Author: maria

CONDO CONDENSATION : How to deal with condensation in your townhome

Question : Maria, I live in a Bare-land Condominium just west of the City and believe I may have an issue with condensation in my attic. Do you have any helpful tips that I can use to combat this concern?

It’s no secret that Calgary is experiencing extreme weather instability, some say, more so this year then we’ve had in the last two. Brrrrrr, is all I have to say! With the fluctuation between -25 in the weather and the sudden drop to -7 it’s no wonder that were seeing more calls about water dripping from the bathroom fans or signs of stained ceilings or water streaming from
windows are often indications of excessive water vapour in the air.

This is most likely caused by condensation inside the duct. In the winter, the warm moist air from the bathroom hits cool air in the attic or outside and it condenses, sending drips back down
the ductwork. This can also be seen during the summer time when the air is saturated with humidity; the excess amount of humidity will start to condensate (i.e., transforms itself back into water). This can create numerous problems inside your unit if not properly addressed. So, what to do, well, I spoke with Tyrone

Mellon, from Mellon Real Estate Inspections. Tyrone and his company come across this very issue all the time. Here’s what Tyrone has to say: “It’s important to increase the flow of air
inside your unit to supply fresh air, which is necessary to vent off water vapour. Here are a few helpful tips to help you address some of the basic concerns with condensation.”

VENTILATION SYSTEM
“First and foremost-check the attic inside your unit and ensure you have an adequate and a properly installed ventilation system. This is essential to allow the moisture to escape from the property before it turns into condensation. Once a year it’s of value to peak into the attic to see what’s going on, simple checks with a flashlight looking to see that the Bathroom exhaust vent hoses are still attached to the underside of the roof sheathing.

WINDOWS
It’s important to periodically open your windows to allow fresh air to enter your unit. Not only, is it healthy for you; it’s the most efficient way to solve your moisture problem.
Of course we DO NOT recommend leaving windows open during a cold snap or over night during the winter season, as it can cause an array of problems.

INSULATION
Tyrone says, is it important to ensure that you have proper insulation around the ventilation pipes and attic inside your unit “Depending on the year of construction, the attic will have different levels and types of insulation. Insulation will compress over time, with older properties 6 inches of insulation would be deemed a minimum level. Brand new homes today require R-50
levels for insulation in the attic space this would be equivalent to approximately 18 inches of loose fill fiberglass.”

EXHAUST FANS
Yes, this can be a pain when you have to remember to turn them on; but, very important to use them when you are taking a shower, bath or cooking. The use of fans helps remove moisture from the air. Run the fan for 15-20 minutes is sufficient after your shower, bathe or cook. A simple recommendation: install a timer switch for the bathroom fan versus a manual on/off
switch. The key is to remember to use them, I cannot stress how import it is to run the fan or keep the timer on for at least 15 minutes after you have finished using the bathroom, cooking or laundry to properly expel the humidity from these areas.

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The importance of establishing “standard unit finish” in your condo

Dear Maria; It is our understanding that in 2020 several key updates come into effect that will change the definition of a standard insurable unit. Can you tell me how these changes affect us? And what we can do to prepare for this?

If you live in a condominium that is Professionally Managed by New Concept Management Inc., then you would have received information that the Provincial Government announced substantial changes to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act (CPA) and Condominium Property Regulations (CPR) on December 14, 2018. One of the changes that are being made is the mandatory requirement under the new regulations (Section 34-Application of initial bylaws to pre-existing corporations) that all condominium corporations in Alberta re-write their bylaws to comply with the new
Property Act of Alberta. The Government in essence, has given all condominiums 1 year from July 1, 2019, to have this completed. If you would like to learn more, you can read
February’s article by logging onto newconceptmanagement.com/blog. In speaking with Harold Weidman, of Reliance Asset Consulting, who is not only an expert in his field but also an expert on
this topic, has taken the initiative to help educate the condominium industry on key factors that each condominium board should take into consideration when updating their
bylaws. If you want to be compliant, here’s what Harold recommends.

