fbpx
250-412-6595 [email protected]
Electrical Planning Reports for BC Stratas

Electrical Planning Reports for BC Stratas

On December 6, 2023, Order in Council OIC 671-23 was enacted, mandating strata corporations to secure a electrical planning reports. This directive further introduces regulations elucidating the stipulations of this requirement.

The pertinent sections of the Strata Property Act (SPA) and Strata Property Regulation regarding electrical planning reports include:

  •  SPA section 94.1, which obligates strata corporations to acquire an electrical planning report, explicitly stating that this requirement cannot be waived or deferred.
  • SPA sections 92(a)(iii) and 96(b)(i)(A)(IV) specify the financial responsibilities associated with procuring the report.
  • Regulations 5.7 to 5.12 detail the procedural aspects of these requirements.
  • SPA section 90.1(2)(b) is also critical, as it outlines the timing for obtaining a electrical planning reports. This timing is crucial as it affects when an owner can request approval from the strata for proposed modifications to common property, such as the installation of EV charging stations.
  • The electrical planning report has been incorporated into Form B, signifying its significance in the strata documentation.

What is an electrical planning report?

Electrical planning reports serve as a critical resource for strata councils and property owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of their electrical infrastructure. It evaluates the current electrical capacity of buildings to meet future requirements.

Given the evolving energy landscape, such as the transition away from gas boilers in response to environmental policies, this report becomes indispensable. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 outlines a strategic commitment to ensuring that, post-2035, all newly sold and installed space and water-heating systems in British Columbia will achieve 100% efficiency.

An electrical planning report aids strata corporations in planning for a range of upgrades including cooling systems, heat pumps, electric vehicle charging stations, and the electrification of traditionally fueled building systems. By leveraging this tool, strata corporations can strategically plan for future infrastructure needs, thereby circumventing expensive electrical service upgrades.

Which stratas are required to obtain an electrical planning report?

Strata corporations comprising fewer than five strata lots are exempt from the requirement to procure an electrical planning report.

Conversely, the mandate to secure an electrical planning report applies to all other strata corporations, encompassing a diverse range of property types such as condominiums, townhouses, bare land stratas, residential complexes, commercial buildings, hotels, industrial facilities, and various other strata formats.

The obligation to obtain this report is unequivocal, with no provisions for waiver or deferment. This requirement is stipulated under section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act, further supported by regulations 5.8(3) and 5.9, underscoring the universal applicability of this prerequisite across the broad spectrum of strata corporations.

How often must a Strata Corporation obtain electrical planning reports?

The frequency with which strata corporations are required to obtain an electrical planning report primarily involves a single acquisition for most entities. However, strata developments constructed in multiple phases may necessitate additional reports contingent upon the expansion of strata lots. The requirement for a subsequent report upon the introduction of each new phase to the Land Title Office is determined by the number of units incorporated within that phase. For comprehensive details regarding this requirement, refer to Regulation 5.9.

 When must a strata corporation in BC obtain eletrical planning reports by?

The deadline for existing strata corporations (those with strata plans filed on or before December 31, 2023) to secure an electrical planning report is determined by the location of the strata, with deadlines set for either December 31, 2026, or December 31, 2028. Specific guidance can be found in Regulations 5.7 and 5.8.

Strata corporations situated within the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, and the Metro Vancouver Regional District are required to obtain their electrical planning reports by December 31, 2026. For strata corporations located on islands within these districts that are only accessible by air or boat, such as the Gulf Islands, the deadline extends to December 31, 2028.

For strata corporations in all other regions of British Columbia, the deadline is December 31, 2028.

New strata corporations (with strata plans filed after December 31, 2023) have a deadline of 5 years from the date their strata plan is registered at the Land Title Office. This 5-year timeframe also generally applies to new phased strata developments. Further information on these requirements can be referenced in Regulation 5.9

What information is in the electrical report?

