Strata Corporations

Strata corporations are typically managed by a professional property manager who is involved in day-to-day activities. If building envelope problems exist, the property manager will often put the onus on the strata council to get more involved. At this stage, a professional engineer is typically hired to provide an opinion on specific issues or the building as a whole.

Owner Involvement

Recommendations to proceed with investigations and repairs are typically made by the strata council. The general membership votes on significant issues at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Special General Meeting (SGM).

Touwslager Engineering Ltd. has worked with strata corporations for many years. We are experienced with the complexities of the bylaws and personalities of individual owners. When the building envelope is the topic, we assist the strata council and property manager in preparing budgets and meeting the ownership. In cases where a building envelope committee has been formed, we will work with that group who then makes recommendations to council.

Members of the strata council and building envelope committee are typically knowledgeable, often through experience with their own building. It is our role to provide the technical assistance and advice so that educated decisions can be made. We also remove the burden from the owners by performing the engineering services required to allow decisions to be made and construction projects to be completed.

Touwslager Engineering realizes that while we may explain everything to the strata council or building envelope committee, it may not be as easy for them to reiterate the same to individual owners. For that reason, we are available for periodic information meetings and these are recommended. For example, we often present at an information meeting before the owners vote for a special resolution. We also present options during the design phase if remediation is required.

Condition Assessment

In many cases, the owners already know they want an assessment of the building. We can discuss the pros and cons of the different options. A visual assessment is a good indicator, but often it does not provide enough evidence to justify a major repair. A full building envelope condition assessment provides a more thorough examination of the building and allows the owners to prioritize the repairs or determine if a full reclad is required.

We have already discussed the general steps for a typical project. The first step for many strata is the aforementioned building envelope condition assessment. Once this is completed and reviewed by the owners, a meeting between the committee and Touwslager Engineering is recommended. This will allow us to answer questions and discuss the next steps, if any are required.

If repairs are required, budgets must be prepared and the strata will likely need to get additional funding. We can assist with budgets and cost estimates, but do not typically get involved in the funding aspect of the project. We can provide assistance to the property manager.

In some cases, the strata have already scheduled or started a repair. Our first building assessment may be concentrated in these areas. While the observed details may not apply to the entire building, it can be extremely valuable to see the building when the cladding and membranes are removed. This gives us an indication of how the building was originally constructed and where improvements could be made.

Design

The design phase is the period when we work closest with the strata’s building envelope committee or strata council. Many decisions need to be made. We will present the issues and options, first at meetings and then later in a report, if desired. The issues and options can be documented so that the owners can later vote on the critical items. It is our experience that the building envelope committee or strata council makes the decisions that do not significantly affect the appearance or overall cost. A vote is often held if the cladding or other significant materials or details are changed. The strata determine which items require votes, but we can provide input and comments based on our experience with other strata corporations.

We will then prepare drawings and specifications matching the scale of the project. The construction documents can be hundreds of pages, consisting of general conditions, scope of work, technical specifications for each building element and each material, plans and elevations, windows schedules, assembly drawings, and detailed drawings.

Construction

During construction, Touwslager Engineering will handle the majority of the workload, with the strata council or committee only being required to attend meetings, review and sign contract documents (which will be fully explained), correspond with and otherwise coordinate the general ownership, and generally perform non-technical tasks. The committee is not required to perform any contractor-related services such as inspections or negotiating with the contractor. The owners may be required to contact the general ownership for access and perform housekeeping tasks, although responsibility for these can all be discussed in advance.

We hope you consider Touwslager Engineering as your building envelope professional. Contact us today if you’d like to discuss your building’s issues.

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Touwslager Engineering Ltd.
Suite 204 - 3882 Napier Street
Burnaby, B.C.
Canada V5C 3E8

Telelphone (604) 299-1906
info@touwslagerengineering.com