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COVID-19 Pandemic Response: Information for Builders

Tarion is committed to keeping you informed as we continue to work through this evolving situation created by COVID-19. The information below is intended to help answer your questions. As more information becomes available, we will continue to update this page. 

May 15, 2020 Update: 

Recently, the Ontario government announced the beginning of Stage 1 of its Framework for Reopening our Province which involves easing restrictions on industry services and retail, including:

  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction and resuming all construction.
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting, and pool maintenance

The easing of these restrictions does not necessarily mean that the direct impacts of the pandemic are over. The Emergency Order suspending statutory timelines is still in place.  This means Tarion is not conducting inspections, all timelines for homeowners to submit forms are suspended, and there is no requirement for builders to carry out warranty repair work for the duration of the emergency. Tarion encourages vendors to be flexible and work with purchasers to provide the amount of notice that is practical and fair given the circumstances and unique challenges created by the pandemic.

For more information, click on the link below to our Information Sheet for Builders: COVID-19 Pandemic – Possible Effects on Construction Schedules for New Homes as well as the Q&A on Unavoidable Delays & Critical Dates

If you have further questions about the information provided or your situation, please contact our Customer Service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email covid19@tarion.com.

General Advisories

Resources for Builders

FAQ for Home Builders regarding COVID-19

  1. How does the Emergency Order affect repair periods? 
  2. How should I handle emergencies?
  3. Are builders going to be required to compensate homeowners if they pay an outside source for repairs?
  4. If there is a conciliation scheduled when the orders are in effect, will builders have an extension after the orders are lifted to complete repairs?
  5. Will there be a blanket extension after the orders are lifted or will the amount of days left in the repair period before the orders came into effect be factored in?
  6. When the orders are lifted will revised dates be communicated to homeowners and builders?
  7. Can homeowners make builders do repairs during the orders?
  8. Can builders do repairs if all parties agree?
  9. When the order is lifted, can a homeowner refuse access into their home to repair items on 30 day or year end lists?
  10. Are Request for Conciliation (RFC) periods also suspended (i.e., will homeowners that weren’t eligible to RFC before the orders be able to RFC during the orders)?
  11. Are special seasonal deadlines extended by the orders?
  12. Are builders going to get more time to complete grading and sodding on closed houses?
  13. If a condo corporation was in their Request for Conciliation period before the orders were in place, will they be given an extension to RFC after the orders are lifted or will the clock start running from where it left off?
  14. Are there steps a builder can take to continue with the Performance Audit B49 close-out process? In some situations, condo corps have halted all inspections indefinitely due to unavailability of consultants and it is holding back final builder releases.
  15. Does the order affect Technical Audit dates?
  16. Are the interim CSS measures still planned to take effect this spring as previously announced?
  17. How will this Emergency Order impact warranty time periods for homeowners?
  18. Will homeowners still be required to submit warranty claim forms according to existing deadlines?
  19. Will builders be expected to participate in conciliations?
  20. Can a homeowner still request a new conciliation or are they being suspended for now?
  21. Are any conciliations booked in May going to be cancelled for now?
  22. Can we still mail in cheques to pay enrollment fees?
  23. Can builders still enroll new homes?
  24. What happens if I don’t want to do a Pre-Delivery Inspection due to health concerns?
  25. How can a builder tell if a conciliation is cancelled due to the pandemic or if it has been cancelled by the homeowner (and therefore won’t be rescheduled)?
  26. Can builders still enroll new homes?
  27. What happens if I don’t want to do a Pre-Delivery Inspection due to health concerns?
  28. What should builders do if a purchaser insists they can't close due to COVID-19? Does the builder have to return the deposit in this case? Especially when they have chosen all of the material of this new build.
  29. Can a purchaser refuse occupancy as a result of COVID-19?
  30. Can a purchaser not close on an interim closing during the orders due to COVID-19 reasons?
  31. When purchasers ask for a delay in closing due to COVID-19, can we take their request into consideration in setting new critical dates?
  32. Can a purchaser not close on an interim closing during the orders due to COVID-19 reasons?
  33. When purchasers ask for a delay in closing due to COVID-19, can we take their request into consideration in setting new critical dates?
  34. Are there formal standards set in place for how "sanitized" a home is upon delivery?
  35. If the buyer refuses to continue and go ahead choosing their materials online (for example lighting fixtures) therefore the house can't be finished, what are our options?
  36. Can a condo owner get an extension on the 30-day form deadline, if they did take interim occupancy, but did not move in due to the pandemic?
  37. If a builder has bonding money and has a reduced number of units that will move forward this year, how can we request a portion of this security to be returned?
  38. How would a builder go about requesting changing their bonding/security arrangement?
  39. Will I be able to get an occupancy inspection for my completed home/condo?
  40. My licence is due to expire, do I still need to renew it?

