To tackle pet waste, some proper t y m a n a g e r s a re l o o k i n g to hi g h - te c h solutions. Companies have formed that specialize in matching the un - scoop poop to the guilt y pup through DN A testing. Af ter signing up, the proper t y manager collects saliva samples from all dogs on the premises using swabs, and sends them off to the laboratory. Then, if the manager repeatedly finds piles of waste on the grounds, they are able to take a sample and send it to the lab. After testing, the waste is matched to the offending dog — and the offending resident. The manager can then speak with the pet owner, and enforce the existing policy found in the lease or condominium rules. S o m e c o m p a n i e s t h a t of fe r t h i s ser vice claim that this strategy can reduce waste left on-site by as much as 75 per cent.
However, property managers do not need labs and scientists to cut down on the amount of un - sc o o p e d d o g waste; specialized waste bins and bag dispensers placed around the property can also do the trick. A property manager would need to calculate the number of dogs on -site and ensure that enough bins are available to accommodate ever yone. Managers should not place bins out of sight; rather, they should inst all them in strategic locations in order to encourage use. Property managers should then walk their building’s grounds at least once a month, reviewing all aspects of the proper t y’s ex terior and look for any problem areas. They should also ensure that bins are emptied on a weekly basis (at minimum) to prevent odours and over-filling. Another important factor in reducing the amount of un-scooped waste is to open the lines of communication among residents. Management should have waste contractors come to their annual general meetings in order to speak directly with unit owners or tenants, offer tips and address any recurring problems or concerns. Proper t y managers can also send out notices and flyers to residents that outline updates to the property’s waste program, remind residents of the pet policies, and make occupants feel engaged with the building’s community. Not just anyone can transfer pet waste off site O n c e d o g w a s te i s c o ll e c te d i n a garbage bag, there is still the issue of removing it from the premises. While one bag of dog poop may not seem like a lot, the waste from an entire community can add up quickly over the course of a week. In high - rise multi- residential buildings, getting rid of waste is simple: management can ensure that the bags are thrown in the dumpster where the property’s waste contractor can later remove it. But in some situations, namely townhouse condos where there are no communal dumpsters onsite, managing
the community’s outdoor garbage bins can be more difficult. Some property managers insist that their landscape contractor empt y all outdoor trash and garbage bins in the complex. However, not all contractors are able to do so without violating the province’s regulations. A c c o rd in g to D a r re n St r a c h a n of A c o r n W a s te S e r v i c e, t h e O nt a r i o Ministr y of the Environment requires c o m p anies th at t ake p ar t in waste transpor tation to file with Ontario’s Environment al Registr y. C omp anies also have to mark the vehicles used to transport waste with their registration n u m b e r, a n d h a v e a t m i n i m u m $ 2,0 0 0,0 0 0 liabilit y coverage. A s a result, a typical handy man or landscape contractor may not meet these re q uirement s an d therefo re c ann ot remove any waste. In this case, management can form par tnerships with a nearby licensed waste service that specializes in picking up pet waste and other garbage. The pro p er t y m anag er c an then outline their specific needs, and work with the specialists to decide upon a regular removal schedule. Uncollected dog waste can af fect everyone living in a community. It not only damages tenants’ quality of life, but it can harm a building’s ability to at tract new residents. T his is why proper t y managers have to take the issue seriously and prevent poop buildup from getting out of hand. An effective pet paste strategy can keep the building clean, and the residents — and managers — happy. 1 Nathan H el d er is the p resid ent of Gelderman Landscape Services. He has more than 35 years of experience in the industry and specializes in servicing condominiums throughout the province. Helder is a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute, the Association of Condominium Managers and Landscape Ontario. He can be reached at nhelder@ gelderman.com or 1-905-689-5433. The preceding article originally appeared in the Sept. 2013 issue of Canadian Property Management: GTA & Beyond.
