Thursday, March 24, 2011

Condo Renovation: Overhaul of a 20-Year Old Unit (Preparation)

As a follow-up to the background we provided last week on Simon's condo, today we'll discuss the process he went through in preparation for the renovation work, including condo management approval, contractor selection and demolition.
1. The Condo Management Approval

  • Permission for Simon's planned renovations was requested from his Condo Management office.   A standard form wasn't required and as a result, Simon simply detailed  the work to be completed, providing photos of the sub-penthouse unit he'd used as a model.  Being that this building was 20+ years old, the condo management team was accustomed to owners completing major renovations.

  • The only requirement from Condo Management was the use of pre-approved floor  padding under the new wood flooring.  Simon's unit was subsequently inspected to ensure this guideline was followed; otherwise, no other inspection was performed.

    Hints & Tips: 
    A newer condo board and/or management team may be more stringent. with respect to renovations.  Residents in newer condos may not be as understanding.  Provide as many photo examples of your plan as possible, along with a mock-up of your planned renovations using a current floor plan that outlines major revisions.

    Hints & Tips:
      Given the frequency of renovation requests in an older building,  written approval may not be necessary; however, you should always request approval in writing to be on the safe side.
2. Selecting a Contractor

  • Simon was referred to a contractor by a friend and thus had the opportunity to examine the contractor's work prior to hiring him.

    Hints & Tips:
      A contractor referral from someone you trust is always the best way to go, but that's not always available.  In the past, Simon had scoured websites that provide contractor reviews and ratings, such as

3. The Teardown

  • Before any work was started, all existing flooring was removed, walls that were to be displaced were broken down and kitchen cabinets were taken out.  Simon  and a friend completed the demolition and disposal themselves, without the help of a contractor.

  • Simon sold his old kitchen cabinets and appliances online via Craigslist and Kijiji to buyers who picked up the items from his condo; this allowed him to save on the additional cost of removal or disposal.

  • All other debris that could not be salvaged was disposed of at a municipal disposal facility where he was charged $0.10/kg for disposal from Simon's location (City of Toronto).  Total debris for his demolition totaled 2,000 kg, resulting in an overall charge of $200.

    Hints & Tips: Charges and guidelines may differ from region to region.  For a full list of disposal depots and guidelines:

  • City of Toronto
  • Peel Region (Mississauga / Brampton)
  • City of Vaughan
  • York Region (Richmond Hill, Markham)

Next week, we'll explore Simon's kitchen renovations.