How does the Emergency Order affect repair periods? 

All repair timelines are suspended until after the emergency period is declared over so there is no requirement for builders to carry out warranty repair work for the duration of the emergency. This does not apply to emergencies or health and safety issues. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, Tarion will determine how extensions to repair periods will be handled based on the length of the emergency period and other relevant factors.

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How should I handle emergencies?

Builders are advised to follow the emergency processes outlined in Builder Bulletin 42 and Builder Bulletin 49. If homeowners or builders have any questions about their specific circumstance, they should contact Tarion’s customer service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email covid19@tarion.com.

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Are builders going to be required to compensate homeowners if they pay an outside source for repairs?

No, non-emergency repairs would not qualify as essential.

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If there is a conciliation scheduled when the orders are in effect, will builders have an extension after the orders are lifted to complete repairs?

Yes. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, builders will be given a reasonable period of time to complete repairs. This will be determined once the Emergency Order is lifted.

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Will there be a blanket extension after the orders are lifted or will the amount of days left in the repair period before the orders came into effect be factored in?

Once the Emergency Order is lifted, Tarion will determine how extensions to repair periods will be handled based on the length of the emergency period and other relevant factors.

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When the orders are lifted will revised dates be communicated to homeowners and builders?

Yes, when the Emergency Order is lifted, Tarion will send out communications to homeowners and builders as to how extensions will be handled.

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Can homeowners make builders do repairs during the orders?

No.  All construction is allowable in Stage 1 of the government’s reopening plan, but given that all timelines are suspended, there is no requirement for builders to carry out warranty repair work for the duration of the emergency. Once the order is lifted, there will be a reasonable extension before the builder repair period resumes. 

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Can builders do repairs if all parties agree?

All construction is allowable in Stage 1 of the government’s reopening plan, but all timelines are still suspended under the Emergency Order. There is therefore no requirement for builders to carry out warranty repair work for the duration of the emergency. 

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When the order is lifted, can a homeowner refuse access into their home to repair items on 30 day or year end lists?

When the Emergency Order is lifted, homeowners should allow access for repairs.

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Are Request for Conciliation (RFC) periods also suspended (i.e., will homeowners that weren’t eligible to RFC before the orders be able to RFC during the orders)?

Yes, the deadlines for requesting conciliations have been suspended for the emergency period. If a homeowner was eligible to request a conciliation during the emergency period, they will have a reasonable extension after the Emergency Order is lifted to submit their Request for Conciliation.

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Are special seasonal deadlines extended by the orders?

Yes, all deadlines for non-emergency repairs are suspended until the emergency period is lifted by the government.

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Are builders going to get more time to complete grading and sodding on closed houses?

Since all timelines are suspended for the duration of the Emergency Order, builders will receive a reasonable extension to complete exterior work. 

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If a condo corporation was in their Request for Conciliation period before the orders were in place, will they be given an extension to RFC after the orders are lifted or will the clock start running from where it left off?

We encourage condo corps to still submit their request for a conciliation and Tarion will contact them after the Emergency Order is lifted to schedule a date. If they would prefer to wait, they will have a reasonable amount of time after the Emergency Order is lifted to make their request for a conciliation.

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Are there steps a builder can take to continue with the Performance Audit B49 close-out process? In some situations, condo corps have halted all inspections indefinitely due to unavailability of consultants and it is holding back final builder releases.

In response to the government’s Emergency Order, deadlines to submit Performance Audits are suspended for the duration of the emergency. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, Condo Corporations will receive a reasonable extension to submit any Performance Audits that were due during the emergency period.

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Does the order affect Technical Audit dates?

It is anticipated that due to COVID 19, some condominium construction sites may at some point be temporarily closed and Field Review Consultants (FRCs) may need to suspend their site activity. In addition, in response to the government’s Emergency Order, deadlines for B19 reporting are suspended for the duration of the emergency. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, there will be a reasonable extension applied for any B19 reports due during the emergency period. Automatically generated late reporting notices may still be issued, however where delays are due to the pandemic or the Emergency Order, this will not impact the project or reflect on FRC performance. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, full reporting for the time period missed will need to be issued.

