Hard Insurance Market Persists Through 2020

Toronto Construction Street View

As insurance companies experience significant losses, adjustments must be made for them to remain profitable. Whereas in the past, insurance companies offered competitive rates with lenient underwriting guidelines, the cyclical nature of insurance has turned this around. Canada is experiencing a hard insurance market where premiums are on the rise and policies are much more difficult to obtain. While some carriers are taking on preferred risks, others have completely stopped writing insurance at this time.

Hard Vs. Soft Markets

Insurance has a life cycle which is characterized by two periods – soft and hard. A soft insurance market reflects lower premiums, broader coverage, relaxed underwriting criteria, more policies, as well as healthy competition among carriers. On the other hand, a hard insurance market reflects higher premiums, strict underwriting criteria, less policies, as well as less competition among carriers. We are currently facing a hard market.

Rise in Premiums + Deductibles

Since the start of the hard insurance market, premiums have been skyrocketing nationwide. British Columbia strata corporations are facing premium hikes between 50% and 300%. Tony Gioventu, Executive Director of the Condominium Homeowners Association, (CHOA), adds that, “deductibles are going from the conventional $10,000 or $25,000 to $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000.”

Subsequently, some condominium boards in Alberta are seeing condo insurance increases up to a 700%. Ryan Chernesky sits on the condo board of a building he owns two units in. In 2018, the premium on the condo building was approximately $51,000. Last year, the insurer declined renewal and only two other companies were prepared to take the risk. The lowest quote was approximately $402,000 – an increase of 690 percent.

“We’ve been told by the insurance companies that it’s to do with the 2016 wildfire and there is an increased risk associated now and various other reasons on a more global scale,” Chernesky said in this article.

Why Now?

Current underwriting standards have been shaped in response to a series of global and local catastrophic events, a lawsuit-first approach, and an increase in construction costs.

In Canada, we have seen an increase year over year in property claims caused by severe weather. It is not just one single event that causes higher claims, but rather a series of events happening across the country.

  • There are approximately 5000 earthquakes that are recorded in Canada every year, with the majority in British Columbia. The risk also exists in eastern Canada, along the St. Lawrence and Ottawa River valleys.

  • In 2016, the Fort McMurray wildfires that swept through Alberta estimated a total loss (direct and indirect costs) of $9.9 billion dollars, with an estimated $3.7 billion in claims.

  • The 2019 spring floods in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have also contributed to the increase in premiums. About, one in three Canadian homeowners are insured for overland flood risk, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said in this article released June 18.
Top Insured Damage Severe Weather Events in 2019 - Insurance Bureau of Canada
Catastrophic events like these have resulted in billions of dollars in losses for insurance companies. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, eight out of the top ten highest loss years on record are between 2010 and 2019.
Top-10 Highest Loss Years on Record - Insurance Bureau of Canada
In addition, the cost of building materials such as brick, wood, and cement has increased. As reported in this article, Rider Levett Bucknail (RLB), an international property and consultancy firm, stated that construction costs in Toronto has been increasing faster than any of the 14 North American markets, which include Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Calgary.
Indicative Construction Costs - Rider Levett Bucknall

Cause + Effect

Insurance companies are taking a closer look at what the actual replacement cost of a building is and are finding that many buildings are underinsured. This may have been acceptable in the past, as a total loss was unlikely, but as natural disasters are more prevalent and building costs on the rise, insurance companies are now requiring buildings to be insured to their full replacement value.

As insurance appraisal experts, Normac stays on top of current construction costs and is aware of industry developments and trends. As a result, we deliver the most accurate and reliable insurance appraisals, and ensure that your properties are protected and always adequately insured to full replacement value.

For a no-obligation proposal, click here.

Climate Change and Canada’s Building Code

Climate change is among the top issues that Canada and many other countries have chosen to tackle. Our efforts to reduce the negative effects of climate change vary drastically and have taken form in several different ways in Canadian society – one of which is revamping building practices.

Over the past ten years, provinces throughout Canada have begun adopting methods and technological advances that would positively impact and reduce our carbon footprint. Many of these advances have made drastic impacts to Canadian building codes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, material waste, and energy consumption. While we have seen these efforts represented more and more with new builds across the country, there is still a large amount of discussion around older properties and the renovations and updates required for adequate progress.

