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Have you ever wondered about Tarion Guidelines, processes, and implications to maintenance? In this article, Henry Jansen, President of Criterium-Jansen Engineers, provides a high-level overview of what condo corporations, engineers, and building managers need to be aware of:

Background on Tarion

Tarion is a third party agency which administers the New Home Warranties Plan Act on behalf of the provincial government. Tarion develops processes in consultation with stakeholders to administer the warranties act. Two of these processes are called Builder Bulletin 19R and Builder Bulletin 49. Tarion currently regulates builders and the warranty fund.

Did You Know?

There was a report commissioned by the past Liberal government headed by Justice Cunningham to make changes to Tarion. In the third week of February 2019, the PC government announced that they would be continuing with those recommendations.

What does that mean for builders and engineers?

As of March 2019, we are unsure what this means yet, but it is clear that Tarion will be split into an insurance provider and a separate building regulator. CCI-GR has formed a Tarion Advisory Committee in association the other Ontario CCI chapters to make sure we have a voice with the government as they move forward with changes.

Which Builder Bulletins Impact Condos?

The two builder bulletins which affect our condo corporations are Builder Bulletin 19R and Builder Bulletin 49.

Builder Bulletin 19R mandates that builders hire approved field review consultants (FRC’s) for condominium projects during construction. The FRC’s provide quality insurance inspections at specific items during construction. The idea to help prevent construction defect and potential warranty claims in the future.

Builder Bulletin 49 is the Performance Audit process. This is when the condominium corporation transitions from the builder to the condominium corporation when construction is complete. This is the opportunity for the condo to engage their engineer to determine all defects and deficiencies with the common elements and submit a warranty claim to Tarion.

The first year audit is all deficiencies, and the second year audit is more focused on water penetration, building code violations, and life safety issues. Then there is a seven-year claim period for major structural defects.

Condo under construction

Construction Performance Guidelines

During the Builder Bulletin 49 process, a listing of deficiencies is provided to Tarion and the builder. Generally, the builder will dispute the deficiencies.

The discussions we have had between Tarion, the builder, and the condo corporation generally focuses on whether a deficiency is warrantable. One argument by Tarion and the builder to dismiss deficiencies is to claim that they are maintenance items.

However, Tarion does publish Construction Performance Guidelines which prescriptively describes certain deficiencies and layouts what is acceptable and not acceptable. What a condominium corporation needs to be aware of is that there are disclaimers in these Guidelines which discuss maintenance.

Common Element Construction Performance Guidelines

In particular, condo corps (or your engineer) should be familiar with the “Common Element Construction Performance Guidelines.” These guidelines are being updated on a continual basis. Your CCI Tarion Advisory Committee is providing submissions for Tarion to consider during the revision process.

Please note that this is a 141-page document. For this article, we have only featured a few key regulations.  If you want to review these in detail, the guidelines are available on the Tarion website.

1. WATER LEAKAGE THROUGH BURIED ROOF SLAB – EXPOSED TO CHLORIDES

This care should be taken by your landscaper. Do not dig above a roof slab without knowing what’s below.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Buried roof slabs shall be designed and constructed to prevent water penetration and leakage and to protect the slab from exposure to chlorides in accordance with the Ontario Building Code including CSA 413 and the design.

Warranty

  • One-Year –Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration

Action

The waterproofing system, not meeting acceptable performance, shall be repaired.

Remarks

Care must be taken to prevent damage to waterproof membrane during required maintenance activities to exposed surfaces above the buried roof.

2. LEAKAGE THROUGH SUSPENDED PARKING SLABS AND RAMPS

If you need to address some landscaping on your property; be cautious of where you dig. IF you do not have an irrigation systems outside the property but plan to install one; again be cautious where you dig. In order protect your warranty we would recommend avoiding any changes to the property until after the 2 Year warranty period.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Suspended parking slabs including suspended ramps shall be protected by a material/substance to prevent water penetration and leakage and to protect the slab from exposure to chlorides in accordance with the Ontario Building Code including CSA 413 and the design.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and materials
  • Two-Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration

Action

The waterproofing membrane not meeting acceptable performance shall be repaired to prevent leakage.

Remarks

Care must be taken to prevent damage to waterproof membrane during required maintenance activities to exposed surfaces.

