Recap: PM Springfest and CCI-Toronto’s Twitter Chat

This past week, Normac had the pleasure of sponsoring and exhibiting at this year’s virtual PM Springfest. The 2-day event hosted educational seminars related to the property management industry with over 50 sponsors supporting the event.

PM Springfest is an educational conference specifically geared towards decision makers and influencers of the property management industry. The topics that were addressed included building envelopes, legal & regulatory issues, energy & sustainability, technology & innovation, and resiliency. Normac was proud to support this event and was delighted to connect with new and old faces within the industry.

We are optimistic that next year’s event will be hosted in person and look forward to once again supporting PM Springfest. Here is a snapshot of our virtual booth from the event:

 

Coinciding with day 1 of PM Springfest, our founder and president Cameron Carter was one of the panelists for a Twitter chat on Insurance hosted by CCI-Toronto alongside Tom Gallinger (VP, Atrens-Counsel Insurance Brokers) and Katherine Gow (RCM, Crossbridge Condominium Services). The expert panel covered topics such as condominium insurance rates & deductibles, insurance appraisals, role of the insurance broker, and the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance market.

 

Below are some highlights from the event!

On Insurance Appraisals

The event kicked off with a question about insurance appraisals and why/how often they should be obtained. The Ontario Condo Act states that “Subject to a reasonable deductible, the insurance required under this section shall cover the replacement cost of the property damaged by the perils to which the insurance applies.” The only reliable way to determine replacement cost is to have a 3rd party appraiser assess the property. The adequacy of your coverage should be reviewed on an annual basis which will ensure that your condominium is paying accurate premiums.

On Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation, particularly water damage prevention was also addressed during the discussion. As 80% of all condo property losses are due to water damage, it is critical that your corporation take a proactive approach to minimizing any potential loss. Technological advances in leak detection now make it easier to catch unusual water levels at its source before it spreads to other units and common areas. A professional management company will be able to provide direction to the best preventative measures for your condo. Katherine Gow stated, “Your greatest tools for controlling risk will be 1. Standard unit bylaw 2. Deductible recovery bylaw 3. Inspections/programs to reduce water damage, slips and falls and risk of fire”.

On Standard Unit Bylaws (SUBL)

Standard unit bylaws (SUBL) can assist in faster claims processing by providing clarity as to what is covered when disputing a loss. Removing, adding, or modifying items in your SUBL will also have a direct correlation on your insurance premiums as it will either cause your premiums to go up or down according to the changes. When appraising a property, individual betterments and improvements are excluded from the valuation and a SUBL will help define what a condo’s standard finishes are. If a SUBL is not in place, the appraiser would make their best effort to determine the standard finishes. In an effort to save on premiums, we have seen cases of condos amending their SUBLs to a “bare-bone” to transfer some of the risk to their personal policies.

The discussion also touched on several other topics as it related to insurance such as rising lumber prices, charge backs/deductibles, and shared facilities to name a new. To catch up on the conversation, search #CondoChat on Twitter and scroll through the thread from April 21.

Thank you to the panel of professionals for sharing their insights!

  • Katherine Gow, Crossbridge Condominium Services – Tweeting from @KGowCondo
  • Tom Gallinger, Vice President, Atrens-Counsel Insurance Brokers – Tweeting from @CondosCovered
  • Cam Carter, President, Normac Appraisals – Tweeting from @NormacOfficial

How to Request an Insurance Appraisal From Normac

Video Transcription: 


Requesting an insurance appraisal proposal from Normac is simple with the Request a Quote form on our website. Simply head to normac.ca and click the Request a Quote button. 


Fill in all of your contact information and property details and click submit. You can also save and come back later if needed. This form is sent directly to our Client Services team who will provide you with a proposal within 24 business hours.


When you receive your proposal, open the fillable PDF, review the document and quote, and fill out the authorization section. We will need the following to proceed:


1) Your signature, 2) the current insurable value of the property, 3) the date you require the report by, which we recommend aligning with your insurance renewal date, 4) site contact information so we can schedule an on-site inspection, 5) and your insurance broker information, if you would like us to send them a copy of the report.