For example, Ontario’s Planning and Growth Management Committee submitted this article in 2017, highlighting requests for further improvements to the Ontario building code in a battle with climate change. The requests (also common amoung other provinces) were as follows:

  • “Continue to expand the list of items in the Ontario Building Code’s list of “green standards” to include incremental energy efficiency provisions for all buildings”
  • “Take measures to discourage the growth of illegal renovation and develop technical support and training for the building industry, building officials and building owners”
  • “Continue to review the Ontario Building Code for other potential amendments to mitigate against the effects of extreme weather such as flooding, ice storms and extended periods of heat and extreme winds. Specific areas which should be addressed include passive cooling measures in buildings, and a review to ensure that climatic data in the Ontario Building Code reflects current conditions.”

The third recommendation is especially interesting, as we are now beginning to view the effects of climate change as something to expect and prepare for its effects rather than just something to attempt to prevent. In fact, the issue of climate change has begun to hit so close to home, that homeowners in Toronto are being offered a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program– a program designed to mitigate flood damage from the ever more common sever weather events.

The issues Canada is facing with the current day impact of climate change is in fact so severe that the Canadian Building Code is expected to be fully reformed with strict guidelines and rules set to take effect 2025. With more frequent wildfires, heat waves, and flooding, our buildings will need to be designed and renovated to meet these new challenges. If these building code changes are ignored, the infrastructure failures associated with climate change could cost Canada $300 billion over the next decade as outlined in this CBC article. There is no doubt that our buildings, roadways, and city systems will take on great changes over the next 10 years in response to the effects of climate change – the question is whether your property is able to begin that process.

Did you know that Normac is Canada’s leading insurance appraisal firm? For more information on or to request a quote, click here or email info@normac.ca. To read more on Canada’s Building Code and Climate Change, click here.

Building a Sustainable Future Through Passive House Designs

2018 has become a critical year for the global community as researchers have warned leaders and policy makers that the world has only 12 years to curb global climate change. This requires urgent action not only on an international scale, but also making drastic changes in how we live our lives and produce goods in Canada.  This is why many policy makers, engineers, and city developers see the need to implement sustainable living and development as buildings create about 56% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than that of transportation and waste combined. One way engineers and design teams are tackling the tremendous issue of greenhouse gases, is through Passive House Designs.

Passive House Design refers to conscious design strategies that help reduce a building’s energy consumption, and often implements reusable energy. Passive Houses achieve their goal of hyper efficiency through the design and implementation of highly insulated building envelopes. The main standards of a Passive House Design are as follows:

  1. Proper Insulation.

Proper insulation reduces energy and heat leaving the home through areas such as window panes. With Passive House Designs developers and designers will want the structures to contain as much heat as possible, so as to reduce using heating systems that push hot air inside and inevitably consuming more energy.

  1. No Air Leakages.

Similar to the definition above, the intent here is to contain the heat and air that is better used within the home rather than letting it escape.

  1. No Thermal Bridges.

In this case, architects and engineers must be cognizant of heat that can easily travel through walls and other means. A good use of design can prevent this from happening.

  1. Proper Windows – Triple Pane Glass.

Windows are common areas to lose heat and by implementing triple pane glass windows this will not only allow for insulation for hot days, but for cold days as well.

  1. Proper Positioning.

This standard refers to the positioning of windows and ventilation systems. The strategy utilizes the natural heat from the sun and allows for heat to enter a home, and when it is warm outside this method also helps contain cool air inside.

  1. HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation).

This component allows for fresh air to circulate without allowing heat to escape in the process. Some buildings have even incorporated sophisticated ventilation systems that circulate air in and outside of homes; by extracting and redistributing warm air to different parts of the structure. This method is quite revolutionary as we can create comfortable heating without emitting CO2.