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Are the interim CSS measures still planned to take effect this spring as previously announced?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the provincial Emergency Order, the implementation of any interim measures to the Customer Service Standard is postponed. Any updates on the interim measures will be communicated to both homeowners and builders in advance of their implementation.

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How will this Emergency Order impact warranty time periods for homeowners?

All repair timelines are suspended until after the emergency period is declared over. This does not apply to emergencies or health and safety issues. Once the Emergency Order is lifted, Tarion will determine how extensions to repair periods will be handled based on the length of the emergency period and other relevant factors.

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Will homeowners still be required to submit warranty claim forms according to existing deadlines?

Until the Emergency Orders has been lifted, all warranty claim submission deadlines (30-day, Year-End, Second-Year, MSD, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims) are suspended. Homeowners should still submit forms to their builder and to Tarion but are not required to meet the regular statutory deadlines for submitting forms and will not have forms rejected for being late.  Once the Emergency Order has been lifted, homeowners will receive a reasonable extension to submit their forms.

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Will builders be expected to participate in conciliations?

Conciliations, inspections and common element meetings are postponed and will be rescheduled at the earliest possible date after the emergency order has been lifted. The 30-day period in which homeowners must request a conciliation is also suspended until the Emergency Order has been lifted. Once the emergency is over, homeowners will receive a reasonable extension to submit a request for conciliation.

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Can a homeowner still request a new conciliation or are they being suspended for now?

The 30-day deadline by which homeowners must request a conciliation is suspended until the Emergency Order has been lifted. Once the emergency is over, homeowners will receive a reasonable extension to submit a request for conciliation.

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Are any conciliations booked in May going to be cancelled for now?

Yes, all conciliations scheduled in May will be cancelled. Builders will be notified of any further cancellations. Conciliations and inspections that are postponed and will be rescheduled at the earliest possible date after the Emergency Order has been lifted.

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How can a builder tell if a conciliation is cancelled due to the pandemic or if it has been cancelled by the homeowner (and therefore won’t be rescheduled)?

The correspondence that is sent to the homeowner and copied to the builder will indicate the reason for the cancellation. If it is cancelled due to the pandemic, it will state this and note that it will be rescheduled. If it is cancelled by the homeowner, it will state that the conciliation was cancelled at the homeowner’s request and that the file will be closed.

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Can we still mail in cheques to pay enrollment fees?

For renewal or enrolment payments, builders should use the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) feature available in Tarion’s builder portal, BuilderLink. We encourage builders who are not registered on BuilderLink, to set up an account. If you are already a BuilderLink user but do not have EFT permissions and would like to use this method to avoid any delays, please complete the Appointment of Administrator Form. Once you have been granted permissions, you will need to create your EFT Agreement in order for BuilderLink to know where funds are being withdrawn from and agree to have your banking information validated. Once done, there is a 5-7 business day (bank dependent) processing period before you can use this method of payment. Should you have any questions, kindly email builderlink@tarion.com for more information.

If it is not possible to use electronic funds transfer, builders may send cheques via mail, but should be aware they may encounter processing delays.

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Can builders still enroll new homes?

Yes. Builders can still enroll new homes and should submit enrolment payments via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) through BuilderLink if possible.

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What happens if I don’t want to do a Pre-Delivery Inspection due to health concerns?

Given the present health circumstances, we do not consider it necessary that the PDI must occur prior to a closing in the presence of both the builder and the homeowner. We do not believe that a PDI is essential due to the current state of emergency and health directive for social distancing.

In the current environment, we recommend that builders and homeowners each conduct their own review of the home for damages as close to delivery as possible. The homeowner should conduct their own “delivery” inspection as soon as reasonably possible after taking possession. The homeowner should document as best they can (including photos and/or video) any damages which they discover and believe were caused prior to when they took possession. Builders should also conduct their own review of the home or unit prior to turnover, and also document the condition of the home. These reviews should happen separately and do not require the presence of both the builder and the homeowner in the home at the same time.

The records of the homeowner and builder can serve as evidence of the state of the home close to occupancy and may be helpful in the event a dispute arises later as to whether an item of damage was caused by the homeowner or builder.

The PDI form is not a Tarion claim form, so if an item is not noted on the PDI form this does not necessarily impact its warranty coverage. If a homeowner notes an item on their 30-day form which is not on the PDI, the item noted will still form part of their warranty claim. The fact that it was not listed on the PDI will be relevant if is an item of damage such as a chip in a countertop that may have occurred after possession. In this case, it will be helpful for the homeowner to show that they noted the damage as close to taking delivery of the home as possible as noted above, in the event that the claim is not remedied by the builder and the matter comes to Tarion for resolution.