The electrical planning report, as mandated by Regulation 5.11, must encompass a comprehensive array of information to ensure a thorough analysis of the strata corporation’s electrical system. The required contents of the report include:

  • The date on which the electrical planning report was prepared.
  • The identity of the individual or entity from whom the report was obtained, accompanied by:
    • A delineation of their professional qualifications.
    • Details regarding any errors and omissions insurance held.
    • The nature of their relationship with the strata corporation.
  •  An assessment of the current electrical capacity of the strata corporation’s system.
  • An inventory of the existing demands on the electrical system, explicitly including:
    • Existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.
    • Systems for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting.
    • Analysis of the current peak electrical demand and available spare capacity.
  • For systems not currently electric, an estimate of the electrical capacity required for potential electrification, especially for heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
  • Projections of future electrical demands, including capacity needs for:
    • Anticipated modifications or installations of heating, cooling, ventilation, and other systems.
    • Future EV charging infrastructure.
    • Recommendations for pragmatic measures to reduce electrical demand.
    • Suggestions for feasible upgrades or modifications to enhance system capacity.
    • Projections of additional electrical capacity achievable through recommended demand reduction strategies or system enhancements.

For the majority of strata properties, including bare land stratas, the utility provides power to a central point for distribution to individual units. In exceptional instances where electricity is supplied directly to each strata lot by the utility, the report need only detail the qualifications of the person preparing the report and confirm the independent electricity supply to each lot, as per Regulation 5.11(3).

Who provides the electrical planning reports?

Section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act mandates that strata corporations procure an electrical planning report from an individual possessing the requisite qualifications, as delineated in Regulation 5.10.

The eligibility to author such a report is contingent upon the classification of buildings within the strata property, as defined under the British Columbia Building Code.

This code distinguishes between two primary types of buildings: “simple buildings” (Part 9 buildings) and “complex buildings” (Part 3 buildings). Buildings exceeding three stories in height or 600 square meters in footprint are categorized as complex buildings (Part 3 buildings). Should there be any uncertainty regarding the classification of a building, it is advisable to consult with the municipal building department or development services department for clarification.

For stratas encompassing Part 9 buildings, the electrical planning report must be procured from one of the following professionals: an electrical engineer, an applied science technologist, or a licensed electrician. Conversely, stratas that include buildings not falling under the Part 9 category are required to obtain their electrical planning report from either an electrical engineer or an applied science technologist.

 Who pays for the electrical report?

The financing of an electrical planning report for a strata corporation can be sourced from either the operating fund or the contingency reserve fund (CRF), akin to the procedure followed for a depreciation report.

To allocate funds from the operating fund, the expenditure needs to be incorporated into the annual budget and subsequently approved by a majority vote at the annual general meeting, as outlined in SPA section 92(a)(iii).

Alternatively, to utilize the CRF for this purpose, a resolution must be adopted by a majority vote during either an annual or a special general meeting, in accordance with SPA section 96(b)(i)(A)(IV).

How long must the Strata Corporation keep the electrical planning reports?

Section 35 of the Strata Property Act enumerates the records that must be maintained by a strata corporation, and it has been updated to include the requirement for strata corporations to preserve any electrical planning reports they obtain.

The Information Certificate (Form B) now includes a revised section (p), inquiring whether the strata corporation has procured any electrical planning reports pursuant to section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act. Should the response be affirmative, it is mandatory to attach copies of all obtained electrical planning reports. This requirement is detailed in the updated Form B – Information Certificate. Similar to other attachments to Form B, the strata corporation is permitted to levy a fee of up to $0.25 per page for these documents.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

6 Proven Strategies for Reducing Utility Bills Within a Strata Corporation

6 Proven Strategies for Reducing Utility Bills Within a Strata Corporation

Strata owners can participate in reducing utility bills and lowering energy consumption through collaborating and advocating for sustainable practices within their strata corporation. By implementing these 6 simple strategies, not only will the strata corporations save on energy costs, but they will also be creating a more eco-friendly and cost-effective living environment for all residents. By reducing energy consumption, strata corporations can contribute to a greener future.

1. Energy-efficient lighting

Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights is a simple and effective way to reduce energy consumption and reduce utility bills in a strata corporation. LED lights use much less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer. This means that strata corporations can save money on electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint by making the switch. LED lights also produce less heat, reducing the strain on cooling systems and leading to further energy savings. By choosing energy-efficient lighting, strata corporations can make a meaningful impact on their energy consumption and create a more cost-effective and sustainable living environment for residents.

Upgrading from High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) High Intensity Discharge (HID) light fixtures commonly found in parking garages to LED lighting has multiple advantages. LED lights are a cost-effective option for cutting energy consumption and electricity expenses as they consume significantly less energy compared to HPS and MH. In addition, LED lights boast longer lifespan and increased durability, minimizing the need for frequent maintenance and replacements, leading to reduced maintenance costs and reduce energy consumption. Moreover, LED lights offer brighter and more consistent lighting, enhancing visibility and safety within the parking garage.