 

Photo provided by: Passive House Institute

 

Passive House Designs also tend to incorporate other components that help reduce emissions while continuing to produce energy efficient heating and cooling for its occupants, such as solar energy and geothermal energy. This is all done in the effort to prevent climate change, but these design strategies are also great for high density areas with high cost of living. Reducing energy consumption is great for keeping energy and appliance bills low. For those residing in areas such as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver where temperatures change drastically throughout the year, Passive House structures may be coming to you much sooner than you may think! Buildings and developments across Canada are beginning to implement these methods and designs, as well as imbedding them into provincial and municipal standards.

It is possible to reduce energy consumption for a large number of residents, as well as reduce one’s energy bill, all while remaining environmentally conscious. With how quickly technology is advancing, and environmental standards making waves across the country, it’s simply a question of when will your city be implementing Passive House Designs?

For an in-depth look at passive house designs, see this wonderful resource, What is a Passive House? Understanding the Principles Behind This Sustainable Housing Movement.

The Future of Construction – Smart Technology in Building Materials

2018 seems to have been the year of smart home technology as gadgets such as smart locks, lights, thermostats, home assistants and many devices more push past the early adopter stage and are becoming more popular with consumers. All these smart home products can be a great addition for any individual looking to make their home a more comfortable, efficient space – but what about the physical property itself? Basic wood and concrete have been fundamental elements of building construction for centuries, and although construction techniques have certainly improved, there hasn’t been anything necessarily smart about these construction materials until recent developments in building material technology.

What to expect?

While society continues to barrel toward a more tech-based future, new companies are taking advantage of adding smart capabilities to building materials. These developments aim to help make buildings and structures safer, more durable, and technologically capable. Currently, there are a multitude of smart materials in development with applicable uses:

Smart Concrete

Whether a structure is intended for residential, industrial, or commercial use – concrete is a necessary and critical component of any building. Smart concrete is a recent development from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is not only stronger than traditional concrete, but can be monitored wirelessly for strain, stress, and damage before the concrete structure fails. With smart concrete, there will be no need for manual inspection or expensive embedded sensors. The composition of this new concrete can help in detecting areas where damage is present or likely to occur by using voltage monitors.  These monitors allow for timely repairs which is ultimately safer and more cost effective. There are even current developments working to create a version of this smart concrete that can self heal when it comes in contact with water. The applications of this type of concrete are endless, as it requires no special setup or additions as smart concrete is premixed with the necessary material.  To read more on smart concrete, check out this link.

Smart Glass

The future of windows is right around the corner. Smart glass is a new technology that enables glass panels to alter its transmission properties based on a change to either voltage, heat, or light. When a high amount of light is applied, smart glass can dim itself and transition from transparent to translucent.  Given that the glass can respond to a variety of different influences makes this smart material ideal for construction purposes. This glass can be used to replace static building envelopes, with the dynamic ability to respond to climate and adapt accordingly to save costs on electricity, heat, air-conditioning, and even the cost to buy and maintain traditional blinds and curtains. Smart glass is already being used by Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner – more on that here.

Self-Healing Coatings

Self-healing coatings are a revolutionary product set to greatly impact building structures of all types. These coatings are a polymer-based product that can be applied directly to a variety of material, which will repair themselves when influenced by heat, light, or water. The most interesting part about these coatings is they can be used on existing structures, creating self-healing properties for material such as metal, ceramic, paint, glass, and even concrete. Coatings can be used to create building envelopes that can intrinsically correct damage such as scratches, cracks, and even utilize anti-corrosion properties. The application of coatings such as these can potentially save hundreds of thousands in repair and maintenance costs for property owners or managers.

With smart materials such as the above being introduced to the market, we are on track for safer, more reliable, and more durable structures. These structures can respond appropriately to the elements, monitor and repair themselves, and provide useful alternatives to older building components and forms of construction.

Normac is Canada’s premier provider of insurance appraisals, with experience in multi-residential, commercial, light industrial, and unique properties. For more information on the current state of construction or how construction directly impacts the total insurable value of your property – download our most recent eBook here. If you are interested in a no-obligation proposal for an insurance appraisal, request a quote today.

