F O R B U I L D I N G O W N E R S , A S S E T A N D P R O P E R T Y M A N AG E R S
VOL. 26 NO. 5 â€¢ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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IN THIS ISSUE
APPROVAL PROCESS ADJUSTMENTS PENDING
Ontario promises streamlined permitting for combined heat and power systems
Gen Z voices discontent with workplace environments
GEN Z-FRIENDLY CITIES GREET RISING COHORT
Toronto race2reduce on pace to energysaving target
SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP Oxford Properties Group, BentallGreenOak and Brookfield Properties noted for pushing green agenda forward
Toronto makes global top-five list, but with a cost premium
“I SUPPORT A STREAMLINED PROCESS, BUT NOT A WEAKENING OF EMISSIONS STANDARDS THAT'S UNSUPPORTED BY SCIENCE.” MICHAEL LITHGOW, MANAGER, ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE, SUNNYBROOK HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE
Ontario promises streamlined permitting for combined heat and power systems BY BARBARA CARSS
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t's still unclear how the process of securing environmental approvals for combined heat and power (CHP) systems will be streamlined, but the Ontario government's recent pledge has been greeted enthusiastically in the buildings sector. Property and facilities managers are typically pressed to navigate daunting complexities in pursuit of the potential energy savings and backup contingency that CHP (also known as cogeneration) can deliver. "We went through two approval processes for cogeneration systems installed at condominiums we manage and they were pretty painful," recalls Rob Detta Colli, Manager of Energy and Sustainability for Crossbridge Condominium Services. "A cogeneration system is a very good fit for some condominiums so I'd welcome an effort to streamline those approvals." That intention was announced in a list of initiatives associated with Bill 132, the proposed Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, omnibus legislation introduced in late October to amend or repeal dozens of provincial statutes. However, because the promised action will occur through a regulation, which doesn't require endorsement in the legislature, there is no actual reference to it in the Bill. EASR HINTED Based on hints in the government's accompanying backgrounder, observers well versed in the Environmental Protection Act theorize that the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) process will be the instrument employed. It was established in 2010 as an alternative approval path for activities or sectors that are specifically identified in an associated regulation under the EPA. The government of Ontario website advises EASR has been devised for activities or sectors that, when properly regulated, pose "minimal risk to the environment and human health" or have "known environmental impacts" because they are reliant on commonly used equipment and processes. EASR registrants must meet stringent eligibility requirements and will continue to be subject to inspections and penalties for non-compliance. "It's complicated and you might need to hire a consultant to do it for you, but it speeds up the process compared to the more rigorous and lengthy Environmental Compliance Approval process," explains Matt Gardner, an associate practicing with Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers. "There has been a slow but steady stream of new prescribed activities that have been added to the list so it could be that the government intends to add CHP technologies to the list of EASR-eligible activities." That appears to be CHP systems using wood biomass fuels and natural gas turbines. The government backgrounder presents biomass as a benign replacement for diesel generators in remote northern Ontario communities, which could also run self-sufficiently on the wood chip by-products of local timber industries. Hospitals, universities and their clientele are framed as province-wide beneficiaries. "This initiative would make it easier for businesses to manage their costs and for hospitals and universities to adopt the technology to make them more resilient to natural disasters and
PESTICIDE REPRIEVE POTENTIAL FOR CEMETERIES The Ontario government is considering allowing cemeteries to resume pesticide use, but proposed amendments to the provincial Pesticides Act will have little impact on landscaping and grounds-keeping on commercial and residential properties. The current prohibition on pesticides for cosmetic purposes will continue to apply. “There is still a pesticide ban for ornamental purposes and the government believes that pest control for lawn care and gardens is ornamental,” says Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director of Landscape Ontario, an association representing the horticultural trades and winter property maintenance sectors. Currently, the Pesticides Act allows the possibility for pesticides to be used on golf courses, sports fields, specialty turf for tennis, cricket, lawn bowling or croquet surfaces, or to address invasive species, poisonous plants, stinging or venomous insects and/or plants, fungi or animals that undermine the soundness of infrastructure or buildings, while the pesticide regulations spell out the details of how that is to be done. For example, golf courses must have an approved integrated pest management (IPM) plan to qualify. “Ontario is proposing to add cemeteries to the list of exemptions from the ban, under certain conditions,” states a backgrounder released with the tabling of legislation in late October. Other changes line up with the provincial government’s agenda to streamline administrative processes and eliminate regulatory redundancies. This takes form in more than 80 initiatives introduced in Bill 132, the proposed Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, omnibus legislation to amend or repeal dozens of statutes. In addition, numerous regulations will be revised or negated — a step that does not require approval in the Legislature. “They also made some minor changes (in the regulations) to the IPM process for golf courses,” DiGiovanni notes. As outlined in Bill 132, Ontario will dismantle its separate process for classifying pesticides and instead adopt Health Canada’s classification system — which is already the practice in all other provinces. “This change will ensure a more standardized regime across Canada,” the provincial government’s backgrounder states. Proposed amendments also refine the wording of the Act to state that classifications pertain to an “active ingredient” rather than the more generic “pesticide”. This will match the terms used in the regulations, where pesticide categories are defined and specified. “The current banned list (Class 9) and permitted list (Class 11) contain lists of active ingredient pesticides, not pesticide products. There can be several different pesticide products, used for different purposes, that are formulated using the same pesticide active ingredients,” explains Gavin Dawson, Region Technical Manager for TruGreen Canada and Chair of Landscape Ontario’s Turfgrass Management Group.