3. LEAKAGE THROUGH BASEMENT OR FOUNDATION WALLS OR SLABS-ON-GRADE

Tarion puts this disclaimer regarding maintenance. You need to make sure any ground is sloped away from the foundation, you need to make sure your gutter and downspouts are kept clean and discharge away from you buildings. You need to maintain the property in order to preserve your warranty.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Basements/foundation walls and slabs-on-grade shall allow no water penetration/leaks

Warranty

Two- Year – Basement or Foundation Water Penetration.

Water leakage resulting from improper maintenance, exterior grade alterations made by the homeowner, an act of God or failure of municipal services or other utilities is excluded from the statutory warranty. Secondary damage to property or any personal injury resulting from the water penetration is also excluded from the statutory warranty.

4. CONCRETE SURFACE SCALING

Cleaning salt deposits is consider normal home maintenance by Tarion. Salt deposits can be sign of water penetration. We always recommend to clean the salts first and see if they return. If they return then your engineer should inspect and determine if there is a warrantable defect.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Concrete surfaces shall not disintegrate to the extent that the aggregate is exposed under normal use.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Action

The concrete surface shall be repaired.

Remarks

Scaling of exterior concrete surfaces including concrete porches, walkways, garage floor slabs, steps (including precast), etc., most often results from salts and de-icers being applied to the concrete surface, e.g. either intentionally for ice melting or unintentionally from road slush deposits. Cleaning salt deposits off concrete surfaces is normal home maintenance.

5. DEFECTIVE CAULKING

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Caulking should be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. Caulking shall remain intact without de-bonding, cracking/splitting or showing other signs of premature strain within the warranty period. Profiling of caulking should accommodate anticipated movement at the sealed joint. Caulking must cure as anticipated in the manufacturer’s specifications. All joints shown in the design to be caulked shall be caulked.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • One-Year – Ontario Building Code Violation
  • Two-Year – Cladding Detachment, Displacement or Deterioration

Damage resulting from improper maintenance is not covered by the statutory warranty. Make sure your window washers are aware not to damage caulking during their work. We recommend should you notice an issue with your caulking; take picture to documents the time and location. This can help when we have discussion if the builder or homeowner should be repairing caulking.

Worker caulking a window on upper floors of condo

6. DETERIORATING MASONRY CLADDING

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Masonry cladding shall be manufactured and installed to prevent premature deterioration.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two -Year – Cladding Detachment, Displacement or Deterioration.

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

I am unsure what is considered improper maintenance of exterior masonry such as brick and stone. One caution – if your stone or brick is “dirty” or has construction debris on it, have the builder clean the masonry. We have had diligent homeowners who decide to pressure wash the exterior and get the brick nice and clean. Unfortunately they also remove any glazing finish and in extreme cases the colour. This does void any warranty.

7. CRACKS IN EXTERIOR STUCCO WALL SURFACES

Again Tarion does put in this disclaimer about improper maintenance. Be make contractors and homeowners aware to not impact or damage exterior stucco.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Fine hairline cracks that do not negatively affect the performance of the stucco are acceptable.

Warranty

  • One – Year – Work and Materials
  • One – Year – Ontario Building Code Violations
  • Two -Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration
  • Two -Year – Cladding Detachment, Displacement or Deterioration

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

8. EIFS CRACKING

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Surfaces shall be generally free of cracks.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

9. EXTERIOR PAINT/COATING IS PEELING OR BUBBLING

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Paint or coating on cladding shall not separate from the substrate.

Warranty

  • One – Year – Work and Materials
  • One – Year – Ontario Building Code Violations

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenanceor additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

10. WATER LEAK THROUGH BUILDING ENVELOPE (EXTERIOR CLOSURE)

Acceptable Performance/Condition

The building envelope/exterior closure shall be constructed to prevent water entry into the interior of the building.

Warranty

  • One – Year – Work and Materials
  • One – Year – Ontario Building Code Violations
  • Two -Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

11. WATER LEAK THROUGH WINDOWS OR DOORS

Again this disclaimer about improper maintenance. We have experienced window damage by homeowners which have voided warranties. This particular case was 3 storey townhouses over a one storey parkade. The issue was moving furniture inside. Stair access was not working so some inventive owners decided to push furniture through front windows. The damage associated with this was not warrantable. Another common theme is homeowners not closing windows during rain or inclement weather and then claiming a water leak. Make sure your windows and doors close properly.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

The building envelope openings in exterior walls such as windows and doors, and junctions between cladding materials, shall not allow water penetration.