The Legalization of Cannabis: Concerns Pile High for Condo & Strata Corporations

The legalization of cannabis has been one of the hottest topics in Canada since its proposal back in late 2012. Since then, the country has passed Bill C-45 otherwise know as “The Cannabis Act” and has been planning for the legalization of recreational use set for October 17th, 2018. This has left many companies, industries, and government factions scrambling to prepare, including condominium corporations. The multi-residential aspect of condominiums has presented a variety of questions on how corporations will effectively manage and adjust to recreational marijuana use.

The Issues at Hand

The new legislation will permit recreational use of cannabis, the ability to possess and share cannabis up to a certain legal amount, as well as grow a maximum of 4 plants per residence. The regulation of cannabis differs slightly from province to province which impacts the decisions condo boards will have to make across the country. In Alberta, laws will mirror tobacco use except for operating equipment (such as vehicles), which is the same for British Columbia however places where children are present are also prohibited. In contrast, Ontario is banning public smoking of cannabis altogether. The nature of this legislation has many condo boards in Canada racing to revise their bylaws before the legal date, as this CBC article explains. Many proactive condominiums in Canada are considering banning the substance altogether as issues of smoke in units, balconies, and common areas cannot be effectively contained and are bound to impact all others that call the property home via second hand smoke. However, smoke is not the only factor regarding this new legislation, as many condo boards are concerned with the overall issue of smell. As cultivation will soon be legal, concerns are growing about the implications of overall odor as well as excess unit moisture issues and increased utility consumption within the building. Smoking aside, growing cannabis plants in a condo residence is sure to be an issue, as possibilities of damage, voiding insurance, and decreased property value will need to be considered by all condo corporations. A recent article from the Edmonton Journal writes about a similar case in which a condo building was ordered to fix ventilation due to leaking tobacco smoke and the associated odor, costing somewhere in the hundred thousand dollar range.

Realistic Solutions?

The state of cannabis legalization has condos in a tight position, as outright bans on the substance from condo property is essentially the only way to mitigate disputes and potential property damage down the road. Or is it? Many condominiums can stand by previous legislation including the prohibition of consuming combustibles, which will include marijuana. This issue does become more convoluted when considering the medical necessities of some cannabis users and these possible restrictions. Potential human rights issues have been a topic of discussion lately throughout Canada regarding these medicinal users. Furthermore, there are a variety of difficulties and potential legal issues associated with banning as well as enforcing a ban on home grown cannabis as outlined here by a recent CBC news piece. There are multiple additional considerations and possible resolutions that may work for your condominium, and interested readers are urged to review their bylaws and continue to research the potential implications and solutions to help make this historic transition happen as smooth as it can for all residents of condominium properties.

Condo Buildings Gear up for Electric Vehicle Readiness

In March of 2018, the City of Vancouver (COV) approved a bylaw that requires new multi-unit residential buildings to have 100% of parking stalls (excluding visitor stalls) be electric vehicle (EV) ready. This is to say that new buildings are required to have accessible electrical outlets fitted, that will allow multiple residents to sufficiently charge their electric vehicles without overloading an electric circuit. This recent change is a big jump from the city’s previous requirement of only 20% of parking stalls in multi-unit buildings developments to be EV-ready.

Developers must be ready to abide by the bylaw starting on January 1st, 2019, as per the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Program. The program was put into action by the COV with the objective to encourage electric vehicle use, and ultimately improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and help save residents and businesses money in the long run. With ambitions to move into greener and renewable energy in the city of Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vancouver Council believe, “… Embracing renewable energy is crucial to restoring our climate and environment, and generates remarkable economic opportunities. It’s also about improving quality of life, health and affordability—now and for future generations,” (Renewable City Strategy).

So, what does this mean for Vancouver condo developers and its strata corporations?

According to developers currently in the process of building EV ready stations for residents, this may not be much of a shift with regards to cost. As outlined in COV’s Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Program, the additional costs to meet the requirement for 100% of stalls in new multi-unit residential buildings to be EV-ready would be up to $300 per parking stall. Also, reiterated in an interview conducted by Global News, Grant Murray of Concord Pacific says “… the cost of putting it in is not a big [or] serious problem.