Sign and return the form to us, along with a copy of the building plans. We will confirm receipt of your authorization and begin working on your appraisal right away. And that’s it! Contact us today for a proposal for your insurance appraisal needs.

What is Actual Cash Value?

We have been receiving more and more inquiries for Actual Cash Value reports. While these are not new, there are many who are unfamiliar with what this report is, how we determine value, and why it is being requested. We hope to address all your questions about Actual Cash Value and some things to consider when requesting them from an appraisal firm.

What is Actual Cash Value?

Actual cash value (ACV) is the total cost of reconstruction for a like-for-like substitute minus its depreciation over time. If this value is being requested from an insurer, it may be because the property has been deemed a higher risk and is therefore not eligible for a full replacement cost valuation.

As an appraiser, how do we calculate ACV?

We would arrive at an ACV valuation by first completing a full replacement cost appraisal and then deducting for physical and functional depreciation on the property since it was built. Considerations prior to the deduction would include current standards of material and design, labour, supervision, contractor’s profit and overhead, architect’s plans and specifications, and sales tax. As a general rule, older properties tend to have higher depreciation deductions.

What do we require?

In addition to the architectural blueprints, we will also require a record of all major maintenance and replacement projects completed since date of original construction. The records should include the year of the work done, and if available, the costs incurred.

Why might a broker suggest ACV?

In the past, ACV policies would most often be written because the owner wanted to save money on premiums. Given the hard market we are in, insurers have tightened underwriting guidelines and in turn are writing less policies for properties that they deem as higher risk due to lack of maintenance or being located in a hazard-prone area.  While a full replacement cost valuation might have been available in the past, it may no longer be an option today as insurers look to reduce their risk.

 

Case Study: New Dawn Enterprises Limited v. Northbridge General

On March 17, 2017, a 132-year-old Cape Breton Island building in Nova Scotia had a major sprinkler failure resulting in significant damages to the property.

 

Upon review of the policy set in place at the time, the actual cash value was unclear, and the property owner (New Dawn) believed the ACV was $1.59 million, while the insurer (Northbridge) said $230,000 –  a difference of $1.36 million. The figures were determined by two independent appraisers after the accident.

 

When calculating ACV, the two appraisers first determined “replacement cost new” – what it would cost to rebuild the property in the event of a total loss. However, different approaches were taken to come up with this value. Northbridge had come up with a $6.67 million valuation using the “unit in place method” and New Dawn’s appraiser had used the “quantity survey method” for a $14.58 million valuation. One key difference between the two valuations is that New Dawn’s appraiser had included the value of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, while Northbridge’s appraiser did not.

 

The appraiser for Northbridge then deducted 71% for physical depreciation but 85% for external obsolescence for an ACV of $290,000 (This figure was averaged down to $230,000, taking into account the value for “direct comparison” at $200,000). On the contrary, New Dawn’s appraiser had deducted 72.73% for physical depreciation and 60% for functional obsolescence for an ACV of $1.59 million.

 

To settle the discrepancy, an umpire selected by the two appraisal firms had determined that the actual cash value was $258,000 – a figure that Northbridge was OK with. New Dawn, unhappy with the outcome, took the matter to court and the judge had ruled the umpire’s findings invalid after contacting vendors hired by Northbridge to make a conclusion. A second umpire was to re-assess the actual cash value.

What can I do to protect my property?

What we can learn from the case of New Dawn Enterprises Limited v. Northbridge General, is the importance of having a clearly defined and supportable estimate of ACV before a loss occurs. Hiring an accredited appraiser who specializes in replacement cost and is knowledgeable in depreciation factors over time is the only way to ensure you are adequately protected. In addition,  a plan to consistently maintain the property to a high standard can assist in avoiding an ACV policy in the first place.

 

 

Normac can help with your ACV needs. Having an insurance appraisal done on an annual basis can give you peace of mind, ensuring you have an accurate and agreed upon estimate of ACV before a loss happens. Please contact our Client Services team directly to inquire about a proposal for this kind if report.

 

More Than Just Condos: All About Bare Land Stratas

Strata Corporations and Bare Land Strata Corporations – What’s the Difference?

