Will it take deaths to fix the building problem?

Back to this story rotten condos posted in The newspaper last Tuesday. Forty-eight co-owners risk losing everything because their buildings require major corrective work due to construction defects that date back 30 years.

It’s striking, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Leakage problems are commonplace, especially in recent constructions. When it is not the long-term integrity of the building that is threatened, it is the fungi that invade the walls… A plague.

An extreme case

Recently, the show The bill reported a blood-curdling story on the same theme. Another one on the subject. A new condominium building in Gatineau was so poorly constructed that it posed a danger to its occupants. It was at high risk of collapse and fire. At issue, in addition to incompetence and negligence: inspections on construction sites in Quebec, particularly for electrical work, which would be 100 times fewer than in neighboring Ontario.

In the report, we showed a clip where the Minister of Housing Andrée Laforest seemed to find the idea of ​​increasing inspections on construction sites extravagant. People from the industry told him that it would slow down the work.

Quality problems in construction have been deplored for years, particularly in the multi-unit segment. What will it take for the government to tackle it? Deaths?

Remember the absurd story of this dead young woman crushed by a concrete block, in the middle of a restaurant in downtown Montreal. It was in 2009, the piece had come off the wall of the building and had crossed a glass roof before ending its fall on the victim. The coroner responsible for investigating this accident had concluded that Quebec was experiencing significant delays in the safety of public buildings. In the process, the systematic inspection of buildings over five floors had been ordered by Quebec.

We can cite other cases, let’s just mention the collapse, 3 years earlier, of the de la Concorde overpass, in Laval.

It hangs around the house

How many times have I broken your ears with the new condominium legislation? Again last week, I reminded you of the requirements imposed by law 16 on property (study of contingency funds, maintenance book). Readers ask me since when.

It has been three years since the law was sanctioned, and its major aspects are still not in application, because they must be specified by regulation. It’s silly… During that time, I am rambling, and the condominium syndicates are doing what they can to prepare for it.

What I mean is that it drags on in several respects in this sector.

More inspections requested

Another important piece of the legislative framework surrounding co-ownership, Bill 141. This law was intended, among other things, to resolve insurance problems (Bill 16 also, by the band). Fewer insurers are interested in this market because of repeat claims. Some companies don’t even want to protect buildings less than three years old because construction defects are so widespread.

During the consultations to prepare the legislative texts, the representatives of the insurers and the managers of co-ownerships agreed on this point: it was necessary to improve the inspection of the construction sites, because most major defects are invisible once the construction is finished. .

Well no, it was not retained. It’s too complicated, even if it’s done elsewhere.

Too expensive? Ask all the co-owners how much construction defects are costing them today in money, time and stress?

A life with that?

Remedies for latent defects

A word to say that there will not only be 48 households affected in the story reported by The newspaper.

There is obviously material for claims for latent defects. Without wanting to comment on the case before us, lawyer Bryan-Éric Lane recalls the main lines of the question.

An owner has three years after the discovery of a latent defect to take action against the previous owner under the quality guarantee.

The former owner who is the subject of the complaint can then turn against the previous one. And so on. The cascade can go all the way to the probably insolvent company that built and sold the project.

“The defect must exist at the time of the transaction, unknown to the buyer, serious and hidden,” he summarizes.

There must be nervous people!


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