The Renewable City Strategy has Vancouver increasing commitment and effort into a greener transition. There are other initiatives like the Curbside Electric Vehicle Pilot Program, that look to implement electric vehicle charging stations (or EVCS) around the city; where charging stations are available to public users, but require them to register their license, sign a licensing agreement, and carry the appropriate level of insurance.

The implementation and support of electric and renewable energy is looking to be a necessary pursuit as researchers from SFU have estimated the amount of EV sales will be rising steadily to about 9,300 to 25,000 units by the year 2024 and will continue rise eventually reaching 30,000 to 35,000 units sold by 2030.

As Canada’s premier Insurance Appraisal provider, Normac is committed to understanding and monitoring green energy initiatives and trends municipalities are implementing. The cost of fitted electrical outlets will impact the value of a building, and thus the building’s replacement costs. For more information or for a no-obligation insurance appraisal proposal, email us at info@normac.ca or request a quote here.

The Shortage of Strata & Condo Managers

The need for qualified strata managers is at its peak in BC and across Canada. There is fast expansion of homes and high rises throughout the Metro Vancouver region, and there are currently more condos in Vancouver than there are property managers to assist in overseeing them. To say the least, the city is quickly becoming a concrete jungle and the trend is sending ripples of repercussions to the Property Management industry.

THE NEED FOR STRATA MANAGERS

Strata Property Managers are an integral part of maintaining strata buildings; they’re responsible for managing and organizing repairs in common property areas of the building, they maintain specific documents and records essential to the maintenance of the building and enforce bylaws as they change over time. So, if property managers are essential to condo buildings and strata properties, why is there such a shortage?

Like many industries, Property Management suffers from a diminishing number of experts in the industry, many of whom are baby boomers, while there is a lack of interest or awareness to enter Property Management by younger generations. From an anecdotal perspective indicated in an article published by Stratawest Management it’s said, “…the industry itself does not have an accurate identity and simply does not fit into what the typical millennial is looking for.”

It’s important for new generations to gain interest in Property Management as Vancouver is estimated to gain 28,000 new strata units in the near future. Currently, the average strata agent is handling anywhere from 17 to 23 stratas, when it’s recommended to be handling about 12 properties at most. With a high volume of properties distributed to each agent and 28K more in construction, those in the industry will be stretched thin and forced to deal with 60 to 80 hours of work a week. This leaves many agents in the industry overworked, properties neglected, deadlines missed, warranties expired and even some properties left without management.

BARRIERS TO ENTRY

There’s also the issue of bringing in qualified strata managers. The veterans of in the industry know the role is not for the faint of heart, because becoming a property manager is essentially becoming a Jack-of-All-Trades. Property Managers are required to be on top of the changing legislations that effect all types of properties, while resolving conflicts internally and externally. They present annual budgets to strata councils, collect strata fees, obtain necessary insurance, and are required to be on- call as an emergency can arise at any moment. It’s a challenging role and obtaining the necessary licensing has been said to be a feat as well.

Other barriers that may be preventing a new flood of property managers include long hours, industry standard for rates and fees that haven’t adapted to the cost of living or even matched prices to compensate for inflation in nearly a decade.

You may say that we are seeing the last vestiges of Strata Managers, the experienced agents retiring and not enough recruits from younger generations entering the industry. This is a cause for concern, as the knowledge is not retained, and many property owners are left with under qualified or in-experienced Strata Managers.

THE SOLUTION

The solution to this problem may be as simple as providing fundamental and sufficient education and awareness of Property Management as a career. Below are some website resources for further information on Property Management as a career in British Columbia:

Rising Construction Costs and the Impact of Tariffs

A noticeable Canadian trend has a lot of residents and potential home owners concerned. For the past few years the growth of condo constructions in various regions across the country, particularly in metropolitan areas like Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, has been on a steady and costly rise.

Earlier this year,  the Atlus Group’s annual report stated that Canada had experienced the tailwinds of economic and employment growth from its previous year, but the cost of owning a home is still a far reach for many. So then why are prices continuing to increase despite what the experts say?

Normac has observed multiple factors that contribute to the rising property and construction costs that make property development, and ultimately home ownership, increasingly challenging.