2. Smart Thermostats

Installing smart thermostats has numerous advantages that can help regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption. These advanced thermostats are equipped with features that allow for automatic temperature adjustment based on occupancy and usage patterns. By using real-time data and occupancy sensors, smart thermostats can efficiently regulate the temperature and ensure that the temperature is not set too high or low when the room is unoccupied. This results in more efficient energy usage and significant energy savings, as well as improved comfort levels.

Furthermore, smart thermostats also offer remote access through a mobile app or web portal, enabling you to adjust the temperature from anywhere and make changes to your schedule on the go. These innovative devices provide a convenient and efficient solution to managing your home’s temperature and energy consumption.

3. Water conservation

Installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets is an effective way of reducing water consumption and lowering water bills in a strata corporation. These products use less water without sacrificing performance, making them an ideal solution for reducing utility bills. Additionally, fixing leaks and promoting water conservation habits among residents can significantly contribute to lower water bills. Simple actions such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and fixing leaky taps can all make a big difference in reducing water consumption.

By implementing these changes, strata corporations can reduce their water usage and lower their water bills, making a positive impact on the environment and contributing to reducing utility bills in a strata corporation.

4. Insulation and Weatherproofing

Proper insulation and weatherproofing are key factors in reducing energy bills in a strata corporation. In the winter, these measures can prevent heat loss, reducing the need for heating systems to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. In the summer, insulation and weatherproofing can prevent heat gain, reducing the need for cooling systems to work overtime. By reducing the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling, strata corporations can lower their energy bills and contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

Proper insulation and weatherproofing can be achieved through a variety of methods such as installing proper insulation in walls and attics, sealing air leaks around doors and windows, and installing weather stripping. By implementing these measures, strata corporations can create a comfortable living environment while reducing energy consumption and lower their energy bills.

5. Energy-efficient appliances

Replacing old and inefficient appliances with Energy Star-rated ones can have a significant impact on reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills in a strata corporation. Energy Star-rated appliances are designed to be more energy-efficient, helping to reduce energy waste and save money on energy bills. These appliances use less energy to perform the same tasks, making them an excellent investment for strata corporations looking to reduce their energy consumption and save money on utility bills.

Replacing old appliances with Energy Star-rated ones can range from refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers to lighting fixtures and heating and cooling systems. By investing in Energy Star-rated appliances, strata corporations can reduce their energy consumption, lower their energy bills, and contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

Read more about how smart devices can make your home sustainable.

6. Encouraging residents to adopt sustainable habits

Encouraging residents to adopt energy-saving habits can play a significant role in reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills in a strata corporation. Simple actions such as turning off lights and appliances when not in use, using natural light whenever possible, and taking short showers can make a big impact. By reducing energy waste and promoting energy-efficient practices, residents can help lower the energy consumption of the strata corporation and save money on utility bills.

Additionally, educating residents about the importance of energy conservation and providing tips and resources for energy-saving practices can help reinforce these habits and make them a part of daily routines. By working together, residents can create a more sustainable living environment and reduce their impact on the environment while saving money on their utility bills.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

5 Tips To Help Prepare Your Strata For Winter

5 Tips To Help Prepare Your Strata For Winter

Winter snow is a fact of life in many parts of the world, and if you’re a strata owner or tenant, it can have an impact on your building in more ways than one. To help prepare your strata for winter weather, here are some quick maintenance tips that your strata can follow to make sure your building is ready to face the cold.

1. Identify Hard-to-Heat Areas or Areas That Receive Inefficient Heating

The first step in preparing for potential snow is to identify which areas in your building receive inefficient heating or are hard to heat. This helps ensure that these areas will stay warm throughout the winter months and reduce energy costs associated with heating them. If necessary, consider investing in additional insulation or other measures to increase their efficiency.

2. Take a Look at Your Building Exterior and Look to Fix Leaks Around Door Frames and Windows

Another important maintenance tip is to take a look at your building exterior and look to fix any leaks around door frames and windows. Leaks can allow cold air into the building resulting in higher energy bills, as well as causing damage to walls, floors, furniture, etc. Cold spots can be caused by drafts, single pane windows, lack of insulation, and even central air conditioning systems located near exterior walls.

It’s important to address these problem areas before the onset of winter so that you can reduce energy bills and keep residents comfortable during the colder months. This includes caulking around windows, replacing weatherstripping around doors, sealing cracks with caulk or expanding foam, adding insulation to attics or basements, and installing storm windows if needed.

