Health & Safety: Major Repair Projects

constructionThe summer months are busy construction months as anyone who travels on any 400-series highway in Ontario can attest to (and probably curse)! For condominiums, it might be a window replacement, EFIS system installation, major landscaping project, or parking garage restoration. These major projects bring major responsibilities. 

The Occupational Health and Safety Act contains a number of obligations for condominiums, which will be discussed more in future posts. Some obligations apply specifically to major projects.

The intent of the OHSA is to have one person with overall authority for health and safety on a construction project. This person is called the “constructor”. Ordinarily, the condominium is the “owner” of the property and not the constructor. The general contractor is the constructor. However, if the board and manager are not careful about scheduling projects the condominium could be considered the constructor and become responsible for the health and safety of the entire project. For example, the board and manager must ensure that they do not have multiple contractors working on the property at the same time. If two trades are working on a project at the same time the condominium could become the constructor and assume all of the responsibilities that come with the role.

A CCDC contract is one way to limit the condominium’s obligations and liabilities for health and safety issues. The contract should clearly describe the general contractor as the constructor. There are different forms of CCDC contracts so make sure you are using the correct one before you sign it. The condominium’s engineer can assist with this part of the project too.

Remember that one of your best assets during a major repair project is your engineer. He or she will guide you through the entire project and answer your questions. The engineer will also periodically inspect the work being performed by the contractor to see that it reflects the scope of work and terms of the contract. The engineer may also certify the work so progress payments can be made by the condominium or lender, and help with calculating and dispersing holdbacks. They really do it all!