LOCATION

With single detached home ownership improbable for so many, urban centres are re-zoning and erecting multi-unit dwellings to accommodate this pressure on densification. The cities of Toronto and Vancouver remain leaders with regards to property demand, residential development and price. According to Stats Canada, the price of construction for new residential buildings increased by 9.6% for Vancouver and 8.3% for Toronto, year over year. Both Toronto and Vancouver were noted in Atlus’ report to be the most active markets in Canada with very strong consumer demands.

CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL COSTS & TARIFFS

In an article published by The Globe and Mail, it’s said that Toronto condo prices began to rise aggressively between the years of 2015 and 2017. We know that in recent months the increase in prices are largely due to the prohibitive costs of construction materials.

U.S President Donald Trump has deliberately increased $16.6 billion in tariff countermeasures on crucial components such as steel, aluminium, rebar, concrete and soft lumber. The implementation took place on July 1st, and as one of the United States’ biggest trading partners, Canada and its residents are experiencing the negative repercussions from coast to coast.

For the last few years steel has been on a steady incline worldwide, and will continue to rise up to 40% this year alone. It’s also estimated that aluminium will rise over 15% due, in part, to tariffs. Normac has observed the price of windows – which rely heavily on aluminium materials – to have increased to approximately $1,700/square metres (or $160/square feet) in some instances. Another component essential to the construction of condos and high rises is rebar, it is the steel used to reinforce concrete in condo towers, which has also been subject to President Trump’s tariff war on trading partners. It’s quoted in an article published by Global News, “… rebar makes up around 4 per cent of the cost of a condo tower, meaning a 25 per cent import duty would add up to one per cent in construction costs.” Lastly, B.C’s lumber industry has struggled largely due to frequent forest fires in the B.C interior which has limited lumber supply output while demand continues to soar.

It’s estimated that American tariffs on construction materials will be passed on to consumers and add to over $10,000 to Canadian condo and home prices.

LABOUR

Another trending factor to the surge in pricey condos is that of labour costs. Across Canada there are diminished numbers in skilled labour, and a lack of skilled labour means higher charges by contractors and construction companies. Since December of 2017, Global News has stated Canada’s construction industry has the third largest labour shortage. Additionally, immigration policies have become stricter in Canada and have contributed to the struggle of the construction and real estate industry. Due to matters such as this, labour costs are estimated to increase an additional 2-3% this year alone. BC construction wages are increasing in an upwards trend with no reprieve in sight.

 

(BC Labour Costs – Altus 2018 Construction Cost Guide)

CASE STUDY

In Toronto, the infamous Vaughan condo project is a good example of a development project that was not completed despite having all units sold out. It was estimated to have created 11,000 jobs and provided people in the community with 1,100 units of livable space. Unfortunately, the project was halted and eventually terminated because the developer was “unable to secure satisfactory construction financing.” Whether this was due to a combination of material costs, labour costs, or location, no one yet knows as the developer has not commented on the matter.

As insurance appraisal experts, Normac is always aware of current construction costs and attune to industry developments and trends. As a result, we ensure that your insurance appraisals are accurate, and that your properties are protected and appropriately insured to full replacement value.  For a no-obligation proposal, click here.  

Normac’s 20th Anniversary: Celebrating 20 Years of Service!

2018 marks an exciting year for everyone at Normac – we are celebrating our 20th year in business! And what a wonderful 20 years it has been.  To commemorate this milestone, we’d like to look back upon our last 20 years and all that we have achieved.

Click here to view Normac’s Timeline.

1998 – The Beginning

Cameron Carter, Normac’s founder and President started the company from his home office as a one man show.

He recognized a gap in the insurance appraisal business that he sought to fill: a lack of quality service. He felt he could easily deliver faster, improve customer service and build better relationships, and effectively make Normac’s clients’ lives easier. So, he set out to do a better job than the rest and garnered the support of some insurance brokers who helped him to grow his portfolio.

Interesting fact: Ever wonder where the name Normac came from? It’s Cameron backwards (without the E)!