“THE CHALLENGES INCLUDE GETTING THE BUSINESS CASE TO WORK, NOISE EMISSIONS AND ELECTRICAL INTERCONNECTION, PERHAPS EVEN MORE SO THAN AIR EMISSIONS.”
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weather-related emergencies, ensuring they are better equipped to remain open and functional in times of need," it submits. RESILIENCE CRITICAL Stable, consistent backup generation capacity is especially critical for health care providers — a necessity that came to the forefront during the prolonged December 2013 ice storm and power outage in southern Ontario. Many facilities managers began exploring CHP options in its aftermath. "I agree that CHP improves our ability to manage costs and increase resiliency," says Michael Lithgow, Manager, Energy and Climate Change, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. "The challenges include getting the business case to work, noise emissions and electrical interconnection, perhaps even more so than air emissions." In its current operating model, EASR involves a sequence of technical, stakeholder and general public scrutiny of environmental impacts. Technology would not be greenlighted for a streamlined approvals process until it had undergone detailed analysis and the resulting study was posted on Ontario's Environmental Registry for comment. A subsequent draft regulation following from those steps would also be posted on the Environmental Registry. That appears to be in line with health care providers' priorities. "I support a streamlined process, but not a weakening of emissions standards that's unsupported by science," Lithgow reiterates. Meanwhile, any potential for cost reductions and simplified processes would be widely commended. "Cogeneration is increasingly being incorporated into multi-residential infrastructure," observes Joe Hoffer, a partner and specialist in residential tenancy and municipal law with Cohen Highley LLP. "Cogeneration approval processes being streamlined will be good for fostering innovation and implementation of those systems." "There are many situations where a customer-owned CHP can improve operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but CHP rules have fluctuated significantly over the past decade," says Andrew Pride, an engineer and energy management specialist. "Having clear and consistent rules would help industry and businesses bring effective CHP back into their budgets." ■
An obscure rental housing statute is set to be wiped from Ontario’s law books. The Residential Complex Sales Representation Act is among dozens of statutes and regulations tagged for revision or outright repeal in Bill 132, omnibus legislation dubbed the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, introduced in late October. “Decades of government regulation have resulted in rules that are duplicative, outdated or unclear, causing businesses to spend time and money complying with rules that simply could be better,” asserted Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, in reference to the 80 initiatives in Bill 132, which relate to 14 provincial ministries. The Residential Complex Sales Representation Act, under the auspices of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, pertains to vendors, vending agents and prospective purchasers of multifamily buildings or mobile home parks with at least six units. It clarifies that purchasers will not acquire entitlement to occupy a unit — unless it is a condominium or co-op unit, or a unit in a rental building that the vendor will be vacating — and that vendors can not advertise or imply that such an opportunity exists. The legislation, which the Ontario government now terms “outdated” and “a barrier for people to easily understand the protections that apply to them”, includes penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals or up to $100,000 for corporations that C contravene it. However, legal practitionersM note that other stringent consequences Y are in play. CM “The Residential Tenancies Act sets out MY clearly the circumstances — limitations and restrictions — in which a purchasing CY landlord may exercise a right of possessionCMY to a rental unit in a building. Any agent K who misrepresents to a purchaser the rights of possession is liable to be sued for negligence and breach of contract, so purchasers are fully protected in that regard,” observes Joe Hoffer, a Partner and specialist in residential tenancy and municipal law with Cohen Highley LLP. “The statute has been virtually ignored since it was enacted and is functionally obsolete.”
Building Envelope Repairs Balcony Modernization Parking Structure Rehabilitation
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Balcony repairs can raise anxieties for apartment tenants and owner alike. Given the associated safety concerns, however, it is work that cannot be ignored. Here is where a strategic approach and the right partners can lead to sturdier outcomes.