Warranty

  • One – Year – Ontario Building Code Violations
  • Two -Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

Rain on a window, blurry condo in distance

12. DISCONTINUITY IN AIR BARRIER SYSTEM

We have this disclaimer about improper maintenance but I am not sure how an owner would affect air barrier during maintenance. However, we have come across situation where pot lights have been added to suit or unit cutting through the air barrier. This does void the warranty from Tarion.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

The air barrier system shall meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

Warranty

  • One – Year- Work and Materials
  • One – Year – Ontario Building Code Violation
  • Two – Year- Health and Safety

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or additions, deletions or alterations made by the homeowner is excluded from the statutory warranty.

13. DRAFT FELT AT ELECTRICAL OUTLET

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Electrical boxes on exterior walls that are installed in the plane of the air barrier system shall be installed to prevent air infiltration.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, improper maintenance or additions, alterations and deletions made by the homeowner is not covered by the statutory warranty.

14. LEAKS DUE TO SNOW OR RAIN DRIVEN INTO THE BUILDING THROUGH LOUVRES, GRILLES OR VENTS

Improper maintenance is not cleaning snow away from louver and vents.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Vents, grilles and louvers must be designed and constructed to prevent the entry of rain, snow and insects into the building (unless they are designed to accommodate such penetration and incorporate drainage). Vents, grilles and louvers shall be installed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code.

Warranty

  • One -Year – Ontario Building Code Violations
  • Two -Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration
  • Water penetration resulting from improper maintenance or an act of God is excluded from the statutory warranty

15. ROOF LEAKS

The build up of ice or snow that traps water, resulting in a water leak is generally not covered by warranty.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Roofs shall allow no water penetration.

Warranty

  • One -Year – Ontario Building Code Violations
  • Two -Year – Building Envelope Water Penetration

Water leakage resulting from improper maintenance or an act of God is excluded from the statutory warranty.

16. ROOFING MEMBRANE IS DEFECTIVE

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Membrane system must be installed in a good workmanlike manner free from damage and shall meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and the design.

Warranty

  • One -Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year –   Building Envelope Water Penetration

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or additions, deletions or alterations made by the homeowner is excluded from the statutory warranty.

17. MISSING OR INADEQUATE FIRE STOPPING

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Fire stopping shall be installed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and the design.

Warranty

  • One – Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Ontario Building Code Health and Safety Violation.

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or additions, deletions or alterations made by the homeowner is excluded from the statutory warranty.

18. UNSEALED DRYWALL JOINTS IN FIRE SEPARATIONS

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Partition is constructed to meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and the design.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Ontario Building Code Health and Safety Violation

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or additions, deletions or alterations made by the homeowner is excluded from the statutory warranty.

19. GAPS AROUND SUITE ENTRY DOORS

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Suite doors located in corridors shall be installed to meet with the Ontario Building Code, referenced NFPA standards and the design.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Ontario Building Code Health and Safety Violation.

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or additions, deletions or alterations made by the homeowner is excluded from the statutory warranty.

20. SELF-CLOSING DEVICES NOT OPERATING EFFECTIVELY

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Self-closing devices shall be able to close and latch the door automatically and shall comply with the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Health and Safety Violations of Ontario Building Code regulations

Action

Self-closing devices must function as intended and comply with the requirements under the Ontario Building Code. Conditions not meeting the acceptable performance shall be repaired.

Remarks

Self-closing devices require periodic adjustment due to use and seasonal variations. If it can be demonstrated that these types of maintenance adjustments are not sufficient to make the device operate as intended, then the closer would be considered defective.

21. GUARDS MISSING ON ELEVATOR EQUIPMENT

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Guards on elevator equipment will be provided as required by the TSSA regulations in force at the time of registration. Equipment shall not present a risk of entanglement, pinching, shearing, crushing, abrasion, electrical shock or tripping. The machine guarding must be provided with certification by a Professional Engineer indicating that the machine guarding is compliant with the MOL requirements. All machine guarding installations must be provided with an appropriate TSSA submission and must be performed by a licensed elevator contractor.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Action

Equipment not meeting the Acceptable Performance/Condition shall be repaired.

