In early May of this year, residential construction in the province was subject to strikes by four different unionized trades. Striking workers in the framing, trim, drywall and tile trades caused home construction in various parts of the province to slow dramatically or completely grind to halt. While the strikes themselves are long over, there continues to be a very substantial impact on builders' ability to complete homes on timelines that meet both their own and their customers' expectations.
We believe that we are in the midst of an unparalleled situation that will be best resolved through clear, open communication between builders and new home buyers. The sheer scope of the industry-wide strikes and their continuing impact on the delivery of finished new homes and condominiums is extraordinary.
Getting construction capacity back up to pre-strike levels has been an unexpected challenge for a number of builders, through no fault of their own or an absence of great effort. Even those trades not on strike were delayed as they had to wait, and continue to wait, for construction sites to return to normal capacity. The strikes also had a much longer than expected impact on the material supply chain for new construction in the province. For example, we are aware of some suppliers who were forced to lay off staff during the strikes, and found it difficult to ramp up deliveries as laid off staff had found new employment elsewhere.
Naturally, these same delays that builders are struggling with may have an enormous impact on some new home buyers. Purchasers may see closing dates for their new homes or condominiums that are no longer realistic because their homes are not ready. Faced with this circumstance, new home buyers should review their Agreements of Purchase and Sale and Tarion.com to understand both their contractual and their warranty rights. At the same time, we strongly encourage purchasers and builders to work together to find mutually agreeable solutions to completion delays during this unprecedented situation.
We believe that purchaser and builder interests are fully aligned on this issue; both want to see homes or condominiums completed and occupied as quickly as possible. Purchasers, who have made what is likely the biggest investment of their lives, are eager to see this new chapter in their lives begin as soon as possible, with the least amount of delay or complication. Builders who are financially and reputationally motivated, will want to ensure that their customers move into their new homes as fast as circumstances allow. So, where necessary, we ask new home purchasers and builders to maintain an open and frank dialogue with each other.
Keep in mind that Tarion backstops what is in fact the builder's warranty. The great majority of purchasers in Ontario enjoy a positive and productive relationship with their builder. We feel it is important and for the mutual benefit of purchasers and builders to communicate openly and find common ground under these challenging and difficult circumstances.
New home buyers with questions relating to the new home warranty, including delayed occupancy, should visit Tarion.com or call 1-877-9-TARION (1-877-982-7466).