www.REMInetwork.com | September 2016 35
36 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
Electromagnetic fields: Concerns, guidelines and solutions Like a victorious
BY AMANDA JEFFS
game of Tetris, a successful condominium project leaves no inch of space unutilized, keeping a tight budget under control and maximizing efficiency for its occupants. When laying out, say, a condominium tower, there are some obvious, and not so obvious, design criteria. For example, a potentially loud, high occupancy social room would not be located next to a two bedroom suite. Similarly, the large swimming pool probably won’t be placed beside the building conference room. But, what about the quiet electrical room? Electricity usage is an integral part of everyday life. As a result, electrical closets and feeders are omnipresent on most floors of every condominium development. However, wherever there is electricity flowing, there is also a magnetic field circling its path. Magnetic fields are invisible, and easily pass through all building materials, diminishing in strength only with distance. Not only do they exist within buildings, but they exist outdoors as well. Transmission lines, with their associated magnetic fields, run alongside streets and, sometimes, directly through housing developments. Health concerns The potential health effects of magnetic fields emanating from electrical rooms, feeders, transmission lines and hydro corridors have raised questions for some time. In 2005, the World Health Organization
(WHO) asked a task group of scientific experts to assess these concerns and evaluate any risks resulting from short- and long-term exposure to power frequency magnetic fields. Further, epidemiological studies on longterm exposure risks from extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields suggests a link between increased occurrence of childhood leukaemia and field exposure as low as five milligauss (mG). In 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report which classified ELF magnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Guidelines and policies Presently, there are no provincial or federal standards that aim to limit human exposure to power-frequency magnetic fields. However, a Health Canada guideline known
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as Safety Code 6 does just that at federally regulated sites. Informed by scientific studies, it puts a safety cap on human exposure to radio frequency (RF) EMFs spanning from three kilohertz to 300 gigahertz. In an effort to address the concerns stemming from epidemiological studies, many jurisdictions around the world have established guidelines, including the City of Toronto. The City of Toronto’s prudent avoidance policy mandates limiting children’s exposure to EMF in public places in the vicinity of hydro corridors with transmission lines to less than four mG. Prudent avoidance is designed to reduce human exposure to ELF magnetic fields with moderately priced measures. When private developers propose plans for recreational facilities or developments within or adjacent to electrical transmission corridors, the City of Toronto’s initiative requires these developers to include in their application an EMF management plan, which is then assessed by Toronto Public Health. An EMF management plan analyzes any existing EMF sources and any future changes in the present conditions. Then, the developer can take actions to reduce EMF exposure in high field areas identified during the analysis stage. Mitigation strategies Many EMF concerns can be addressed, and usually are, during the design stage. Floor layout arrangements and space utilization can be modified to mitigate high field exposure situations. A design stage mitigation effort is the most cost efficient, as the critical high occupancy areas such as bedrooms or playgrounds can sometimes be relocated away from the source of EMF radiation. However, this effort is quite often in direct contradiction with the effort to maximize space utilization. (Remember that game of Tetris?) When it’s impractical to relocate critical areas, electromagnetic shielding can be used to mitigate field exposure. Classical electromagnetic shielding effectively eliminates magnetic field radiation from sources that are enclosed in rooms, or closets, where there are available surfaces on which to mount it. This greatly reduces the fringe field radiating outside the enclosure into public areas. This method cannot be used, for example, on windows or in open areas. In such situations, an active shielding system is the only available alternative.
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Active shielding involves creating a protected zone using a cage made up of coils. A controller sends a current into the coils and produces an opposite, negative magnetic field. The fields effectively cancel each other out. Due to its large-scale flexibility, active shielding systems can also be used to shield entire buildings from the magnetic field radiated by hydro corridors and transmission lines. Whether passive or active, shielding eliminates Lionheart_Condo_March_2016_FINAL.pdf the need to relocate an entire building or replace desired room space. A
functional shielding design gives architects and developers the flexibility to design and allocate space as they please. The condominium industry is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, especially as citizens and policy makers vocalize their concern for sustainability and desire for healthy living environment – including one that is free from magnetic fields. If this is the direction the industry is headed, what about existing buildings? surveys conducted on 1Electromagnetic 2016-03-14 10:06 AM site can provide immediate insight to the
scope of electromagnetic field radiation contained in an existing structure. With this knowledge, condo boards and property managers can first look at relocating rooms with specific occupancy types, such as children’s playgrounds or recreational rooms. If relocation isn’t feasible, it’s possible to introduce electromagnetic shielding solutions in existing buildings. As developers strive to maximize space utilization, they must balance cost considerations with safety and sustainability. Given the health concerns, federal guidelines and municipal policies associated with electromagnetic fields, it’s important to consider mitigation strategies at condominiums new and old. Implementing effective solutions gives residents and visitors peace of mind that they are protected from potentially harmful electromagnetic fields (without sacrificing that record-breaking Tetris score). 1 Amanda Jeffs is operations and sales manager at C - INTECH, a company that designs, manufactures and installs electromagnetic shielding systems.