In British Columbia, a conventional strata corporation subdivides a building into separate units, commonly known as strata lots. This allows for individual ownership of a strata lot as defined by a strata plan, with the strata lot usually ending at the center of walls, floors, and ceilings. Any part of the building that, according to the strata plan, is not part of the strata lot is referred to as the common property. These typically include hallways, elevators, recreational amenities, and building exteriorsTogether, all the strata lot owners own the common property as a strata corporation and share the fees and responsibilities associated with maintaining it.

 

Stratas that divide a larger piece of land into several strata lots are called Bare Land Stratas (or Bare Land Condominiums in Alberta and Common Elements Condominium Corporations in Ontario). As the name suggests, the purchase of a Bare Land Strata lot means exactly that: a bare lotwith no buildings on the strata lotThe key difference between a Bare Land Strata and a conventional strata corporation is that any building constructed on each bare land lot becomes the responsibility of each strata lot owner for maintenance costs and insurance. The strata corporation has no interest in each strata lot owner’s buildings unless these are referenced to in the strata plan or the bylaws.

 

However, beyond the individual strata lots, there is still common property that the Bare Land Strata Corporation continues to be responsible for. This can include amenity buildings, roadways, walkways, grass, shrubs, trees, septic fields, sewage treatment plans, underground systems services, and more. In most cases of bare land developments you will find single-family dwellings, but this ownership structure can also be utilized for mobile parks, recreational sites, and other property types.

Insuring Bare Land Strata Corporations

At the end of the day, a Bare Land Strata is still a strata corporation, and compliance with the Strata Property Act is expected. The Strata Property Act requires all strata corporations—including Bare Land Corporations—to obtain and maintain property insurance for common property, assets, and buildings shown on the strata plan. Property insurance must be current and cover full replacement cost in the case of a total loss. An annual insurance appraisal determines an appropriate insurable cost for the common assets. 

 

In our over 20 years of experience, we frequently encounter instances of Bare Land Corporations not carrying sufficient coverage for a total loss. A common omission are the underground site services, such as plumbing and electrical. Other common assets such as retaining walls and fencing are often missed. Determining which elements are common property and which are the responsibility of the homeowners is a complicated process and requires extensive research on the part of the insurance appraiser. It involves reviewing all pertinent documents, then taking a careful inventory of the assets to be included and conducting research to determine specific replacement costs. Following this, a consolidated total is then created for the Total Insurable Value.

 

Given the highlevel of detail required in both the analysis and reporting for these appraisals, it is not unusual for a bare land appraisal to take longer than a standard appraisal. This is due to the fact that the appraiser must analyze and estimate costs individually for certain components that would have been otherwise included as part of the building or site improvements.

Ignorance is (Not) Bliss

When it comes to bare land developments, it is vital that no common element is missed. In this reported casea bare land gated complex in the Fraser Valley found themselves ill-prepared for a number of water and sewer-system failures that occurred following a heavy winter seasonThe strata owners were oblivious, believing that the single-family homes they lived in within a Bare Land Strata were no different than owning a single-family home on a standard city lot. The assumption was made that the city would be responsible for maintaining these services. In the end, the corporation found themselves underinsured and owed $250,000 – around $5,000 per home.  

Looks can be deceiving. Avoid the guesswork and review the filed strata plan in the Land Title Registry. Strata plans for Bare Land Strata Corporations should be clearly labelled as a “Bare Land” and will not usually show the outlines of houses located on individual strata lots.

 

For your own peace of mind, continue to educate yourselves and leave the insurance appraising to the experts. 

Reviewing Canada’s Catastrophic 2020

As the hard insurance market ensues into 2021, we take a look at some of the severe weather catastrophes in 2020 that marked Canada’s fourth highest year in insured losses since 1983. On top of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Canada had experienced insured losses to the extent of nearly $2.5 billion. The cyclical nature of the insurance industry means that after a period of severe loss, insurers must increase premiums and impose stricter underwriting guidelines to take on less risk and recoup for losses. The condominium and strata industry in all parts of Canada are at the tail end of it all, with premiums and deductibles on the rise at escalating rates. 

