We have a project currently under construction - a small addition onto an existing house with a full gut and renovation to the existing house and structure. We are very excited to see the progress of the project. The contractor is very professional, organized and knowledgeable. Between the client, the contractor and the architect we have a great team all working together towards an excellent result. The experience so far has been great. There have been hiccups along the way, but with all of our efforts we are overcoming the obstacles together. Here are some progress photos.
There are many rebate an incentive programs available throughout Canada that support sustainable and energy efficient renovation and new construction. Unfortunately the majority of programs are available for commercial development or multi-family dwellings including townhomes and condominiums.
For the typical homeowner based in Toronto, the current options are very limited. For approximately five years the Federal Government ran a very successful program called the Eco-Energy Retrofit. This program provided up to $5,000 for improving the energy efficiency of your home including installation of new windows, adding wall insulation, and improving heating and cooling equipment. The incentive money was relatively simple to receive as long as a prescribed process was followed. Regrettably, this program was phased out in March of 2012.
When undertaking an addition onto your home or starting from scratch with a new build, information is required about the soil on your property to determine its bearing capacity – or ability to withstand loading created by the house, its materials, furnishings and the people inside. This test will help the architect and engineers determine the type and size of foundations required to support your home.
Soils vary from one property to another. In some locations such as Toronto’s west end near High Park, soils are typically very sandy. This provides good drainage, but usually low bearing capacity. Conversely, locations in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood typically have dense, clay-filled soils which support structures well, but also retain water.
Let’s be honest: legal surveys are a boring topic. They are boring, but they’re also important. A real property report – or legal survey – is an important tool. It is essential not only for property resale but also a requirement for any property development – even minor applications such as front yard parking permits in the City of Toronto must be accompanied by a legal survey. They also provide legal definition to the extent of a property; they determine where one property begins and the other ends in relation to its neighbours. In older areas – especially Old Toronto – there can be surprises. The fence doesn’t always sit on the property line. The legal survey may help resolve – or potentially start – neighbourly disagreements.
When a homeowner wishes to develop their property – whether an addition or new construction – they must start collecting information on ‘existing conditions’ – or the state of the property prior to any intervention. Of the required information to document existing conditions, the legal survey is the most important.
Kate Harrison is a licensed architect and is the principal of KHA.