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Is your condo electric car-ready? Tesla recently announced that it plans to introduce Model 3, with
BY GERARD GRANSAULL
a range of 345 kilometres and a sticker price of less than $35,000. That puts it roughly on par with the range and cost stats for General Motor’s Bolt. This may signal an imminent tipping point for the electric car market, when it expands from the early adopters to the general population. Today’s Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and BMW i3 owners represent but a tiny fraction of the purchasers of passenger cars sold in North America. But the appeal of emission-free, quiet, personal transport with usable range at an affordable price will be hard to resist. Of course, whether or not an EV is actually “green” depends entirely on the cleanliness of the utility grid from which it is charged. But this article won’t get into that. Suffice it to say that Ontario’s grid is “clean” from an air emissions standpoint, so EVs do make sense. Of course, one of the fundamental perks of owning an electric vehicle is that it can be refueled while it’s parked at home with relatively simple modifications to the home’s infrastructure — the installation of a charging station. Many new condominiums are built with this in mind, and so the charging equipment and capacity is in place. This could pose a problem for existing condos, however, which will face some not-so-simple considerations such as: • Where in the garage or on the property will the charging stations be located? • Who will pay for the charging stations to be installed?
• With multiple stations charging cars simultaneously, will the building’s electrical service be able to handle the load?
FUN FACT How long have electric cars been around? Ten, 20, 30 years or more? I t m ay c o m e a s a su r p r i s e to learn that the first prototype of an electric car was created around 1834! Yes, electric cars have been around for more than 175 years. In fact, electric vehicles (EVs) held all vehic le l and sp ee d re c ord s until about 19 0 0. O f course, it is only within the last 20 years or so that the concept has been given serious at tention by the automotive industry.
T he l e g a l , p o l i t i c a l a n d l o g i s t i c a l considerations of adding EV infrastructure to a condominium are significant, and require in-depth treatment, more than this space will allow. Luckily, there is an excellent document produced by several important stakeholders including the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) and World Wildlife Fund (W WF). It’s highly recommended reading and available here: https://plugndrive.ca/condo. Now, on to the capacity issue. While planning for a new condo building, the electrical designer can factor in the demand for power for EV charging into her calculations, so available power is not a concern. For existing buildings, however, the capacity of the electrical supply may need close consideration. Of particular concern are buildings older than about 30 years, whose systems may be nearing capacity already with the increase in people’s personal power needs with the advance of modern life. No one had four different chargers under their bedside table in 1986! So how much power will the electric car charger draw? While there are multiple EV models, the Society of Automotive Engineers
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created a standard plug-in nozzle (the J-1772) that will charge all EVs regardless of manufacturer, for the foreseeable future. There are two levels of charging capacity. The portable charge station uses a standard household outlet (120 volts) and uses the portable cable that comes with the EV. This has a low current draw, but takes much longer to fully charge the car. The fast charge uses the special plug (or a standard stove block) and charges at 208/240 volts, and so draws more current. Simultaneous current draw is what strains a building’s electrical service. Once plugged in, each EV will charge differently, but on average the power demand while charging will be about four to 10 kilowatts (kW). This is roughly equal to the power required to run three to seven hair dryers at once, which is not trivial. In the case of the Tesla S, the draw could be as high as 20 kW, or an entire salon’s worth of hair dryers! Fortunately, most buildings tend to have at least some excess electrical capacity in their system. One way to assess how much power a condo building has needed over its history is to review its electrical bills. Users are charged both on energy consumed (kW) and peak demand. While the consumption (in kW) is interesting, the key metric is the demand, the measure of how much electricity is required at once. So, adding space for a few EVs is not likely to be a big problem. Typically, this will involve using a spare location in the main electrical switchgear to add an “EV Loads” disconnect (or adding a fused switch to the side of the gear). This will normally need to supply power to an “EV Transformer,” which will reduce voltage to power
