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Renovating Your Condominium

Condominiums renovations are on the increase in the Toronto area, for several reasons.  Condominium construction in the Toronto area started in the 1970s and boomed in 1980s.  These units are approaching, in some cases, 40 years of age, so they are due for some updating and sometimes a large scale renovation.  Older units are generally larger and are often in high demand due to their size and their renovation potential.

Renovating a condo is different than renovating a home.  Condominium renovation is more complex than a typical home renovation, it has unique challenges, and requires a great deal of planning.

Here are some of the points to consider if you’re thinking of renovating your condominium.

Condominium Corporation Rules

Condominium corporations typically have rules that regulate renovations.  At minimum they will regulate  hours of work, but they may also dictate the types of materials used, and sometimes even require prior approval of management or the board of directors.

Most condominiums will have rules that set out the days and times that renovations can take place.  Generally these will be 8am or 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Some condos may permit work on Saturday.

Materials that are used may also be regulated by the condominium corporation.  A common regulation deals with solid surface flooring, due to noise transmission concerns.  Window coverings may be regulated for aesthetic reasons.

The first thing to do before considering a condo renovation is to look into the rules that govern renovations.  If you’re hiring a contractor or an interior designer, make sure he or she is aware of these rules before preparing their designs and cost estimates.

Access

In a high rise condo, access for bringing in materials and remove waste from the unit will generally be via the elevator.  Elevator access will need to be arranged beforehand, and availability many be limited if there are others in the building that are also renovating, or moving in or out of their units.

Along with this, the distance material needs to be moved is significantly farther, and limitations in elevator door size will also limit the lengths of material that can be moved through the building.

Parking for workers and material delivery trucks also needs to be considered.  Is there sufficient parking on site, and is there limitations on delivery truck sizes?

Relocating Plumbing & Electrical

Relocating electrical and plumbing in a condominium is difficult, often impossible.  These need to be considered in any redesign or remodel of the spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Building Codes

The building code that regulates condominiums is stricter than in a typical home.  Make sure that any contractors used are familiar with condominium construction and regulations.

Waste Removal

Removing construction waste from a house is as easy as placing a disposal bin on the driveway.  With condominiums, this is not an option.   Nor can construction waste be placed in the building’s waste containers.  This generally means waste from your project is removed by small trucks on a regular basis.

Cost

If you’ve renovated a house before, you’ll notice that the cost of renovating the same space in a condominium is higher.  This is due to many of the factors: access, work hours, waste management, and building code requirements

Condominium renovations, like home renovations, are exciting and will eventually lead to a more comfortable and functional space for the homeowner.  The main thing to remember is to check the rules, and deal with professionals that are familiar with condo renovations.