Home Owners

Our Renovation

The existing house was a bungalow, the previous owner added a 2 storey section on the east side, a kitchen on the south side and a family room on the south east side. Four buildings each with a separate roof all kind of jammed together . The roof is plagued with problems, a trap to snow and water. The existing roof needs continuous maintenance to prevent leaks. Maintenance consists of re-sealing the flashing where it joins the building yearly, constant cleaning of snow to prevent ice daming.

Our renovation is basically removing the roof, adding a second story over the bungalow section, and putting a new roof over all the buildings making it look more attractive and solve the existing issues with the roof.

The pre SPA submission

On November 27/13 a letter was received from the city that described the results from the pre-submission meeting which took place on November 7/13. Prior to the meeting on Nov 7/13 our Architect, had submitted the necessary documents in order to schedule the meeting.

Timeline of events

  • November 27/13 to Mar 6 /14 was the time spent to prepare all the documents for SPA application submission on Mar 6/14.
  • There was a reply on april 22/14 stating that the “Legal Description” was missing.
  • April 28/14 a reply was sent to the city saying the item was included in the initial package, nothing else was mentioned.
  • On May 29/14 it was stated that a ” Natural Heritage evaluation” was required. Nothing was mentioned of this study in the “Pre-submission meeting document”. This added 2 months to the overall timeline and was a charge of $5000.00 to perform the study.
  • On June 18/14 a quote was received and accepted for the study.
  • July 21/14 the study was completed and submitted to the city.
  • By Aug 12/14 the city confirmed that all necessary documents had been submitted for the SPA process.
  • August 14/14 it was made apparent that an official planning guide exists … (Why now and not sooner)
  • September 22/14 held a meeting with the Mayor to review the progress of my permit and discuss the overall issues with the process. The Mayor agreed the process was overly complex and stated “steps have been taken to simplify the process”. Our particular case should not be as difficult.
  • September 24/14 received replies from all city departments. It seems they did not understand what it was we are planning to do even though the same material was review at the Pre SPA submission state. It seems there is more effort in checking the existing structures on the property to see if they conform to the bylaws.
  • Oct 10/14, due to feedback from the city the survey needs to be revised, a quote has been received, accepted. The survey has been scheduled to take place in approximately 3 weeks and another $2500.00.
  • Dec 5/14, the survey has been complete and submitted to the city for approval.
  • Dec 12/14, the TRCA does not want to meet in advance to review material before  resubmission to the SPA process. Personally, I find it frustrating as the city misunderstood most of the documentation during the initial SPA submission. However they did review the material in advance and said it was OK.
  • Dec 19/14, Resubmitted our documents for another run through the SPA process. The deadline for feedback from all city departments is  Feb 14/15.
  • Feb 12/15, during regular calls to all city departments it was learned that they were all waiting for feedback from our city planner before proceeding. As it turns out our city planner moved onto a new job and our process just grinds to a halt.
  • Feb 13/15, the TRCA has responded very quickly and cleared our issues. Now everything resides with the city and their SPA process.
  • Feb 20/15, feedback from the SPA process was received. Some more requests have been made regarding the overall property dimensions.
  • Mar 6/15, the final city department, Urban Design provided feedback and they are wanting a redesign as the city feels the mass of our proposed design is too big compared to the house beside us.
  • Mar 11/15, Urban Design does not really want to meet with us and discuss the need to change our design. They Insist on a redesign. We have began the process to go to the OMB.
  • Apr 24/15, hired a new Architect to prepare our documents to submit.
  • May 20/15, our new documents were circulated through the city planning department. Our past drawings were missing critical dimensions and did not contain sufficient detail or accuracy.
  • June 11/15, our documents have been sent off to COA, Commity of adjustment. The hearing is to be held in July.
  • July 23/15, Our COA hearing completed with no major issues. The next step is to complete the design on our house and create a complete set of build drawings.

What is the purpose of the Pre SPA submission process? Why was there no check list provided of exactly what we need to do? Why were no milestone dates established. If the city was to question the status of all existing structures on the property why was this not discussed and clarified sooner. Much less time would be wasted through the entire process.

During this process we did learn a few things, the drawings and documents submitted to the city must be consistent, accurate, and detailed enough to show exactly what is being done. Any errors or miss interpretations will cause delays. Typically each iteration through the planning department is 3 to 4 months. Drawings should also not be over complex with double dimensions as this can also lead to confusion.

Each city department will go through these documents looking to make sure you are compliant. Any issues found simply means more delays and more money.

If you are a home owner, tell us your Story or leave a comment of what you think?

4 comments on “Home Owners
  1. Bob Collings says:

    In private companies and most government organizations heads would roll if people were as disorganized and incompetent as the staff in the Richmond Hill building department appear to be. Is the root cause in the building dept itself or have their hands been tied by unworkable regulations dreamed up by the municipal politicians? There is no way it should take more than a few weeks to review a simple building permit. This should be an election issue.

  2. Dan says:

    Mr. Beros, you can not just say I totally agree and not be part of the solution. We have met with you numerous times and we haven’t seen any improvement on this situation. You even admitted to us the problems with the council, you have been elected to help citizens of Richmond Hill. We expect you to follow through and stop agreeing, let’s see some results Councillor.

  3. admin says:

    How do we elevate this issue to bring some attention to it? Do you have any suggestions Mr Beros?

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