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differently, but on average the power demand will be about four to 10 kilowatts – or roughly equal to the power required to run three to seven hair dryers at once. a 208-volt breaker panel. Most electrical rooms will have enough space for this minimal additional gear. Cables will then be run from the panelboard to the desired locations of the charger blocks. The capacit y issue gets murkier, however, with each additional request for EV installation, or if the corporation is considering a one-time installation of a bank of charging stations. In these cases, it would be prudent for the corporation to have an electrical engineer investigate the building’s available capacity. There are two basic possible outcomes to this exercise. The first outcome is that there is enough juice available for what is planned, in which case, the corporation is off and running! The second outcome, if the engineer deems the power system undersized to support the planned EV loads, is the possibility of freeing up some power by reducing the usage from other systems. This could be the perfect incentive to: • Replace inefficient incandescent (which includes halogen) lamps in the common
areas, or replace T12s in the stairwells or garage. • Add variable frequency drives (VFDs) to large fans or pumps, including the water booster pumps. • Replace the electric whirlpool heater with gas. The term incentive is used literally here as there remain attractive rebates for energy reduction projects from various utilities. The consultant will be able to point out opportunities. Any big changes to the building’s power system will require a building permit, so design drawings will need to be submitted. The corporation’s first step in most cases will be to hire an engineering firm to review the site, assess the existing system, perform load calculations and prepare the specifications and drawings. For large jobs, it is beneficial for the consultant to also tender the work to pre-approved contractors, analyze the bids and recommend the contract recipient. If the required power increase cannot be fully offset by reductions elsewhere,
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the service from the main transformer may need to be increased. If the transformer is big enough, this will involve running new cables to the main electrical room, requiring at least one new switchgear, and most likely one new in-room transformer. If the main transformer is not big enough, the power upgrade will the transformer itself to be enlarged. Neither will be cheap, so the corporation should get initial estimates in order to make a decision. An older, marginal capacity service w i l l eve n t u a l l y re q u i re u p g r a d i n g anyway, possibly at the normal end-oflife replacement of the main electrical equipment. The EV project may be the right time to bite the bullet and make the switch. The reserve fund covers the replacement of main electrical infrastructure. Making a building’s electrical system EV-ready might be an important step on the road to future-proofing condominiums as these cars become more mainstream. 1
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Rise of short-term rentals breeds pest risks The number of Airbnb listings in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary has grown by 140 per
BY DR. ALICE SINIA
cent since 2015, according to a report released by HLT Advisor y and Ryerson University. Travel research firm Phocuswright also found that one in three leisure travelers used private accommodations instead of hotels in 2015. Thatâ€™s up from one in 10 in 2011.
44 CONDOBUSINESS | Part of the REMI Network
While short-term rental companies such as Airbnb can benefit both hosts and budgetconscious travelers seeking a unique experience, the home-sharing model is far from perfect. With the growing popularity of such companies, there is an increasing risk to property managers and owners that their frequent visitors are also bringing unwanted pest pressures. High occupancy rates increase the chances of introducing pests into a host’s property. Bed bugs, for example, have proven themselves to be great hitchhikers, often able to enter unnoticed via luggage and other personal belongings. That means bed bugs can literally appear overnight. Once inside, they can rapidly multiply before ever making themselves known. They are most active at night, so it can be weeks before bed bugs are spotted and quickly become an issue. Even though they are not known to spread human diseases, bed bugs remain one of the most feared pests. Early detection is key to preventing a fullblown bed bug infestation and there are certain measures hosts can take to help protect themselves and their property. In buildings where short-term rentals are allowed, condominium board members and property managers can share the following prevention tips with owners: 1. Protect Bed bugs are most active within a two-metre radius of the bed, so hosts should avoid mounting objects such as pictures, clocks and posters in that area. Hosts should also consider investing in mattress and box spring encasements to help protect from infestation and to detect if bed bugs are introduced. As is good practice for any unit available for rent, hosts should remove all unnecessary clutter within the condo and make sure furniture is in good condition, free of tears and holes. This will help discourage bed bug activity and eliminates more hiding places. 2. Inspect It’s recommended that hosts do a thorough visual inspection of their property after each guest’s stay. Keeping in mind that bed bugs are very skilled at hiding during the day time,