3. Identify Essential Areas of Your Building That Will Require Heat and Power in Case of Outages

In addition to making sure all leaks are sealed up tight, you should also identify which areas of your building will require heat and power if there is a power outage during the winter months. This includes essential equipment like elevators or fire safety systems as well as common areas such as lobbies that may need additional lighting during dark hours due to earlier sunsets during this time of year.

4. Review Plumbing Areas That May Be Subject To Freezing

Another important maintenance tip is to review plumbing areas that may be subject to freezing due to extreme temperatures during winter snowstorms. Take steps to prepare your strata for winter by properly insulating pipes that may be vulnerable during a freeze and checking up on sump pumps regularly so they won’t fail when needed most! Be aware of equipment that may be subject to damage during a freeze. You should also have a plan in place in case of flooding, such as having sandbags ready to go or knowing where you can go to stay safe and dry.

If you have irrigation throughout your landscaping, make sure it is winterized. This involves turning off your water supply and forcing all residual moisture out through fittings like valves or sprinkler pipes so that when it gets cold outside, there’s nothing left behind to freeze during overnight hours! Winterizing services for irrigation should be completed by mid November each year as this helps avoid costly repairs due to frozen heads in early December.

5. Be aware of any equipment that may be subject to damage during a freeze such as refrigeration units or HVAC systems.

Do your best to prepare your strata for winter and ‘winterize’ these elements where possible by draining equipment that is unused, removing condensate, or heating areas where equipment may be stored if necessary. If  water is pooling on your roof due to melting snow from above or backed up drains below, it’s important for you take action before it causes further damage elsewhere in the building. Identify the cause of the puddles and take steps now – such as cleaning out gutters – to make sure it doesn’t happen again later down the road!

Winter weather can bring with it unforeseen problems within multi-unit dwellings like stratas – but with proper preparation now you can rest assured knowing that your strata will be ready when those snowy days arrive! By following these simple maintenance tips and taking preventative steps against pooling water – you can rest easy knowing your strata will be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws its way this coming season!

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

Prevent Water Damage Before it Happens

Prevent Water Damage Before it Happens

Many people think that insurance is the only way to protect their homes from water damage. However, there are actually many things you can do to prevent water damage before it happens. By setting up a risk management program, you can educate yourself and your community on how to reduce the risks of water damage.

Risk Management Programs
Risk management programs involve educating members on how to protect themselves and their homes, setting up preventative maintenance routines, planning for emergencies, and reviewing your insurance coverage. By taking these steps, you can reduce the risks of water damage to your home.

One of the most important parts of a risk management program is educating yourself and your community on how to protect your homes from water damage. There are many things you can do to prevent water damage, such as fixing leaks as soon as they happen and regularly checking pipes and plumbing fixtures for leaks. You should also have a plan in place in case of flooding, such as having sandbags ready to go or knowing where you can go to stay safe and dry.

Risks can be classified into two types: preventable and unpreventable. Unpreventable risks would be things such as nature-related risks, i.e.: windstorm, hail, lightning.

A risk management program involves:
• educating members on how to protect themselves and their homes;
• setting up preventative maintenance routines;
• planning for emergencies; and
• reviewing your insurance coverage.

Preventative maintenance routines are another important part of reducing risks. By regularly inspecting the common areas and addressing any issues that are found, you can help to prevent accidents before they happen. This can include things like clearing snow and ice from walkways in the winter, checking for trip hazards, and making sure that handrails are secure.

Planning for emergencies is another crucial element of a good risk management program. Having an emergency plan in place will help you to know what to do if something does go wrong. This should include contact information for key personnel, as well as details on where to find important documents. If you have facilities such as a swimming pool or fitness center on-site, you should also have procedures in place for evacuating those areas in the event of an emergency.

Lastly, it’s important to review your insurance coverage periodically to make sure that you are adequately covered in case of water damage. Many homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for floods, so it’s important to know what your policy covers and doesn’t cover. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect your home.

Conclusion:
Strata councils have a big responsibility when it comes to protecting their properties – but it’s not one that they have to shoulder alone. By implementing a risk management program, councils can take proactive steps to reduce the risks associated with owning a strata property. From educating members on how to stay safe to regularly reviewing your insurance coverage, there are plenty of ways to make sure that your strata property is well-protected.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

The Importance of Elevator Maintenance in Strata Buildings

The Importance of Elevator Maintenance in Strata Buildings

Elevators are a staple in nearly all strata buildings, and they play a vital role in the daily lives of residents. But what happens when they break down? Worse yet, what if there’s an accident? That’s why elevator maintenance is so important in strata buildings. Not only does it help keep the elevators running smoothly and efficiently, but it also helps to prevent accidents and injuries. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of having a proper elevator maintenance program in place in your strata building.