“Balcony repairs aren’t anything you want to rush through or leave for later,” says Greg Devine, Manager, Business Development and Marketing, with McIntosh Perry. “The costs of leaving problems to get worse is one thing, but it’s more about protecting the safety of the people who are using it and the ones living below them.” The most common causes of balcony issues are lack of regular maintenance and upkeep, which can pose significant safety risks both for people on or beneath the structure. “Once the concrete starts to fall off, the steel starts to accept compression forces, which it isn’t very good at resisting,” explains Devine. “When that happens, the people and property below are exposed to dangerous conditions.”
Keep your head up No doubt, it’s important to spot balcony damages in their early stages. They can arise as a result of exposure to the elements (e.g., rain, snow, heavy winds, etc.), tenant activities, or simple age.
Common issues include: •
Cracks, from drying, daily and seasonal changes in moisture and temperature, and people loads; carbonation, resulting from a chemical reaction with carbon dioxide that raises PH level in the concrete; rusting steel, due to rain seeping into the cracks or as a result of carbonation progressing to the steel; and spalling, which occurs when rust occupies more space than steel and causes the concrete to suffer tensile stresses, which it is not as good at resisting, causing it to pop off.
Once balcony damage is spotted, it’s time to act. The first step is to get an assessment from a qualified engineer/building science specialist who can determine the condition of the balcony and the extent of the issue. The next is to work with that specialist to develop a schedule of repairs and then begin to tender the work to a trusted contractor.
Make no mistake: balcony repairs can be noisy. Jackhammers are required to break damaged concrete, while grinders are needed to cut away damaged steel, motorized brushes are used to clean the remaining steel, and compressed air is applied to clear dust and debris.
“There’s a lot that goes into balcony work that apartment residents and their owners don’t necessarily see,” notes Devine. “After that first condition assessment, we’re also preparing the specifications, drawings, and tender documents; taking care of contract administrations; and managing the project. It’s a large process, which is why it’s beneficial to work with a firm like McIntosh Perry which knows what to expect and can see it all the way through.”
Similarly, such repairs can also disrupt building users. People and vehicles are not allowed to venture below the work, and the unit’s tenant must make peace with workers coming and going from their balcony doors and windows unannounced. In both cases, it’s essential to prepare impacted tenants well before the crews show up and work with your project partners to alleviate any resident or staff concerns. From there, says Devine, on-going communication and updates will go a long way towards
keeping work on target and expectations in check. “Any kind of repair work on a building is disruptive, so communication between the property manager and the tenants is essential in keeping all parties in the loop and satisfied.” As for building owners, he adds, the best way to mitigate the burden of balcony repairs is to identify them early and make remediation a priority: “You can save a lot of stress by saving early for balcony repairs and monitoring their condition regularly through in-house and periodic independent evaluations. Then, when it does come time to get to work, it’ll be a smoother path to a successful project.” Greg Devine is Manager of Business Development and Marketing with McIntosh Perry, a leading Canadian ﬁrm providing a full range of consulting engineering and technical solutions for every stage of a project. Learn more at www.mcintoshperry.com.
TEAM PURSUIT Toronto race2reduce on pace to energy-saving target
ommercial real estate industry trailblazers (CREST) were honoured for energy-saving achievements earlier this fall, marking another year of progress in Toronto’s race2reduce. Frontrunners emerged from 650 buildings now pursuing the target to collectively reduce energy consumption by 10% compared to 2017, and were recognized for leadership, innovation and collaboration in devising and delivering on conservation initiatives. With still more than a year to the finish line, landlord-tenant teams have already saved an estimated 19 gigawatt-hours (19 million kilowatt-hours) of electricity. Waste Reduction Week, occurring Canada-wide October 21-25, provided fitting timing to bestow the second slate of CREST awards since race2reduce launched in January 2018. “Waste Reduction Week encourages all of us to make sustainable changes and choices,” Susan Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Toronto, observed in opening remarks. However, expansion is equally a theme of celebration for the program that BOMA Toronto sponsors jointly with Toronto Hydro. There has been a nearly threefold increase in commercial space coverage — from 33 million square feet to 95 million square feet — since the unofficial kick-off in June 2017. Perhaps even more impressive, the field of competitors has grown from 88 to 650 buildings, indicating that many more smaller and mid-sized players have signed on to track down energy savings. “I think it’s in our DNA because the commercial real estate industry is enthusiastic and it’s competitive by nature,” theorized Joe Bilé, Toronto Hydro’s Business Development Manager. The distinctive race2reduce moniker also signifies that this challenge is the second iteration of the program that Toronto CivicAction first introduced in 2011 under the name Race to Reduce. That initial friendly
