Residential infill construction activity in the City of Toronto has more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. This has led to a growing number of issues for builders working in a densely built environment, and neighbours who face multiple issues when builders do not comply with City regulations and bylaws.
In March 2016, City Council approved a strategy to improve the City’s response to residential construction sites. The inter-divisional strategy led by Toronto Building, aimed at improving the City’s response to residential infill construction issues, is focused on three strategic areas for action:
- Improving the City’s complaint-management strategy to manage and respond to complaints more quickly and effectively;
- Improving communication with residents to provide clear, understandable information, so that they can have issues resolved in a more timely manner; and
- Encouraging good construction practices in the building industry through education, more effective enforcement (tickets/fines), introductory inspections, and increased building inspector knowledge.
Improving the City’s Complaint-Management Strategy
- Dedicated Enforcement Unit to respond to problematic residential infill sites and co-ordinate with other City Divisions;
- Strategic approach to resolve issues in a more timely manner.
Encouraging Good Contractor Behaviour
- Additional Building Inspection – An additional inspection will be required at the beginning of construction and, when necessary, towards the end of a project to encourage timely completion.
- Increased Use of Tickets – A ticketing pilot will be introduced to evaluate if, through the issuance of tickets, builders would comply more quickly when violations are identified.
- Verification of Compliance with Issued Permit – Steps are being taken to strengthen the zoning-related knowledge of building inspectors through additional training. As-built surveys will be required early in the construction process to confirm height and setback requirements, as well as the elevation of below-grade garages.
Improving Communication with Residents
- Dedicated Residential Infill Website – Toronto Building will be working with other Divisions to develop a dedicated residential infill website.
- Best Practices Guide – Toronto Building will facilitate the development of a Best Practices guide on residential infill construction with key stakeholders.
- Construction Site Notice – Requirement for a Notice to be posted on the infill construction sites, containing key project information so residents will be better informed about the project underway and who to contact with concerns.
- A bylaw will be developed with respect to dust control measures as they relate to construction activities in residential areas, to be considered by Council in 2017.