2000 – First real office and Normac’s first hire

Cam was thrilled with all of the appraisal requests he was receiving, but it soon became too much for just one person. In 2000, Normac opened its first professional office on Spruce Street in Vancouver and the company doubled in size with the hiring of a Client Services Manager! While nervous about taking on another person’s salary, having someone else who shared Cam’s vision was crucial to Normac’s success. In this case, the reward far outweighed the risk and the business began to roll in.

Adding a Client Services Manager to the Normac team was important to preserve one of Normac’s core values: “Do What You Say You Are Going To Do.”

2002 – Master Appraisal Programs Established

This was one of many “a-ha” moments for Normac. Master Appraisal Programs (MAP) were secured in BC with some of the country’s largest property management firms. This trend continues today as property management companies sign on with Normac to ensure consistency, quality, and familiarity for their clients. A MAP is a reflection of the trust and loyalty that Cam set out to deliver from day one.

2005 – First jobs in Alberta

This is the year that Normac’s cross Canada expansion began when we started securing jobs in our neighbouring province of Alberta. Many of the clients that we first appraised 13 years ago are still getting appraisals from us today.

2007 – First Property Loss

One of our appraisal clients experienced a devastating loss in 2007. A manufacturing plant in Alberta was victim to a massive fire that took out most of their facility. For years, the plant has never engaged the services of an appraiser, only estimating their replacement costs. When Normac was referred to them, the Total Insurable Value we provided was $13 million more than what they had been estimating. When the plant burnt down, it was because of Normac’s appraisal that the company was able to endure the disaster and continue to thrive well after the rebuild was complete.  This was a truly validating moment for Normac whose main concern is the security of our clients.

2008 – The Big Move to Downtown Vancouver

With a continually expanding team and a desire to be more central, Normac moved its office to a downtown location at 780 Beatty St.

2011-2012 – New Legislation and New Opportunities

In 2011, BC legislation was passed that mandated Depreciation Reports for all stratas. While it allowed two years for compliance, Normac jumped at the opportunity to deliver Depreciation Reports to current and prospective clients.  For the second time, Normac’s team doubled in size with the hiring of qualified Engineers, Certified Reserve Fund Planners, and additional Client Service Administrators to support this department.

Normac also invested much effort in establishing an automated system to ensure accuracy and efficiency in the funding models. This proprietary system helped Normac cement our reputation for providing accurate, comprehensive, and easy to read reports.

In the first year, Normac presented over 1000 proposals for Depreciation Reports.

2015 – Cameron Carter Nominated for Contributor of the Year

Since the beginning, participation with various industry associations has been an integral aspect of Normac’s success. It’s important for Normac to contribute to the property management and construction industries through sponsorship, speaking engagements, volunteering, and networking. In 2015, President Cam, was nominated for a PAMA Industry Contributor of the Year. Today, we are engaged in over a dozen different association chapters across Canada, encourage our team to pursue various accreditations, and are heavily involved in the promotion of education for all in our industry.

2017 – Expansion to the East Coast

With roots firmly planted in BC and Alberta, in 2017 Normac started receiving inquiries from Ontario. We were quick to set up an office and are continually growing our presence around the greater Toronto area. We have since had an influx of proposal requests from as far east as the Maritimes and are developing programs to fit these markets’ needs.

2018 – Where We Are Today

Today, Normac is the largest provider of insurance appraisals in BC with targets set to match this title across Canada. We’ve experienced steady and sustainable growth thanks to our experienced team, intelligent systems, and the relationships we’ve built with our clients and partners.  We’ve appraised and delivered reports to over 400 hotels, some of the most notable properties in Western Canada’s biggest cities, and continue to expand our reach into the country’s largest and most remote communities.

Looking Forward

When asked what comes next, President Cam Carter responds “Total World Domination” with a chuckle. All jokes aside, Canada and the US seem like a pretty good place to start. Cam is focused on furthering Normac’s reputation as the premier provider of insurance appraisals and building science services. Normac’s goals include refining our technology and systems, increasing efforts to develop the Normac team and company culture (a spot-on Canada’s 100 Top Employers list, perhaps), and further improving the client experience.  Cam believes that there is no “we-made-it” moment; we must always be improving and asking how we can do better. As for new market opportunities, the options are endless.