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rivalry surpassed its target as 200 buildings, including some located in the 905 regions neighbouring Toronto, collectively curbed energy use by 12% over a four-year period. It also served as a model for programs like the Manitoba Race to Reduce and Quebec’s Building Energy Challenge. This year, teams representing buildings in five different size categories received CREST awards for energy management leadership, including: < 50,000 square feet • 2973 Islington Avenue, CIBC (Managed by BGIS) • 3940 Keele Street, CIBC (Managed by BGIS) • 1 Fort York, CIBC (Managed by BGIS) 50,000 to 150,000 square feet • 5 Park Home Avenue, Colliers International • 111 Wellesley Street East, City of Toronto • 180 Bloor Street West, Greenrock Property Management Limited 150,000 to 250,000 square feet • 2 Berkeley Street, Berkeley Management
• 20 Carlson Court, Crown Property Management Inc. • 3381 Steeles Avenue East, Centrecorp Management Services Ltd 250,000 to 500,000 square feet • 90 Sheppard Avenue East, Crown Property Management Inc. • 901 King Street West, Crown Property Management Inc. > 500,000 square feet • 55 John Street, City of Toronto • 200 Bay Street, RBC (Managed By Oxford Properties Group) • 200 Bay Street, Oxford Properties Group Landlord-tenant teams from 390 Bay Street, managed by Crown Property Management, and 155 Wellington Street West, managed by Cadillac Fairview, were CREST award winners for innovative excellence. The two-building Commerce Court complex on King Street West, managed by QuadReal Property Group, was named the CREST collaborative excellence winner. ■
NAMED ESG EXEMPLAR Canadian company among 20 USGBC leadership award winners
xford Properties Group was honoured as one of 20 leadership award recipients at Greenbuild 2019, the annual conference and expo of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), held in Atlanta, Georgia in November. The leadership awards are bestowed to individuals and organizations that have advanced sustainable principles and practices in design, management, operations and community building, while serving as role models and resources for their peers. “Their actions are an inspiration to us all and demonstrate how our collective efforts can lead to meaningful change that moves us closer to our vision of buildings, communities and cities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation,” says USGBC President and Chief Executive Officer, Mahesh Ramanujam. Oxford was recognized for environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. The real estate arm of OMERS, the pension fund for Ontario’s municipal employees, is both an early participant and investor member in GRESB, the global benchmarking exercise for portfolio-wide ESG performance, and has consistently emerged as a sector leader for diversified office-retail portfolios. “Oxford was the first in Canada to hire someone with ‘sustainability’ in their job title — Darryl Neate in 2008,” recalls Michael Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of REALPAC, the association representing many of Canada’s largest commercial real estate companies and institutional investors. “That early step, together with strong senior management support, has kept Oxford amongst the Canadian and global leaders ever since.” Darryl Neate, Director of Sustainability, is still leading the effort, which is now integrated into all aspects of Oxford’s decision-making and dealings with its clients — underpinning a stated mission to “connect people with exceptional places”. It has captured USGBC’s attention and commendation from the ranks of nearly 10,000 member organizations and more than 200,000 professionals who have earned LEED credentials. “Looking ahead, we will continue to move the industry forward on the sustainability issues that matter most to our customers and communities — low-carbon buildings, renewable energy, wellbeing amenities and healthy materials,” Neate says. “We will continue to set ambitious targets, such as our commitment to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2025 and to transparently report back to the public on our progress.” Oxford Properties was the only Canadian organization to receive the accolade this year. ■
BENTALLGREENOAK TEAM BOLSTERS CLEAN CAPITALISM Leaders of BentallGreenOak’s sustainability team have been named to the Canada Clean50 for 2020. The honour recognizes outstanding contributions to clean capitalism and sustainable development, chosen from a sweep of influential players from the private sector, government, academia and non-governmental organizations who have delivered and inspired progressive actions and outcomes over the past two years. Anna Murray, Vice President, Sustainability; Ailey Roberts, Manager, Sustainable Investing; and Puninda Thind, Sustainability Manager, are commended in the Building: Design, Development and Management category. Together, they account for 6% of the newly named slate of influencers. “Our people dedicate themselves to the development and execution of strategies that take an unrelenting aim at our environmental footprint, and discover ways that we can deliver new value to the clients we serve while reducing our carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment,” observes Keith Major, Managing Partner, with BentallGreenOak’s Canadian office and industrial services. “On behalf of BentallGreenOak, we are honoured to see members of our team receiving well-deserved recognition from Canada’s Clean50.”