Rain and Snowstorms in Southern Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia

On January 10, overnight temperatures in Ontario rose to new highs of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius prior to the rainstorm. During the two-day storm, Windsor and London had experienced up to 70 mm of rain and Toronto had recorded 78 mm of rainfall. The Ottawa airport had also experienced 34 mm of rain along with 12 cm of both snow and ice. In Montreal, the rain had begun on January 11, where the city recorded 40 mm of rainfall and 13 cm of ice pellets. On January 31, parts of southern British Columbia had experienced up to 140 mm of rainfall that forced the evacuation of dozens of people. The excessive rain and snowfall had led to overland flooding, seepage, and sewer backups with insured losses totalling nearly $140 million across all three provinces.

Fort McMurray Flooding

On April 26, the Athabasca River saw an alarming escalation in water levels due to a 25-kilometre ice jam, which resulted in major flooding of the downtown Fort McMurray area causing $562 million in insured damageAccording to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the flooding had damaged more than 1,200 properties and displaced 13,000 residents by May 3.  At the time of this incident, overland flood coverage had still been relatively new in Canada and was extremely hard to obtain in flood-prone areas. As a result, many homeowners either lacked sufficient coverage or did not have any at all.

Calgary Hailstorm and Central and Southern Alberta Storms
A month after the Fort McMurray flooding, Calgary was now at the center of the fourthlargest insured loss in Canadian history. On June 13, northeast Calgary had experienced hailstones the size of tennis balls at a speed of 80 to 100 kilometres per hour. Over 70,000 properties and vehicles were destroyed by the hailstorm and many are having to deal with high out-of-pocket deductibles to cover for the damage. Between the months of July and August, Central and Southern Alberta had also faced a series of severe weather patterns totalling an additional $221 million. Condominium insurance premiums in Alberta increased by 20% between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020 marking the highest increase across the country. 
Ontario Windstorm
On November 15, a tornado reaching speeds of 135 kilometres per hour had hit Southern and Central Ontario, particularly the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Niagara region, Muskoka region, and the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines. Pair with heavy downpours that caused lakeside flooding, 540,000 homes reported power outages with debris scattered over cars and buildings. The total insured damage was reported at $87 million, most of which was to personal property. 
Condo and Strata Premiums Remain on the Rise
As local and international catastrophes contribute to the hard market, efforts have been made across the country to make market conditions more attractive for insurers to return to this market, including relief to unit owners themselves. BC’s Finance minister, Selina Robinson, stated that the NDP (New Democratic Party) has started “to chip away at the various component pieces that would help bring insurance rates down … We’ve made a number of changes. There’s more changes coming.” According to the latest “Home Insurance Price Index” released by Lowestrates.ca, from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020, British Columbia had a year-over-year increase of 18%:  

Alberta had a year-over-year increase of 20%: 

Ontario had a year-over-year increase of 8%:

Having Sufficient Coverage and Paying Accurate Premiums

Given the current market conditions, it is critical that your condo or strata corporation is adequately covered in the event of a total loss. We have seen cases where properties have been underinsured, exposing themselves to unnecessary financial risk and liability. At the same time, we have seen properties carrying excessive replacement costs and, as a result, paying too much for insurance. Having an insurance appraisal done by experts trained in local construction costs ensures that you not only have sufficient coverage on your property, but that your premiums are accurate and in line with the market. 

Why We Celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Today, Normac invites you to wear pink and address bullying in an intentional and meaningful way. Leading up to Pink Shirt Day, our staff have been working on a campaign to open the conversation on bullying and help raise funds for programs that counter bullying behaviour. Heres what a few of our team members have to say: 

What is Pink Shirt Day?

Pink Shirt Day is an international movement with Canadian roots. It all started with a small act of kindness. 

 

Travis Price and Davis Sheppard were high school students in a small town in Nova Scotia when they noticed a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Moved by the incident, the pair decided to take a stand by encouraging other students at their school to wear pink in solidarity with the boy who had been bullied. 