We urge all parties to approach the occupancy of the home and handling of the PDI in a reasonable way in light of the current health situation in the province.

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What should builders do if a purchaser insists they can't close due to COVID-19? Does the builder have to return the deposit in this case? Especially when they have chosen all of the material of this new build.

The terms of closing are set out in each Agreement of Purchase and Sale and are contractual matters between the homeowner and builder. We realize this is an unprecedented situation. But we know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings, so we are asking builders to consider the impacts of the pandemic on their purchasers to see if there’s a fair and reasonable agreement that can be reached. We would also suggest that you speak to your lawyer to review your agreement.

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Can a purchaser refuse occupancy as a result of COVID-19?

These are truly unprecedented times and we encourage you to be fair and reasonable when buyers have concerns surrounding the pandemic. If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what avenues may help their buyers feel safe. We encourage you to keep the lines of communication open and find a reasonable solution that gets to the heart of your buyers’ concerns. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings as quickly and safely as possible.

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Can a purchaser not close on an interim closing during the orders due to COVID-19 reasons?

The terms of closing are set out in each Agreement of Purchase and Sale and are contractual matters between the homeowner and builder. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings, so we are asking builders to consider the impacts of the pandemic on their purchasers to see if there’s a fair and reasonable agreement that can be reached. Builders and homeowners should consult legal advice.

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When purchasers ask for a delay in closing due to COVID-19, can we take their request into consideration in setting new critical dates?

Closing is governed by the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, including the Addendum and is a contractual matter between the homeowner and builder. If both parties agree to delay the closing, this can be done by mutual agreement or perhaps using the unavoidable delay provisions in the Addendum. We encourage builders and homeowners to consult their lawyers for advice on how to work together in this scenario.

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Are there formal standards set in place for how "sanitized" a home is upon delivery?

No. These are truly unprecedented times and we encourage you to be fair and reasonable when buyers have concerns surrounding the pandemic. If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what avenues may help their buyers feel safe. We encourage you to keep the lines of communication open and find a reasonable solution that gets to the heart of your buyers’ concerns. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings as quickly and safely as possible.

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If the buyer refuses to continue and go ahead choosing their materials online (for example lighting fixtures) therefore the house can't be finished, what are our options?

We encourage you to try to work with your purchasers to find creative solutions to overcome obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, if there are issues with making selections, perhaps samples could be shipped to a homeowner’s location for them to review and make their choices. Otherwise, if a purchaser would like to make selections in-person at a décor centre or supplier location, a builder could use either the unavoidable delay provisions (as the pandemic is impacting closing) or mutual agreement with the purchaser to extend critical dates. We encourage builders and purchasers to consult their lawyers for advice on how to work together in documenting any delays.

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Can a condo owner get an extension on the 30-day form deadline, if they did take interim occupancy, but did not move in due to the pandemic?

Until the Emergency Order has been lifted, all warranty claim submission deadlines (30-day, Year-End, Second-Year, MSD, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims) are suspended. Homeowners should still submit forms to their builder and to Tarion but are not required to meet the regular statutory deadlines for submitting forms and will not have forms rejected for being late. Once the Emergency Order has been lifted, homeowners will receive a reasonable extension to submit their forms.

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If a builder has bonding money and has a reduced number of units that will move forward this year, how can we request a portion of this security to be returned?

Questions about security arrangements, should be sent to the L&U analyst on file or emailed to L&U@tarion.com.

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How would a builder go about requesting changing their bonding/security arrangement?

Questions about security arrangements, should be sent to the L&U analyst on file or emailed to L&U@tarion.com.

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Will I be able to get an occupancy inspection for my completed home/condo?

Since some construction has been declared an essential service, most municipalities are offering modified services to conduct inspections on new unoccupied homes and condos. Each municipality has set its own service level and safety protocols, so builders need to contact the applicable municipal building department in advance in order to be prepared.

Builders should also take care to familiarize themselves with the health and safety measures each municipality has put in place for the preparation of inspections, as well as during the inspection itself. Failure to follow these heightened protocols could result in unexpected delays if inspections need to be rebooked.

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My licence is due to expire, do I still need to renew it?

Until the Emergency Order has been lifted, builders are still encouraged to submit renewals on time through BuilderLink or mail, but if they miss their renewal deadline, their registration will not automatically expire. Renewal notices may still be auto-generated via BuilderLink.

This will not apply to builders whose renewals have been refused or whose licences have been previously revoked.

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