BROOKFIELD ISSUES POSITIVE MARKET SIGNAL Earlier this year, Brookfield Property Partners released 10 million perpetual green preferred units on the Nasdaq. The issuance — targeting USD $250 million to invest in green certified buildings and upgrades — was called an industry first. “We typically see target green spending associated with green bonds,” advised Michael Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of REALPAC. “However, with the rise of ESG (environmental, social, governance) screening by major pension funds globally for their investments, the rise of responsible and positive-impact investing, and the fact that apparently one in four new investment dollars in the U.S. last year went into socially responsible funds, you can see the fit. This equity raise is on trend.” “There will be a ready market for these preferred units in many portfolios,” he predicted. “Overall, I think it’s a very positive signal for the rest of the market.”
Owner, Contractor Engineer wORKING TOGETHER,
Better Canada’s property management industry united in Toronto this March to trade stories, insights, and lessons learned during the 2019 PM Springfest show. Representatives from Pretium Engineering Inc. participated on a panel, Rapid Fire: Maintenance and Repair for Owners and Property Managers, to share knowledge to a packed room about what has consistently lead to success on largescale rehabilitation projects. The primary project referenced by the panel involved the rehabilitation of a three-level open-air parking garage serving an occupied high-rise apartment building. Restoration of the reinforced concrete structure spanned seven months and included the application of waterproofing protection, replacement of the ramp heating systems, and exterior painting to improve aesthetics. “Projects of this scale require careful upfront planning and consistent communication to ensure they go
smoothly so that resident and building operation disruptions and inconveniences are minimized” said Steve Krysa, Project Principal, with Pretium. Krysa was joined by panelist representation from Realstar Management and Delbridge Contracting Limited, the general contractor for the project. Together, the team shared insights in what makes projects like these a success. Pragmatic planning Well ahead of the actual construction project, Pretium evaluated, tested, and monitored the condition of the garage components over several years and worked with the manager to develop a pragmatic solution and appropriate timing to start the rehabilitation. From the onset, safety to residents was the priority followed by maintaining the longterm serviceability of the asset.
“Essentially, we collected data over those years to quantify the rate of deterioration so we could provide an informed cost conscious recommendation,” recalled Krysa, noting this early-stage monitoring was central to understanding the full scope of the project, expected repair quantities, and to ascertain that not all areas of the garage were deteriorating at the same rate. Collaborative scheduling and communication Pretium worked with the manager and contractor to develop a methodical phasing plan which addressed, among other issues, how garage vehicles would be relocated throughout the project, which repair elements to tackle first, the size of workforce needed throughout each phase, and other factors that would ensure a smooth and coordinated schedule.
If changes were required or information needed to be passed along, all parties were extremely responsive and fastacting, which always helps make things go smoothly.” From a property manager’s perspective, David Petrina said that keeping building residents and site staff in the loop with weekly “check-in updates” also went a long way towards easing tenant concerns and managing expectations. Experience counts A project of this magnitude and sophistication required a team that knew what they were getting into. Fortunately, Pretium Engineering’s experience with rehabilitations of this scale, and Delbridge’s expertise in garage restoration contributed significantly to all aspects of the rehabilitation. “It can be a challenge to ensure updates to those schedules are communicated to everyone on the team, but the fact we were able to collaborate the way we did through internal coordination meetings and consistent teamwork helped us complete all phases on time,” reported Michael Christner, who managed of the project on behalf of Delbridge. Certainly, added Krysa, “Maintaining schedule always helps for a successful project. Delbridge did a remarkable job executing the plan exactly the way it was drawn up. They brought personnel in and out as they needed to ensure each phase was completed efficiently and on schedule.” Everyone on the same page No doubt, the project’s success drove home the value of consistent and effective communication. To that end, said Krysa, “Communication between the contractor, consultant, and manager was seamless.
“Aligning with teams who have done this work in the past – who knows what to expect, who are experienced in this type of work, and what challenges lie in wait – is extremely helpful in terms of driving both efficiency and quality,” said Krysa. “Although we were there to review Delbridge’s work, enforce project requirements and provide technical instruction on any required changes, there were very few issues that came up once things were rolling, and that’s because they were no strangers to what needed to be done.” No project is ever perfect, and work rarely goes 100% according to plan. Still, Pretium’s parking garage rehabilitation case study demonstrates how solid planning, collaboration, and industry experience can drive spotlight-worthy results.
Steve Krysa (email@example.com) is the Project Principal with Pretium Engineering Inc., (www.pretiumengineering.com), a specialist building science and structural consulting engineering firm that provides high quality, evidence-driven services.