Remarks

The TSSA has recommendations for guarding of elevator equipment in such a manner that proper maintenance is not impeded.

22. ELECTRICAL SCHEMATICS MISSING

 Acceptable Performance/Condition

All relevant schematics required for the proper maintenance and operation of the elevator shall be provided as required by the TSSA.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Action

Equipment not meeting the Acceptable Performance/Condition shall be modified.

Remarks

A proper as-built elevator electrical diagram is required by the TSSA and is important for the safe operation of the elevators and escalators. Hence, it is critical for the longevity of the device to have an as-built diagram in plasticized covering.

23. NOISY WATER SUPPLY PIPES.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Water supply pipes shall be installed to minimize noise caused by water hammer or vibration/pipe movement.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Delivery and Distribution Systems.

Action

Water supply pipes not meeting the acceptable performance shall be repaired.

Remarks

Some vibration may relate to poor maintenance of fixtures

The sound of water flowing through pipes is normal and not covered by the statutory warranty.

24. DEFECTIVE PLUMBING FIXTURES, APPLIANCES OR TRIM FITTINGS

 Acceptable Performance/Condition

Plumbing fixtures, appliances or trim fittings shall be free of both visual and performance defects.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials.

Action

Defective products shall be repaired or replaced.

Remarks

Damage resulting from improper maintenance or abuse by the owner is excluded from the statutory warranty

25. DEFECTS IN EXTERIOR THERMAL INSULATION ON DUCTS

If contractors make repairs and damage insulation; make sure the contractor repairs the insulation.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Exterior thermal insulation shall be installed in accordance with good workmanship and follow the requirements of the design.

Warranty

One -Year – Work and Materials

Action

Thermal insulation not meeting the acceptable condition shall be repaired.

Remarks

Damage caused by maintenance activities after turn-over is not warranted.

26. EQUIPMENT CANNOT BE MAINTAINED

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Equipment shall be installed in such a manner that it can be accessed for maintenance. Clearances shall be adequate to permit required maintenance.

Warranty

One-Year – Work and Materials

Action

Equipment not meeting the Acceptable Performance shall be relocated or modified.

Remarks

In some instances specialized equipment may be needed to access some equipment for maintenance; this is not warranted.

27. MISSING CLEAN-OUTS

Acceptable Performance/Condition

Clean-outs shall be installed to facilitate maintenance, as required by the Ontario Building Code and the design.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two -Year – Delivery and Distribution Systems

Action

Missing clean-outs shall be provided.

Remarks

Clean-outs shall be reasonably accessible.

28. LANDSCAPING INCOMPLETE OR NOT ACCORDING TO DESIGN

A classic repetitive case is a landscaper adding too much mulch around new trees and effectively killing the trees in the process. This is something to be aware of.

Acceptable Performance/Condition

The landscaping shall be completed according to the design and for more clarity, according to the landscape drawings approved by the municipality.

Warranty

One -Year – Work and Materials

Action

Landscaping not meeting the acceptable condition shall be repaired.

Remarks

Plantings that fail due to improper maintenance are excluded from the statutory warranty.

29. DOORS REQUIRE EXCESSIVE FORCE TO OPEN

Acceptable Performance/Condition

The opening force required to open doors in barrier-free paths of travel must comply with Ontario Building Code.

Warranty

  • One-Year – Work and Materials
  • Two-Year – Ontario Building Code Health and Safety Violation

Action

Doors not complying with the acceptable performance shall be repaired.

Remarks

Regular maintenance of building systems (doors, air balance) is required to ensure that the requirements of the code are maintained. .

Scope of Warranty Responsibilities

“A condominium corporation is responsible for the proper maintenance schedule and procedures for the common elements to ensure its warranty rights are preserved. A condominium corporation will often engage a property management company to deal with these maintenance obligations.”

The guidelines are very clear in this statement. So, condo corps, you are responsible to maintain the common elements. An item may not be warrantable if it can be attributed to a lack of proper maintenance.

For more information, contact Criterium-Jansen Engineers today!