 

The response they got was remarkable. Out of 1,000 students attending their school, 850 got on board and wore pink. The movement quickly gained media attention and spread to neighbouring schools and well beyond. Fast forward to years later, pink-themed events are celebrated worldwide as part of anti-bullying initiatives. 

Why Should You Care?

While the majority of preventative measures target bullying in schools, bullying continues well into adulthood. According to a 2020 study 57% of English-speaking older adults in Ontario have been bullied in the last 4 months. Another study identified that 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. Add in normal-than-average screen times to the mix due to COVID-19 and you the perfect ecosystem for increased cyberbullying.

Bullying is a widespread issue that we can all take some responsibility for. Thankfully, it is also something we can all take part in ending. As we continue to feel the repercussions of isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to rely on each other more than ever. 

 

At Normac, workplace wellbeing has long been at the top of our list. While we strive to be the best at what we do through service excellence and quality of performance, we aim to treat our staff just as highly. In a time of remote work, we continue to encourage meaningful interaction and team-building activities within our internal team through various virtual social events. Some of our past events include: a murder mystery escape room, office olympics, and an online Christmas scavenger hunt – including a charcuterie care package sent to all team members across Canada! We also promote self-care among our team through a health & fitness challenge and recently implemented an employee reward and recognition program. This is because we firmly believe that creating a positive, supportive, and healthy work culture can lead to growth opportunities both for our people and our business. 

Team Normac on one of our bi-weekly social Zoom calls celebrating Pink Shirt Day.
Getting Involved on Pink Shirt Day

Join us in taking a stand against bullying. Here are some ways to get you started:  

  • Donate to the Normac Giving Group. Normac is committed to creating an inclusive workplace, and we believe that these skills begin in childhood. 100% of the proceeds go towards charities that cultivate self-esteem and healthy relationships among youth.  
  • Wear pink and share online with the hashtag #PinkShirtDay and #LiftEachOtherUp to help raise awareness.  
  • Buy an official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt at over 80 London Drug stores across Canada. Money made from the sale of Pink Shirt Day t-shirts goes directly to the cause.
  • Above all else, remember to be kind to somebody today. Kindness is always a good place to start, and you just never know what somebody is going through at any given moment.

As we are reminded by the people wearing pink today, a little bit of empathy can go a long way. 

Shared Facilities Agreements: Recent Changes to the Ontario Condo Act

History of Shared Facilities Agreements

When the Ontario Condominium Act was first registered in 1968, it served one main purpose – to provide a set of rules and guidelines for owners of a single condominium to live harmoniouslyHowever, when more than one condominium corporation share assets, this creates a need for different condominiums to get along with each other and can prove to be quite challenging. The recent amendments to the Condominium Act (1998) are meant to provide clarity for these shared assets.

As written:

21.1 Subject to the regulations, if any of the following persons or any combination of them share or are proposed to share in the provision, use, maintenance, repair, insurance, operation or administration of any land, any part of a property or proposed property, any assets of a corporation or any facilities or services, they shall enter into an agreement that meets the prescribed requirements and shall ensure that it is registered in accordance with the regulations. 

This means that for any group of condominiums that share assets, a Shared Facilities Agreement (SFA) must be created. These agreements are designed to provide a framework for determining cost sharing for the assets. 

What is the Root Cause Behind this Recent Change?

Unfair cost allocations have been front and center around what once was a vague iteration of how to split the costs of shared facilities. Previously, under section 113 and 135 of the Act: 

  1. Under Section 113, which states that where a corporation has entered into a SFA prior to the turn-over meeting, then within 12 months following the election of a new board at such turn-over meeting, any party to the SFA may make an application to the courts to amend or terminate the agreement if (a) disclosure of the terms of the SFA was inadequate or (b) the agreement produces a result that is oppressive or unconscionably prejudicial to the corporation or any of the owners;

     

  2. The more general provision, Section 135, which permits an application for the oppression remedy by an owner, corporation, declarant, or mortgagee of a unit. 

Toronto Standard Condominium Corp No 2130 v York Bremner Developments Ltd, 2016 ONSC 5393[1] (“York Bremner”) brought to the forefront some of the frustrations that many condominium corporations faced when it came to Shared Facilities Agreements.