OFFICE OFFENCES Gen Z voices discontent with workplace environments
BY REBECCA MELNYK
ye-catching office perks like pet-friendly policies and on-site fitness centres are often used to attract and retain talent, but, on their own, they don’t necessarily support the overall well-being of young employees. A new joint survey on workplace wellness, conducted by technology company View Inc. and Future Workplace, looked at Canadian workers in the corporate office sector aged 18 to 74. The findings reveal that their employers are overlooking several elements contributing to physical discomfort, such as air, light,
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temperature and acoustics, all of which factored into the respondents’ primary wellness needs. Better air quality was the most requested feature across generations at 46%, while 79% have an issue with their acoustic environment at work — performance seems to lag for many when it comes to co-worker conversations and background office noise like telephones. Only 34% of respondents awarded their company a score of 75% for supporting wellness demands.
PLAYING CATCH-UP One theory for employers' sub-par score is that companies are now playing catch-up to modern workplace dynamics. Dr. Brandon Tinianov, Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Advisory Council and Vice-President of industry strategy at View, points out how workplace styles are changing from a traditional office to a flexible, neighbourhooddriven version of open-plan space, creating new environmental challenges. “We have moved from a society where companies were valued for their assets like
heavy goods or railroads into a knowledge-based workplace where companies are valued for their intellectual property or the talent they can acquire,” he says. “People are the value of the company and the number one expense. Making them comfortable is the most businesspositive thing you can do for your organization.” Productivity is failing as a result of uncomfortable workspaces. Overall, 75% of employees are losing out on work time. Poor ergonomics and physical discomfort are causing losses by 31% and 23% of employees, respectively. But more than any other age group, Generation Z is losing the most time, with 32% losing one to two hours a day, and 80% losing at least 15 minutes. Perhaps, as Tinianov suggests, this cohort’s expectations are high when it comes to space demands because they are coming from an environment much more adaptive to their comfort level. “Universities are now dynamic and flexible and that’s where students are learning; they have good flexibility and ample natural light and visual intrigue,” he says. “When you put them in a traditional office building it’s a shock to their system.” Another finding shows that access to outdoor views is more important than unlimited vacation time or off-site events for 45% of Gen Z respondents. Better air quality was also essential, with 39% saying it would improve their wellbeing. PERSONALIZED WORKSPACE Also on this young group’s wish list is the ability to customize and personalize their workspace. While most Canadians said they would like to be able to adjust their work environment using their mobile devices, 41% of Gen Z-ers want to optimize access to natural light from an app and 48% would like to adjust workspace temperature. Among boomers, the ability to adjust workspace temperature, control air quality and mask noise and soundscaping ranked the highest. Personalizing a workspace for both emotional and physical purposes is one action employers can take to enhance comfort and wellness. The study also suggests adapting an employee-centric view of workplace wellness and a shared strategy between real estate and human resources. Focusing more on areas that affect all employees, access to natural light, for instance, and less on perks that workers need to make time for would also help. Adapting a continuous improvement mindset is also key. Investments tailored to the personal interests of employees could also benefit the building itself. Tinianov argues that progressive design could perhaps enable efficiency, impacting facility managers over a 10 to 20-year period. “The data shows people are dissatisfied with their level of environmental comfort in offices,” he says. “If the facility design could allow them a level of personal control, that would really optimize the maintenance load in the facility over the lifetime of the building.” ■■
PARCEL BOOM STRESSES BUILDING STAFF An explosion in online deliveries has led to some unique challenges in the multi-residential space. Whether it’s dealing with resident complaints about missing or damaged items, fire code infractions or a lack of resources to cope with the daily onslaught, the e-commerce boom hasn’t made life easy for frontline building staff. According to Pitney Bowes, the popularity of online purchasing has been rising gradually since 2014, only to increase sharply by 20% between 2017 and 2018. Why is this happening? Largely because the millennial and Gen Z cohorts like to online-shop. Canadian Internet Business reports 67% of millennials prefer making purchases over the internet. Meanwhile, not all multi-residential buildings are equipped with a concierge and, those that are, aren’t necessarily set up to manage and stow these deliveries effectively. A recent survey from a parcel locker service provider found that, on average, building staff are spending nearly ten minutes on each parcel delivery. From accepting and signing on behalf of residents, to logging and storing items, there are many steps to the exchange. A plethora of courier companies adds to the mayhem, particularly when they don’t follow commercial delivery protocol. Tendencies include “buzzer bomb” when a resident isn’t at home — the random pressing of intercom buttons in order to gain access to the building. Subsequently, parcels are being left in the lobby where they can be stolen, damaged or create tripping hazards, violating health and safety codes and creating liability for the property owner. Short of banning parcel deliveries altogether, which wouldn’t be a popular option among residents, property managers can consider the following: Hire more front-end staff to deal with parcel management. Assuming the lobby is set up to handle the deliveries, this option would require hiring and training new reception staff to focus on the receipt and distribution of packages. Install Canada Post parcel lockers. Property managers should keep in mind that these lockers only accommodate Canada Post deliveries so there could still be an accumulation of parcels. Install smart lockers. The latest smart parcel management systems are accessible by all carriers and come in large sizes so recipients can receive groceries and other large deliveries without difficulty. Residents receive notification on their mobile phones when a delivery has been made. The preceding article was supplied by Snaile, a parcel locker provider. For more information, see the website at www.snailelockers.com.
