BC’s Leaky Condo’s

BC’s Leaky Condo’s

The "leaky condo" crisis in British Columbia refers to a period from 1984 - 1999 when numerous multi-unit residential buildings experienced widespread water ingress and building envelope failures, resulting in extensive damages and costly repairs. As a result of this crisis, significant changes were made to the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC) to address the issues and improve building standards. Some of the changes made to the BCBC following the leaky condo disaster include:

  1. Building Envelope Requirements: The building envelope, which includes the walls, roofs, windows, and doors of a building, plays a critical role in preventing water ingress and maintaining the structural integrity of a building. The BCBC introduced more stringent requirements for building envelope design and construction to ensure better protection against water penetration and moisture-related issues.

  2. Waterproofing and Drainage: The BCBC now includes more specific requirements for waterproofing and drainage systems, including improved installation practices, materials, and testing methods. This includes measures such as proper installation of moisture barriers, flashings, weep holes, roof overhangs and drainage systems to effectively manage water infiltration and prevent damage.

  3. Ventilation and Air Barrier Systems: Proper ventilation and air barrier systems (roof and siding) are essential to prevent condensation and mold growth within building envelopes. The BCBC introduced stricter requirements for ventilation and air barrier systems, including guidelines for air tightness testing and the installation of vapour barriers to minimize the risk of moisture-related issues.

  4. Professional Certification and Inspections: The BCBC introduced requirements for professional certification and inspections to ensure that qualified individuals are responsible for the design, construction, and inspection of building envelope systems. This includes the requirement for registered professionals, such as architects and engineers, to review and approve building envelope designs, as well as mandatory inspections during construction and upon completion.

  5. Maintenance and Disclosure: The BCBC now includes provisions for building maintenance and disclosure requirements. Building owners are required to implement regular maintenance programs to ensure the ongoing performance of the building envelope systems, and sellers are required to disclose any known building envelope issues to potential buyers.

  6. Education and Training: The BCBC has placed a greater emphasis on education and training to ensure that industry professionals are knowledgeable about best practices for building envelope design, construction, and maintenance. This includes the development of training programs, guidelines, and resources for architects, engineers, builders, and other industry stakeholders.

These are just some of the changes that have been made to the BCBC following the leaky condo crisis. The goal of these changes is to improve the quality and durability of buildings, reduce the risk of water ingress and building envelope failures, and protect the health and safety of building occupants. It's important for homebuyers to be aware of these changes and work with qualified professionals during the purchasing process to ensure that any potential risks associated with building envelope issues are properly addressed.

Things to look at when buying a home built before year 2000 include: The developer, find out if they’re active, look at their portfolio of projects and google them. Is the building wood frame or concrete? As a rule of thumb, concrete buildings hold their value and quality longer than wood frame buildings. Is the building rain screened? Make sure to check with your Realtor if a building has been fully or partially rain screened. Check the strata minutes and the form B to see in the strata is actively involved in any legal disputes. Take note of any upcoming levies, proposed maintenance fee increases, the amount of funds in the contingency reserve fund and the depreciation report.

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