Condominium living has been a part of the Toronto residential landscape for decades. The initial wave of GTA condominium developments, built back in the 1970ss, is now over 40 years old. Condo homeowners, just like their counterparts in low-rise buildings, are renovating their kitchens, bathrooms, etc., in order to realize their lifestyle dreams.
And while there are many similarities between the renovation of low-rise homes and condominium apartments, there are also important differences. Differences that, if you are not aware, can make your renovation experience less satisfying.
eieihome.com spoke with John Napolitano, Vice President with Royal Home Improvements, to find out more about the challenges unique to condo renovations. As a condominium homeowner and executive with one of the GTA’s largest residential renovation general contractors, John has knowledge and experience with the remodeling of condominiums.
“Experience has been a great teacher,” says Napolitano who has sold and managed projects for the renovation of condominium common areas, gymnasiums and residences. He is presently applying that experience to the renovation of his personal residence – a condo in Liberty Village. “While condo renovations can be simpler than low-rise renovations, in some ways they are much more complicated.”
Condos have rules
The provincial building code and municipal permit requirements apply to all construction. But condominium boards also create rules that govern building activities, including renovation projects. One of the first responsibilities of a condo renovation project manager is to know the building rules. By not knowing and following the rules, a condo renovation project is at risk of delays, upset neighbours and even fines.
Experienced renovators know that there are weekday and weekend limitations on the hours that remodeling work can occur in condo buildings. Working outside those times requires permission and that involves communications with management and neighbours. Royal Home Improvements project managers know to stay within the designated construction hours and that exceptions (sometimes necessary) require planning and pre-approval.
The relocation of sinks, toilets and showers are common tasks in residential renovation that can be more complicated in condominiums. The building material most common in modern condominium construction is concrete. Building rules often prohibit breaking concrete to move plumbing lines and relocate fixtures. Similar restrictions exist regarding flooring and underlayment. Knowing the limitations during the renovation design/build can prevent difficulties later.
John Napolitano advises, “Successful renovators know that condominiums are communities. You treat common areas with respect and you follow the rules.” Experienced project managers schedule elevators and reserve loading docks. They know to remove construction materials promptly and assign construction teams who follow the rules. Some condominium boards levy fines for violations, including placing construction waste in onsite dumpsters. Experienced contractors, like Royal Home Improvements, know to avoid those mistakes.
Renovation contractors who spend time to get to know the rules of condominium renovations ultimately have the happiest clients. As Napolitano states, experience with condominium renovations is the basis for Royal Home Improvements’ being trusted and selected to perform condo renovations across the GTA.
Selecting a renovation contractor you trust, with expertise in condominium remodeling, is important to ensure a successful project. Napolitano suggests asking your contractor candidates about their condo renovation experience. Better, still ask John Napolitano to tell you about his condo renovation experience and the one Royal Home Improvements is performing for him.