About Leaky Condos; the truth…

This is a follow up to this previous post which you might want to read as a backgrounder.

The control of rain penetration relies on the exterior layer (the wall cladding) of the building envelope assembly to resist all rain penetration.  This requirement has always been a requirement of the building code no matter what the envelope detail is.

Well building envelopes didn’t resist rain penetration, and this was clearly a case of widespread building code violations by the builders and the residential construction industry, and indisputably the main cause of leaky condos.

Following the collapse of the New Home Warranty as a result of so many leaky condo claims, James Hoggan & Associates were engaged by the Urban Development Institute(UDI) for an expensive, but well funded, PR campaign to deflect the blame for leaky condos.

Launching the campaign in 1999, UDI issued a press release that September stating, “UDI believes the (building) code is a major cause of the problem”.  Sure it was a problem; the builders were incapable of even meeting the minimum standard requirements (of the building code – as loose as they were).

The Coalition Of Leaky Condo Owners (COLCO) challenged UDI and the residential construction industry by preparing a motion in March 2000 calling for a complete moratorium on all new residential construction until the supposed cause (the building code) was fixed.

Despite many efforts by COLCO on behalf of owners, the residential construction industry continued to build under the same building code until the British Columbia Building Code changed on December 15, 2006 [for the design and construction of building envelopes for new home construction in accordance with the introduction of Part 9 (2007 Vancouver Building By-law)].

Considering that the BC Building Code didn’t change until 2006, demonstrates how successful the “building code” blame campaign really was in duping the public for the purpose of restoring confidence in the industry.  In fact, many people unfortunately still don’t know the truth today; that is, building code violations are the main cause of leaky condos.


5 thoughts on “About Leaky Condos; the truth…”

  1. I have been able to find information on groups advocating for the leaky condo owners. However, what do you do when you don’t have a leaky condo but the Engineer’s Report says you do?
    Since I am not an expert my opinion carries no weight. Should we seek a second opinion or are we stuck in this situation? Does every building need to be remediated because of some isolated areas of concern?

  2. First of all I need to disclose that I’m not an engineer nor should my opinion be relied upon.

    If a professional engineer has prescribed an envelope system replacement it is probably to rid the owners of the faceseal system that caused the failure in the first place and to replace it with the rainscreen technology (cavity wall) that became Code in 2006.

    Let’s consider the potential homebuyer coming to look at a suite in a building with partial or targeted remediation.

    Do you think that they want to take on the risk of not knowing whether a partial remediated building will leak in the future? This is a very tricky business. What assurances can you give them?

    There have already been many buildings that have taken the partial approach and had other parts of the envelope fail later, some failing again more than once. Fixing things this way has proven to be disastrous.

    The mortgage companies certainly aren’t prepared to take on the risk of partially remediated buildings.

    My understanding is that the Homeowner Protection Office will now fund interest-free loans only once.

    From my personal experience in 1999, I can say that I’m glad the owners in my building chose to do it right the first time so we could move on with our lives, and yes we did get the opinion of a second engineering company which I believe is commonly advised.

    Once we had the certificate of completion for the building the individual suites immediately returned to full market value.

  3. Hello;
    I am trying to find information about leaky condos ‘after’ they have been ‘fixed’ . . . what is the long term prognosis – ie genuinely fixed, no more mold etc., sale price after, consumer confidence after. I am not seeing this discussion on the web but may just not be looking in the right places.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,


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