GEN Z-FRIENDLY CITIES GREET RISING COHORT Toronto makes global top-five list, but with a cost premium
oronto, Vancouver and Montreal rank among the world’s most Gen Z friendly cities, analysis from Nestpick, a global database for furnished apartment and room rentals, concludes. The recently released study assesses and scores 110 cities on 22 indicators — broadly falling into the
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categories of digital infrastructure, societal openness, leisure pursuits and business culture — deemed to support and/or influence the age cohort born between 1997 and 2012. Toronto emerges as the fourth most welcoming locale after London, Stockholm
and Los Angeles, and one notch above New York. Vancouver takes the number 10 position, sandwiched between Amsterdam and Paris, while Montreal occupies the 15th slot and is the second most affordable city in the top-15 after 12th-ranked Manchester, U.K.. Ottawa, placed 42nd, and Quebec City,
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placed 54th, round out Canadian representation on the list defined as “prominent international cities … selected based on their reputation as destinations to pursue work and education”. Although pre-teens may not yet be contemplating such moves, the young adults at Gen Z’s leading edge largely fill post-secondary labs and lecture halls and are steadily entering the workforce. Nestpick’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ömer Kücükdere, notes they’ve - Roof, wall evaluation and grown up in a digitally connected world fraught with economic and remediation programs environmental turmoil, giving them inherently different reference - Ultrasonic and infrared electrical points than Millennials or Generation X before them. equipment inspections “Despite the vast amount of livability indexes, there has been no - Ultrasound testing study focusing on Generation Z with their ideals and values in mind, - Web-based strategic maintenance planning until now,” he maintains. “Taking a values-centric approach to this and tracking programs study, we looked into which cities around the world best understand, advocate and embody the principles Gen Z-ers prioritize.” LONDON EDGE In addition to topping Nestpick’s list of best cities for Generation Z, London is also where the online marketing platform does the most Practical engineering is our commitment business. As of mid September, it offered more than 10,200 listings of accommodations in the city versus a combined total of about 7,000 listings in the other top-5 cities. Stockholm, with 394 listings, and Toronto, with 767 listings, trailed London’s tally most significantly, while there were 2,510 listings in Los Angeles and 3,330 listings in New York. This perhaps underpins Kücükdere’s enthusiasm. “London has shown how it is at the forefront of digitalization, advocacy, entertainment and business. Brexit or not, London has shown it has the foundations to continue magnetizing Generation Z for the long-term,” he submits. The 22 indicators cover a range of practical and lifestyle considerations, from affordability to the prevalence of E-sports, in an effort to gauge each city’s ability to support health, safety, personal KingNorth_GTA_November_2015.indd 1 2015-11-02 freedoms, convenience and human interaction. The city with the highest score for each indicator is automatically assigned 100 points. The same practice is used for the total score, somewhat obscuring the actual gap between London and Stockholm’s second highest total score of 89.88. 588 Edward Avenue, Unit 49, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 9Y6 Toronto’s total score is 86.20; Vancouver’s is 82.48; and Montreal’s is P 905-737-0111 F 905-737-4046 (Guelph) P 519-827-1757 80. Farther down the rankings, Ottawa scores 71.88 and Quebec City scores 66.58. PRACTICAL APPROACHES ■ SENSIBLE RESULTS National data is used to determine scores for eight of the indicators with some state-level differentiation applied for cities in the United States. As a result, cities in the same country have identical or largely ■ Reserve Fund Studies similar scores for more than a third of the indicators.
