On the list of big maintenance items condo building’s have to attend to in their lifespan include:
- a new roof
- updated plumbing
- exterior remediation
- new windows
- new balcony membranes
- updated lobby and interior hallways
- updated elevator
- remediated parking membrane / parkade
- and more, depending on the building materials used, quality of build, etc.
There are two things that are certain with every condo inspection I’ve ever seen:
1. The inspector will tell you to change the washing machine hose to a steel braided hose (better in preventing leaks).
2. The inspector will say that leaks in the parkade are typical (especially after 10 years or more)
The parkade is an element of the condo that is (typically) fully underground, which, after years of use, concrete settling, landscaping and weather elements, gets worn down and needs remediation (like every other aspect of a condo building). Water can slowly seep into the concrete structure of the parkade and eventually find a hole to drip down. These cracks can cause corrosion on the steel rebars (re-enforcing steel beams) and can jeopardize the structure of the parkade. These types of leaks are common, and often are solved with an epoxy resin injection is used to grout the cracks to prevent the leaks. Once the leaks become worse, or more frequent, a parking membrane remediation project is done.
I was walking through the West End and noticed a building going through what looks like a partial parkade remediation process. It’s almost finished, but you’ll have an idea of what happens.
Parkade Membrane Repairs
Generally, parkades are built maximizing the entire size of the lot, meaning the parkade extends underground beyond just the building’s footprint, and is often underneath green space, walkways and gardens. These landscaped areas challenge the parkade membrane since a lot of water can flow freely just above the parkade structure. The parkade membrane is designed to withstand this water (for years) thanks to the waterproof membrane on the outside of the parkade (but underneath the landscaping). Once this membrane starts to fail, it will need a full repair, which is an expensive and large construction job that can take months to complete and is fairly disruptive to the residents.
The process entails:
- Removing all of the landscaping
- Digging down to the Concrete Slab of the Parking Garage
- Replacing the Membrane and ensuring it’s sealed properly
- Re-doing the landscaping and walkways
It’s a big job, and it’s expensive, but as long as the Strata is on top of building maintenance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, a special assessment (special levy) from all owners would be needed to pay for it.
Knowledge is Key!
This blog post isn’t meant to scare you, but inform you of building maintenance. As Real Estate Agents, our job is to do the research necessary to determine where the building stands from a maintenance perspective, and what you need to be aware of for the next few years. The home inspection you’ll have done on the unit and building is also necessary in this process.
Give us a call if you have any questions on the buying process – we’ll make sure that you’re educated on the building systems and what might be upcoming in the future.
Take a look at our blog for more information on Kits Condos and Strata Information.