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Wooden buildings hit new heights… Condo developer in hot water with $29 million lawsuit… New offices that feel ‘old school’…


Wooden buildings to hit new heights


Ontario is to allow construction of wooden buildings of six storeys. The province announced yesterday that the new rules will be effective from next year but there seem to be two opposing camps. Those in favour include, not surprisingly, the lumber industry in Northern Ontario and also builders who will be able to create new urban living projects that are more cost-effective. Those against include, again not surprisingly, environmental campaigners who say cutting down trees to build homes isn’t good. There is also a split in opinions of buyers. If builders are able to sell at lower cost that will be enough for some to be persuaded but some will have safety concerns despite rules on roofing and stairways being fireproof. Statistics from British Columbia, where six-storey wooden buildings have been allowed for the last five years, have not shown to be less safe than their steel and concrete counterparts. Read the full story.


Condo developer in hot water with $29 million lawsuit


A Toronto condo owner has launched a class-action lawsuit against a developer over inconsistent water temperatures. The $29 million legal action claims that the wrong valves were fitted in 417 condos in the development by Great Gulf. Owner Etienne de Muelenaere alleges that the company was negligent and that it has failed to act quickly to rectify the issue resulting in injury and property damage. Great Gulf is said to be starting to implement a solution. Law firms say they are increasingly being contacted about issues affecting multiple units in developments including ceilings that are meant to be 9 feet high that are actually eight feet and an underground tunnel that wasn’t built. Read the full story.


New office solutions that feel ‘old school’


An increasing number of firms are seeking a communal feel to their new office premises. For modern businesses it’s goodbye to private offices and sometimes even private desks and hello open plan environments and staff lockers. It may sound a little like your old high school but for many sectors it works better to inspire a collaborative approach to business. When Deloitte’s new Toronto HQ building is finished it will feature this new approach for its 3,500 staff. Having trialled new ways of working at its Langley office it found that the team was more productive. The key to it working is a bright, clean and flexible workspace that employees enjoy working in and get real benefits from not being tied to a single desk or room. As more businesses adopt this kind of layout it remains to be seen what happens to vacancy rates in heritage buildings that cannot necessarily be adapted.  Read the full story.

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