a. Will you implement several classes of Standard Unit Finishes or just one (example would be staged bare land developments or mixed developments such as townhouses and apartments)?
b. Setting your Standard Unit Finishes as listed in the Regulations — must be reasonable, clear in definition and easily taken into
consideration in the costing process.
c. Owners at AGM can vote and either adopt or amend these Standards. Because owners are openly involved in this process, Boards must be prepared with extensive background information to mitigate problems and best defend their positions.
d. Determine what options are open to the Corporation to change existing standards
(dependent on their position in the annual update cycle).
e. Understand what options are available if the 2019 Insurance Renewal Date of the policy occurs before items a., b., c. and d. occur.

What if I don’t have a “Standard Insurable Unit”? If the board doesn’t have Standard Unit Finishes defined, they’re not alone. Unfortunately, most Boards do not have this in place, as it’s never been a requirement. The Standard Unit Finishes identified in our reports allow Boards to understand what is and more importantly what is NOT included. This is a common requirement for an appraisal firm to adhere to professional appraisal standards.

How does this regulation affect Non-Residential Standard Unit Finishes? There are no critical changes noted in the revised regulations and the interior finishes will continue to be the responsibility of the owner and/or tenants.

What about Bare Land Bylaws where Standard Finishes are limited to the shell of the Unit building interior? There continues to be varying opinions based on the definitions included in the bylaws on “shell finishes”. These require clarification for costing purposes given the varied termination for finishes inside the buildings and what, if any, items are described for interior structural components and rough-ins for heating, plumbing and electrical.

These are just a tidbit of the key factors to a standard unit finish and what steps you can take as a board. As a condominium manager with New Concept Management, I cannot stress the importance for each condominium corporation to have a clearly written bylaw that defines its standard unit finishes.

Thank you to Harold Weidman, for his helpful insight into this article and for his continued support to the condominium industry. Until next time …

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RESOLVING ETHICAL DILEMMAS

Putting in place a Code of Ethics helps condo boards resolve disputes

Question : Dear Maria; How important is it for an elected Officer or Director to maintain confidentiality of Board decisions?
Answer : Very important is the correct answer. We need only look at the current political scandals in Canada and the U.S. to see how important it is to conform to a code of ethics.

Boards have an obligation to act honestly and in good faith and in the best interest of the condominium corporation. If the board chooses not to follow the standard of care, this can put the condominium corporation in a position of liability.

In addition, the board of directors must exercise care, diligence and skill that a prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. In other words, not putting the condominium corporation in harms way and always acting with prudence when making decisions.

Once elected, the condominium board of directors have specific and critical duties that they must adhere to. These duties are listed in the condominium corporation bylaws. It’s important for board members to understand and be familiar with the bylaws, since they will be held accountable to them and the owners.

It’s also recommended that boards implement a Code of Ethics that can be signed by all members of the board. A Code of Ethics will set clear and precise guidelines that members of the board can follow, and it will help set the framework of how to handle conflicts within their condominium community.

For example: if a director has a relative they want to hire to complete a certain project at the condominium or in the insistence where a director is in breach of a bylaw. The Code of Ethics can help determine the best course of action to address that particular situation.

It can be overwhelming and time consuming for a board to create a code of ethics. So let me help set you in the right direction. New Concept Management Inc. recommends some, if not all of the
following to be included in your code of ethics.

• Honesty and Good Faith
• Care, Diligence and Skill
• Conflict of Interest
• Confidentiality
• Good Conduct
• Education
• Abuse of Proxies
• Support
• Defamation
• Minimize Conflict
• Performance of Duties
• Scope of Authority
• Agreement
• Unsanctioned Board Meetings

When you as a board create your code of ethics, be sure to define in detail and set the parameters for each of the codes. This way, there is clear understanding behind the meaning of the rules. Also, don’t forget to sign and date your code of ethics.

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