Depreciation reports trigger condo re-roofing boom

Metro Vancouver roofing contractors are crediting B.C.’s new depreciation reports for a boom in... 
Crews from Benchmark Roofing Ltd. rip cedar shingles off a strata complex in Richmond in preparation for a new metal roof | Photo: Richard Lam

Metro Vancouver roofing contractors are crediting B.C.’s new depreciation reports for a boom in roof replacements.

“We are booked through to the end of August if we work six days a week,” said Josh Gibson, co-owner of Benchmark Roofing Ltd. of Coquitlam. “On my desk right now I have three multi-family projects that came in this week and they are all very large.”

As Gibson spoke, Benchmark crews were ripping 60,000 square feet of cedar shakes off a Richmond condominium complex and replacing it with a 24-guage metal roof.  Gibson said depreciation reports are helping to drive the work.

A fairly recent provincial Strata Property Act amendment requires strata corporations document future maintenance and assure sufficient funds are put aside to cover the work. The resulting depreciation reports are meant to inform consumers of what repairs are required for any strata building.

Since depreciation reports were mandated 14 months ago, about 30% of the 30,000 strata corporations in B.C. have completed a report, according to Jeremy Bramwell of Vancouver-based Bramwell & Associates Realty Advisors Inc., which operates one of the largest depreciation report departments in the province.

Strata corporations can opt out of the requirement with a 75% vote among members. As well, smaller condo buildings of five or less units are exempt from the legislation.

About two-thirds of all B.C. strata corporations are Metro Vancouver condominium buildings, and Bramwell said the “larger and more sophisticated” stratas were the first to complete depreciation reports. Many of them are now moving forward with renovations.

“Roofs are the No. 1 project,” Bramwell said. He said companies like Benchmark are preferred because, as members of the Roofing Contractors Association of B.C.(RCABC), all its work is covered by the RoofStar warranty, which is unique in the industry and exclusive to RCABC members.

The cost of replacing a multi-family roof runs from $12 to $15 per square foot.   

A typical roof lasts 20 to 25 years, roughly the age of the first buildings that kicked a Metro Vancouver condominium boom that has apparently never quit. Currently, construction of homes in Metro Vancouver – dominated by multi-family buildings – is worth more than all the resource, manufacturing and industrial construction in the province combined, according to a recent survey done by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies.

For contractors like Benchmark, which specializes in roof replacement, the thousands of older condominium buildings represent a long and bright horizon. “If they don’t replace the roof this year, they will have to do it next year,” Gibson said.

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