Why Is Elevator Maintenance Important?
There are several reasons why elevator maintenance is so important in strata buildings. First and foremost, it helps to ensure the safety of residents. Just like any other piece of machinery, elevators can malfunction and cause accidents. By having a regular maintenance schedule, you can help to prevent these accidents from happening. Secondly, elevator maintenance helps to keep the elevators running smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance can help to identify potential problems before they become big issues, and it can also help to prolong the life of the elevator system. Finally, having a proper elevator maintenance program in place shows that you’re taking responsibility for the safety of your residents and their belongings.

What Does Elevator Maintenance entail?
Elevator maintenance should be performed by a licensed contractor who is familiar with the specific make and model of your building’s elevators. The contractor should inspect the elevators on a monthly basis, and they should perform a more thorough inspection on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. During these inspections, the contractor will lubricate all moving parts, check for wear and tear, and test all safety features. They will also perform a load test to ensure that the elevators are able to safely transport the maximum capacity of people and/or belongings. After each inspection, the contractor will provide you with a report that outlines any problems that were found and any repairs that were made.

Preventive Maintenance is Key to Elevator Upkeep
Elevators are a vital part of any strata building, ensuring tenants can move between floors quickly and safely. But as any property manager knows, they can also be a source of frustration when they break down. No one wants to be stuck in a stopped elevator, or worse, have to call the fire department to rescue trapped tenants.

That’s why having a proper preventive maintenance program in place is so important. By working with a licensed elevating contractor, you can help ensure your elevators are running smoothly and efficiently, and reduce the likelihood of an unexpected breakdown or incident. What you may not be aware of is that having maintenance contract in place with a BCSA‐licensed contractor isn’t a nice to have: it’s your legal responsibility.

Your Responsibility
According to the BC Safety Authority (BCSA), every elevator in a strata building must have a valid maintenance contract with a licensed contractor. This includes hydraulic, traction, and roped ‐ hydraulic elevators. The only exception is for private residences with four units or less; these buildings are not required by law to have an elevator maintenance contract, but it’s still strongly recommended.

If you don’t have a valid maintenance contract in place and an incident does occur, you could be held liable. That’s why it’s so important to work with a reputable, licensed contractor who can provide you with the peace of mind that your elevators are being properly maintained.

The Benefits of Preventive Maintenance
Aside from protecting you from legal liability, preventive elevator maintenance has other benefits as well. For example, by catching small problems before they become big ones, you can help extend the lifespan of your elevators and avoid the need for costly repairs or replacements down the road. And because well-maintained elevators are more efficient than those that aren’t, you can also help save on energy costs over time.

Conclusion:
Elevator maintenance is important for several reasons: it helps to ensure safety, keep elevators running smoothly, improve efficiency, and prolongs the life of the elevator system. If you don’t have a proper elevator maintenance program in place already, we highly recommend that you get one set up as soon as possible. Be sure to work with a licensed contractor who is familiar with your building’s specific make and model of elevator.

 The BCSA’s New Safety Order on Single Bottom Cylinders in Hydraulic Elevators

The British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA) issued a safety order on single bottom cylinders in hydraulic elevators on December 10th, 2010, requiring that Hydraulic Elevators with “Single Bottom Cylinders” be replaced by October 8th, 2015 to comply with the CSA B44 – 2007 “Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators”. This safety order requires all strata buildings with a single bottom cylinder in their hydraulic elevator to submit a compliance plan. If you’re unsure of whether or not your strata building is affected by this order, your best course of action is to speak with your elevator maintenance contractor. They will be able to tell you what type of elevator your strata has and if it has a single bottom cylinder.

Compliance Plans and Notification Forms
If your strata does have a single bottom cylinder, you will need to submit a compliance plan to the BCSA. This compliance plan must detail how your strata intends to bring the elevator into compliance with the safety order. If you have any questions about this process, you can find more information on the BCSA website or by contacting your local authority.

The safety of your strata building’s residents should always be a top priority. With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that your elevator is in compliance with the latest safety standards. If you’re not sure where to start, speak with your elevator maintenance contractor. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your strata.

 

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.