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DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE Canadian cities do not achieve the top scores for any of the 22 indicators, but are highly placed for access to healthcare, safety, environmental quality, right to protest and start-ups targeting “social satisfaction” over profit. Canada likewise makes a strong showing across most of the seven indicators in the digital infrastructure category. All five cities are tied for fourth (based on national level data) for digital payment options. Also based on national level data, Canadian cities fall behind several European countries, but ahead of the U.S. for online security and user privacy, whereas as digital social habits are deemed less ingrained in Canada than in the U.S. Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto make the top 20 for connectivity and high-speed communications, with Vancouver and Quebec City also cracking the top 30. Vancouver is ranked ninth for digital peer-topeer networks such as bike-sharing and ride-hailing, while Toronto is
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TORONTO’S TOTAL SCORE IS 86.20; VANCOUVER’S IS 82.48; AND MONTREAL’S IS 80. FARTHER DOWN THE RANKINGS, OTTAWA SCORES 71.88 AND QUEBEC CITY SCORES 66.58. 28th and Montreal is 35th. Toronto is ranked 10th, Montreal 19th and Vancouver 21st for technology-based education programs. AFFORDABILITY The study’s sponsors note that 14 of the 20 cities deemed to offer the best fit for Gen Z are also found among the 50 least affordable cities. Montreal, ranked 42nd for affordability, is the only North American exception. Manchester, Berlin and Frankfurt in Germany, and Gothenburg and Malmo in Sweden round out the group of six. Rankings for the indicator are based on the monthly cost of living in the city — a scale that appears to peg Toronto as the fifth costliest in the top 20 after New York, San Francisco, Copenhagen and Paris. Across all 110 cities, the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva and Bern, and Oslo, Norway, are rated less affordable
than New York. The most affordable North American city is Mexico City, ranked fifth for affordability and 87th overall, while the most affordable European city is Bucharest, Romania, ranked ninth for affordability and 86th overall. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT Quebec City is the only Canadian city to receive the automatic one-point score, assigned to the city with the lowest score for each indicator, for its quotient of businesses involved in artificial intelligence. In contrast, Toronto scores 70.37 for the indicator and is ranked 7th among the 110 cities. Meanwhile, Quebec City significantly outdistances Canadian counterparts for entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. With a score of 73.4, Quebec’s capital places 13th
for the indicator, which measures the number of start-ups, costs and time expenditure to incorporate a business and local logistics. Vancouver follows in 46th with a score of 56.77 then Toronto in 48th with a score of 54.54. With the exception of Quebec City, Canadian cities post their lowest scores for the E-sports indicator. That’s also a common pattern across the entire database, in which 45 cities register scores of less than five. Toronto’s score of 23 is the lowest in the top five, but is still good enough to rank 20th out of the 110 cities. Vancouver is Canada’s next highest ranking E-sports centre with a score of 18.8. Canadian performance is better for the other measured leisure pursuit — concerts. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver rank in the top 40 cities, but well behind the five leaders: London, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Paris. ■
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YONGE SHEPPARD CENTRE EVOLVES WITH THE TIMES Circa '70s mixed-use development gets 21st century makeover BY REBECCA MELNYK
ioCan executives hosted a block party earlier this fall to celebrate the grand opening of the revived Yonge Sheppard Centre. Bearing the name of the Toronto intersection where it's located, it was previously a dark and enclosed fort-like building with weaker foot traffic. “It’s quite the transformation,” says Rosa Garofalo, General Manager of the Yonge Sheppard Centre for the past 31 years. “The single most comment we are getting is that the centre is unrecognizable. It’s just so different, both cosmetically and structurally.” This is the second renovation during her tenure as manager, one that took nine years and a lot more money with a $300 million price tag, compared to the previous upgrade that cost $50 million. Constructed in the mid-1970s, the centre didn’t have much of an outside retail presence and most entrances were below or above the sidewalk. “It really looked more like two office towers joined by a couple of banks and Winners,” says Garofalo, adding that the influx of people who moved into the area in the last ten years might have been surprised to learn there were 75 stores there at one time. With this area of the city growing consistently over the years — more than 150,000 people now live in immediate proximity — it was time for a more urban approach to reflect the new demographics moving into the area. Longo’s and LA Fitness, which both split a two-level, 100,000-square-foot addition, are www.REMInetwork.com
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bringing in evening traffic. A future 36-storey, 361-unit residential rental tower and easier access to the two subway lines and the TTC station embedded in the centre are also anticipated to increase the flow of people. A major part of the renovation included extending the façade on both Yonge Street
and Sheppard and building all entrances at street level. Upgrades also include new daycare space, updated facades of the two adjoining office buildings and a new food court area. Old items from the former food court were re-purposed and given to neighbouring schools and
the Toronto District School Board office across the street. “People from the surrounding office towers flock here for lunch,” says Garofalo. “Our food court has always been a strength for us and now it’s even bigger and there are so many more offerings than before." What was always viewed as a community hub for the neighbourhood is now an accessible and exciting shopping destination with a mix of new tenants that give it a mall-feel. A custom art installation, designed along with local students from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, was unveiled during the reopening festivities, signifying the links the centre has to its community. “This specific centre has been a key pillar in the surrounding community for the past 40-plus years,” Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan's President and Chief Operating Officer, said in marking the event. “It’s one of Canada’s first mixed-use centres and has been a linchpin in North Toronto for its entire existence.” ■
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