 

In this case, the Court found that York Bremner’s conduct rose to the level of oppression due to unclear disclosure of the terms of the Shared Facilities Agreement. It was determined that the declarant had used unfair terms that was self-favouring and that it was not clearly stated who the Common Facilities Manager was – who would have been solely responsible for managing and allocating the costs for the shared facilities. It is interesting to note that prior to this case, there had been no jurisprudence on the interpretation of Section 113, therefore the case had gone on the basis of first principles. The case has been appealed to the Court of Appeal by the declarant since then. 

Determining Replacement Cost for Shared Facilities

Due to the recent change in the Condo Act, we have received many requests to appraise shared facilities and we expect many more as more condominiums realize that their shared assets must have such an agreement. As insurance appraisers, we are called upon to determine a replacement cost estimate for the shared assets because insurance of those assets is one of the requirements.   

 

We have witnessed a huge variety in the scope and complexity of these Shared Facility Agreements. We have seen simple agreements where two condominiums share a recreational building and the proportionate share of maintenance, repair and so forth is determined by a simple percentage split. We have also completed appraisals on very complex shared facilities where the proportion of responsibility for specific assets such as HVAC systems, pools, amenity rooms, and elevators vary between the corporations but also vary for each asset. As appraisers this means we are tasked with relatively simple jobs in some cases but very complicated jobs in other cases, requiring specific line-item valuations for each asset. 

We have witnessed a huge variety in the scope and complexity of these Shared Facility Agreements.  In some cases, very complicated jobs require specific line-item valuations for each asset. 

The appraiser skill and experience required to do a good job therefore is quite unique for these shared facilities. Before we quote on these jobs, a thorough review of the agreements and other documents must be done to estimate the number of days that will be required. Upon approval, a property inspection takes place and an inventory along with photographs are obtained. Following that, the research into reasonable replacement costs for the assets are done and an appraisal report is created and sent to the client. 

 

Hiring a qualified insurance appraiser can help you check the insurance requirement off your list. An appraisal will help provide clarity of coverage to the different corporations and will help reduce conflicts that may arise.  

Understanding Total Insurable Value

There are two types of appraisals that measure the value of a property in Canada: a market value appraisal and a replacement cost appraisal. A market value appraisal is useful when applying for a mortgage or selling your home, and it uses a specific valuation approach. A replacement cost appraisal on the other hand, also known as an insurance appraisal, is used for insurance purposes.

 

With an insurance appraisal, the value of a property is defined as its full replacement cost, known to appraisers and brokers as the Total Insurable Value.

TIV Explained

The Total Insurable Value (TIV) is the single most important figure in expressing the cost to fully replace a property in the event of a total loss and includes the cost of materials, labour and professional fees, bylaw and building code revisions, demolition and removal expenses, taxes, and inflation.

 

The process of establishing an accurate TIV starts with hiring a professional insurance appraiser from an experienced, third party firm. The appraiser will inspect and assess the property, identify all the physical elements, materials, and systems, review the architectural blueprints, bylaws, declarations, other relevant legal documents, and determine accurate square footage of various sections of the property. After a comprehensive analysis of all available data, an estimate is made, and a report detailing the property and its TIV is created. Insurance appraisers use a valuation method called the Cost Approach to estimate TIV, which determines the cost to reproduce the property or replace it with an equal substitute.

 

Conversely, market value appraisals use different valuation methods, typically the Income Approach or the Direct Comparison Approach. These market valuation methods consider different things, such as the land value or future income that a property is capable of producing. Using an incorrect valuation method when determining TIV would drastically and negatively impact the estimate for placement of property insurance.

 

The insurance appraisal is used to place property insurance and ensure sufficient coverage. If appraised too high, a condominium corporation or property owner might find themselves paying excess amounts of insurance premiums. If appraised too low, the asset is at high risk of being underinsured in the unfortunate event of a total loss. An experienced appraiser who specializes in replacement costs will consider many factors to achieve an accurate and reliable TIV for their clients.