they should examine furniture, mattress seams and bed sheets, as well as behind baseboards, electrical outlets and picture frames for bed-bug activity. Bed bugs can also leave behind ink-like stains or molting skins, so hosts should look for these signs of activity on mattress tags and seams, between or underneath furniture cushions and behind headboards. Lastly, hosts may want to talk to a pest management professional about installing bed bug monitors. Even with the necessary precautions, bed bugs can still be hard to detect; their eggs are only the size of two grains of table salt. They are also commonly mistaken for booklice, small cockroaches, swallow bugs or carpet beetles. With the high turnover and occupancy rates within the industry, hosts may want to consider having a pest management provider assess for bed bugs and other pests at least once a quarter. However, be sure to immediately consult a trained professional if bed-bug activity is suspected. If bed bugs are present, a pest management professional can offer an opinion on whether the pest activity was recently introduced or stems from a longterm infestation. The issue will need to be isolated and treated right away. This is especially important given the close vicinity of condos, as bed bug infestations can easily spread from one unit to the next through electrical wiring, wall voids and plumbing. Typically, short-term rental companies investigate complaints and oftentimes refund guest payment for any significant pest
issues. Affected property listings need to be removed from rental websites for about two weeks — or longer if the situation remains unresolved. This can result in not only negative reviews, but a loss of income for hosts. Even though many of these companies want to stay on top of customer concerns, A i r b n b a n d t h e i r c o m p e t i to r s a re not required to comply with the same standards and regulations of safety and sanitation as the hotel industry. Groups such as Fairbnb are currently lobbying for greater regulation of short-term rental companies, which may have pest control implications in the future. For now, the issue of bed bugs and other pests plaguing the travel and tourism industry cannot be swept under the rug. These pesky, transient pests are a real threat in condominiums where shortterm rentals occur. 1 Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada focusing on government re g u l ati o n s p e r ta i n i n g to th e p e st control industry. With more than 15 ye a rs of exp e ri e n c e, s he m a n a g e s the Quality Assurance Laboratory for Orkin Canada and performs analytical e n t o m o l o g y a s w e l l a s p ro v i d e s technical support in pest/insect identific ation to branc h offic es and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orkincanada.com.
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Diversions The City of Toronto is challenging apartment and condominium dwellers to reduce the amount of garage they have trucked off to landfills Who will sweep up in the Mayor’s Towering Waste Challenge? That remains to be seen as the competition between apartment and condominium buildings in Toronto to reduce the amount of garbage that they have trucked off to landfills begins this month.
The challenge comes as the City of Toronto makes efforts to preserve the capacity of Green Lane Landfill, with a target of diverting 70 per cent of waste. Waste is also the third largest contributor to the municipality’s greenhouse gas emissions, at 11 per cent, which puts it behind only buildings and transportation.
Registered buildings will compete to lower their garbage output and raise their diversion rate over the course of six months. At the end of the contest, the City of Toronto will acknowledge the most successful participants at a ceremony in the spring.
The challenge has been touted as not only an environmental campaign, but also as a way to save money, since garbage pickup comes with a price tag while waste diversion is free. Participants will have access to resources and support from Solid Waste Management Services staff. Recycling, organics, electronics, oversize items, household hazardous waste and yard waste pickup are also available to buildings that get collection service through the City.
The challenge targets tower-dwelling residents, who divert less than a third of their waste (27 per cent) from landfills. They significantly underperform single-family home owners, who divert close to two-thirds of their waste (65 per cent) from landfills.
“Each building can tailor its program to make them most effective for the building’s residents,” said Coun. Jaye Robinson, chair of the public works and infrastructure committee, in a news release announcing the challenge. “Whether it’s recruiting volunteer 3Rs Ambassadors or organizing a used-item exchange, if every building can do a little bit more, there will be a significant impact on overall waste reduction.” For more information, visit www.toronto.ca/toweringchallenge.
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