The long Canadian Winter is finally in the rearview mirror and spring is upon us! It is time to start the long spring and summer to-do list which usually involves a renovation or two. Whether you are looking to improve your unit for your own enjoyment or preparing it for the red hot southern Ontario real estate market, there are many factors you need to consider when you are renovating your unit and dealing with a Condominium Corporation.

Here are 5 factors to consider when planning and executing your condominium renovation and my corresponding tips to make the process easier:

Review your Corporation’s Rules and Regulations

Most Corporations have a set of rules that deal specifically with renovations. They outline what types of renovations are permitted and any specific requirements that need to be met. For example, some Corporations require an upgraded under padding installed under hardwood or laminate floors. The under padding will help to stop noise transfer between stacked units. Other Corporations outline the time frame in which construction is permitted. In some cases, certain Corporations do not allow construction on Sundays or late in the evening to allow all unit owners the quiet enjoyment of their unit.

Always notify your Property Manager

There are some instances when the renovations are relatively minor and you may not need the approval of the Board or Management. It is always a good idea to notify your Management Company just so they are aware that work is ongoing in the unit. It can help your Property Manager communicate effectively with your neighbors who may be calling, inquiring about all the noise. The bottom line is: in a Condominium, the more communication, the better.

Building Plans, Permits and Agreements

If you are planning a larger renovation, it is important to take into account the Ontario Building Code and applicable building By-laws for your municipality in addition to the approval from your Board of Directors.  In some instances where there will be alterations to the Corporation Common Elements it is important to enter into a Section 98 agreement with the Corporation. This agreement should be registered on title for the unit at the local land registry office.

Selecting a Contractor – WSIB / Liability Insurance

Once you have decided on a project and a budget, it is extremely important to select a qualified contractor who carries the appropriate certifications to complete your renovation. It is equally  important to ensure that the contractor is properly insured with liability insurance and an up-to-date WSIB Clearance Certificate. The contractor should be fully insured throughout the entire project.  Your Property Management Company should have a list of qualified contractors who provide good value for your dollar and are properly qualified and insured.

What do I do with the garbage?

Garbage is often an item that is overlooked in a project, from both a budgetary and an operation perspective. We often forget that it’s going to cost money to get rid of all the mess. It’s always a good idea to include the disposal cost in the contract with your contractor. That way all of the material is taken off of the Corporation’s common elements. If you decide to take a chance and use the Corporation facilities for garbage, there is a strong possibility for a charge back being levied against the unit.

The spring season is a fantastic time to upgrade and improve your unit. Following these simple steps will allow this process to move smoothly and ensure you get the results you desire.