Considerations to TIV

When determining TIV, there are many physical components that must be evaluated: the entire building structure and mechanical systems, both the hard and soft landscaping, all common elements such as amenity rooms or swimming pools, and the typical finishes of units. 

 

In addition to this, there are other critical considerations that will impact the TIV such as type and quality of materials, location, building code and bylaw review, and the cost of demolition.

Structural, Material, and Labour Considerations

Normac relies on our proprietary costing database and local cost guides to assist our team in determining accurate replacement costs. Our costing algorithms are routinely updated to account for material and labour variances from multiple regions across Canada to produce our estimates and valuation updates. As economic conditions fluctuate, so do these variables. Changes to supply and demand, workforce composition, even international trade can all contribute to significant annual construction cost fluctuations.

Our costing algorithms account for material and labour variances from multiple regions across Canada
Location

While land or market value are not considered for TIV, the location of a property can have a substantial impact on the replacement cost.  Many contractors charge more for their services in remote areas than in cities. As access to materials and labour is typically challenging in remote areas, transportation costs are factored into contractor pricing to account for this.

Demolition and Removal

This is another significant contributor to the total insurable value. Not all appraisers include this in their assessment, but it necessary to remove the existing structure before a rebuild can begin. Demolition and removal in urban areas will cost more due to space limitations, traffic restrictions, and permits that may be required. Furthermore, the type of property and frame type has a major impact on demolition costs. As an example, a concrete high-rise would be significantly more expensive on a square foot basis to demolish than a wood-frame low-rise building.

Size of Unit

The size of the units can also impact costs. Although many condo units in downtown apartments are smaller than what you would find elsewhere, smaller apartments still require all the typical amenities and systems such as appliances, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, and HVAC, etc. This compression of expensive components into a smaller space will increase the cost per foot compared to larger units.

Building Code and Bylaw Reviews

Building code and bylaw reviews are an important consideration in determining TIV and require special knowledge of provincial and municipal requirements for building codes. The national building code sets the bare minimum requirements for construction. However, additional requirements vary by each province and each municipality.

 

Due to these variations, bylaws and building codes must be assessed in detail (on a case-by-case basis or annually) as discrepancies between current standards and older structures can reflect large portions of a building’s full replacement value. In some instances, upgrades can account for up to 20% of the TIV. Major upgrades may include additional handicap access such as ramps or elevators, installation of superior fire protection, and extra parking spaces required for new constructions. The knowledge required to complete these reviews in a competent manner is considerable and should be a top of mind for anyone looking for an insurance appraisal company.

Ask Us

In order to determine a replacement cost that is justifiable, all these factors must be accounted for. Property Owners, Strata and Condominium Corporations, Property Managers, and Insurance Brokers have all come to trust Normac for our comprehensive and detailed replacement cost reports.

Normac’s 2020 Year in Review

This year has truly been an unprecedented time for all of us, calling for changes in the workplace and coping with the strain that COVID-19 has had on our day-to-day lives. The team at Normac remained resilient and continued to offer our clients and partners the same excellent service that our company has grown to be known for. As we countdown the last few days of 2020, here are some highlights from this year.  

Note, you can also view this content as an infographic here.

New Website

To kick off 2020, we launched a new website! The goal was to create something modern and user friendly, that easily communicated who we are and the value we provide. This included new graphics, a simplified layout, and smart forms. We are committed to growth and innovation and therefore are always tweaking the site to improve our client experience.

CCI - South Alberta Luncheon

We were a proud sponsor for the CCI-South Alberta Insurance Luncheon. The seminar covered the current landscape of Alberta’s condo insurance market and best practices for condo corporations to prepare for the hard market. We had been given a few minutes prior to the start of the event to share who we are, and had an amazing time mingling with all attendees!

CCI - Okanagan Evening Educational Seminar

We were a proud presenter for an educational seminar held in the Okanagan region. The seminar covered topics on replacement cost values and the strata property insurance market. As one of the keynote speakers, we had the privilege of speaking to the audience on replacement cost values and the importance of insuring to full replacement cost.

Sandwich Making Event

Our head office banded together to hand out 100 meals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We spent the day shopping, assembling, and distributing meals to people facing social health and proper housing challenges. It was an eye-opening experience for our team, where we were able to help out and connect with individuals who live with disproportionate levels of poverty and marginalization.

Sandwich Making Event

Our head office banded together to hand out 100 meals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We spent the day shopping, assembling, and distributing meals to people facing social health and proper housing challenges. It was an eye-opening experience for our team, where we were able to help out and connect with individuals who live with disproportionate levels of poverty and marginalization.

Real Estate Conference in the Sun

We were one of the proud sponsors for the biennial Real Estate Conference in The Sun, this year held in San José del Cabo. A joint PAMA and IREM excursion that hosts property managers and industry partners for educational events, networking, and social activities. A wonderful winter escape from 

the snow!

CCI - Golden Horseshoe Chapter Conference

We were one of the proud sponsors for the CCI-Golden Horseshoe Annual Chapter Conference. The event hosted educational seminars, motivational speakers, and ended with a post reception party at the Courtyard Marriot. We had a great time mingling with industry professionals and thank all those who had dropped by our booth.

CCI - Golden Horseshoe Chapter Conference

We were one of the proud sponsors for the CCI-Golden Horseshoe Annual Chapter Conference. The event hosted educational seminars, motivational speakers, and ended with a post reception party at the Courtyard Marriot. We had a great time mingling with industry professionals and thank all those who had dropped by our booth.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

When it was officially announced that we were in a global pandemic, Normac’s team responded quickly and effectively to ensure no interruption in service to our clients. We enforced strict health and safety protocols for site inspections, moved our teams to work remotely, and set up systems to continue operating business as usual. As an essential service, our biggest priority was maintaining the safety of our clients, staff, and their families, while continuing to deliver exceptional service and reliable valuations.

Virtual Social Events

Pictured here: the Normac team at a virtual murder mystery escape room. 

 

One thing that hasn’t looked the same is our team’s weekly social gatherings. While we are no longer meeting around the beer fridge, we now connect virtually bi-monthly for cocktails, catch ups, and competitions. Our team is made up of some fierce competitors; from trivia to escape rooms and murder mystery experiences, there is no shortage on smack talk.

Virtual Conferences

In September, we sponsored the CAI Virtual Conference followed by the ACR Virtual conference in November. Both were 2-day events hosting a virtual exhibit hall along with several educational seminars held by industry experts on insurance, communications, and property management. It was a great experience for the team given all in-person events are suspended at this time.

Virtual Seminars

With conferences shifting online, so too did educational seminars. We had sponsored a handful of virtual seminars including the “Riding the Insurance Wave” Seminar held by CCI-Golden Horseshoe, CCI – Vancouver’s seminar on Mental Health, as well an Associa-Vancouver seminar on Complicated Stratas. We had also participated in a virtual escape room with PAMA in November!

Holiday Food & Gift Hamper – Adopt A Family

Normac is proud to announce that this holiday season, a family of three will not be hungry. Through the Surrey Adopt a Family program, the Normac team came together to cover the cost of food for a family, along with holiday gifts for their two daughters. We had a delightful time picking out the gifts. In the famous words of Winston Churchill: “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give however, makes a life.”

Normac Christmas Party

With in-person social gatherings not permitted at this time, Normac had moved our annual Christmas Party online! We kicked off the party with a year-end celebratory message from our President, Cameron Carter, followed by an assortment of fun Christmas activities. The celebrations included a Christmas themed trivia & scavenger hunt along with a Secret Santa gift exchange amongst the staff.

Looking Ahead: Normac’s Vision for 2021

As insurance appraisal specialists, we are continuously improving our internal processes to ensure that no update is missed, and all valuations are delivered on time. Combined with the efforts of our dedicated client services team, we aim to pass on cost savings to our clients without compromising on the quality of our work.

Normac has been recognized as an essential service and will continue to provide our services with little to no disruption to our clients. We have adapted to the new norm – implementing new procedures and abiding by the guidelines set out by public health officials. The safety of our staff and clients is of utmost importance. Learn more about our COVID-19 Response.

We sincerely thank all our clients and partners for your trust in Normac and wish you all a happy holiday!