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    Builders

COVID-19 Pandemic Response: Information for Builders

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

October 25, 2021 Update

In order to protect the health and safety of our employees as well as the homeowners and builders with whom they interact, Tarion has implemented a vaccination policy and screening protocol. 

For details regarding Tarion’s protocols, please refer to our COVID-19 advisory page

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

Important Note: The following questions and answers are intended for general guidance and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. The reader is advised to seek legal advice from their own legal counsel to address their particular circumstances.

  1. What if our employees/trades will not and/or are unable to enter an occupied home due to concerns for their safety?
  2. When am I obligated to complete repairs?
  3. What if a homeowner refuses to allow my reps or tradespeople into their home due to concerns about COVID-19?
  4. How should I handle emergencies?
  5. Is Tarion doing in-person inspections?
  6. What triggers the remobilization phase and Second Notice for the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the addendum?
  7. What happens if I don’t want to do a Pre-Delivery Inspection due to health concerns?
  8. 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.
  9. Can a purchaser refuse occupancy as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?
  10. Can a purchaser not close on an interim closing during the orders due to COVID-19 outbreak reasons?
  11. Will I be able to get a municipal occupancy inspection for my completed home/condo?
  12. Are there formal standards set in place for how "sanitized" a home is upon delivery?
  13. Can we still mail in cheques to pay enrolment fees?
  14. 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?
  15. How would a builder go about requesting changing their bonding/security arrangement?

What if our employees/trades will not and/or are unable to enter an occupied home due to concerns for their safety?

If builders wish to proceed with repairs, but are having difficulty completing repairs due to issues related to COVID-19, including homeowners who are not comfortable allowing outside workers in, homeowners who are not abiding by health and safety measures, or trades/employees who have safety concerns about entering a home, builders should negotiate a repair agreement with the homeowner. 

If builders want to proceed with repairs and are unable to come to a written agreement with a homeowner, then they can  contact Tarion and request an extension under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02 . The request should be submitted to covidextension@tarion.com at least 10 days before the expiry of the applicable repair period. The following information should be provided with the request for extension:

  • The enrolment number(s) for the home(s) affected;
  • The warranty form(s) affected;
  • A complete explanation of the builder’s circumstances (i.e. why additional time is required to complete the repairs);
  • The length of additional time being requested.

Tarion will review the information provided and will contact the builder if additional information is required. Tarion will then confirm whether additional time will be granted and, if so, the length of the additional time. For more information on the process for requesting extensions, refer to our Guidance on Repairs during COVID19 advisory.

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Repairs

When am I obligated to complete repairs?

Tarion expects that all repairs will proceed and that those relating to emergency and health and safety issues will be addressed as soon as possible.


We understand however that some builders may have difficulty completing repairs due to issues related to COVID-19, such as material and trade shortages. For more information on the materials shortages, refer to this advisory. If builders require additional time to complete work, they may enter into a repair agreement with the homeowner to further extend the builder repair timelines, and submit the signed agreement to Tarion.  If they cannot reach an agreement with a homeowner, they can make a request under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02. Requests for extensions should be emailed to covidextension@tarion.com

Please note that Tarion is moving the chargeability assessment back to the time of conciliation and is adding a new temporary COVID-19 exception to chargeability to address issues with supply chains, material shortages and trades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The change in the chargeability assessment timing will take effect on November 29, 2021. This new temporary exception to chargeability will apply to conciliations conducted by Tarion on or after November 29, 2021.  Please refer to the COVID-19 Temporary Supplement to Registrar Bulletin 04 (Effective Nov. 29, 2021) for more information.

If 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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What if a homeowner refuses to allow my reps or tradespeople into their home due to concerns about COVID-19?

If a homeowner is not comfortable granting access to their home because of health and safety concerns, Tarion encourages them to enter into a written agreement with their builder to identify how and when the repairs can be completed, including extending the timelines for the builder to conduct repairs.  If such an agreement is reached, Tarion should be advised. If a homeowner and builder cannot agree to a reasonable extension, they can contact Tarion to request an extension under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02. Requests for extensions should be emailed to covidextension@tarion.com 

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How should I handle emergencies?

Builders are advised to continue to follow the emergency processes outlined in Registrar Bulletin 01 (formerly Builder Bulletin 42) and Registrar Bulletin 02 (formerly 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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Inspections

Is Tarion doing in-person inspections?

Tarion has resumed in-person inspections under strict health and safety protocols. More information on these protocols is available in our advisory [LINK} Virtual inspections may be used in certain circumstances. 

Prior to a conciliation or inspection, a builder will receive a list of the items that will be included as part of the conciliation/inspection and confirmation from the Warranty Services Representative on how the inspection will proceed (i.e. virtually, in-person or a combination).  The builder will be asked to participate in the virtual inspection. The homeowner and builder will be contacted separately by a Tarion representative prior to the inspection to discuss the items that will be reviewed during the inspection.

A Conciliation Assessment Report will be issued to both the homeowner and the builder after the inspection, outlining the warranty assessment for the items that were viewed during the inspection. The assessment will indicate whether the item was viewed virtually or in-person.  The builder will then have the post-conciliation repair period (30 days) to address any warranted items. Please note that Tarion is moving the chargeability assessment back to the time of conciliation and is adding a new temporary COVID-19 exception to chargeability to address issues with supply chains, material shortages and trades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The change in chargeability assessment timing will take effect on November 29, 2021. This new temporary exception to chargeability will apply to conciliations conducted by Tarion on or after November 29, 2021.  Please refer to the COVID-19 Temporary Supplement to Registrar Bulletin 04 (Effective Nov. 29, 2021) for more information.
 

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Unavoidable Delays / Closings / PDIs

What triggers the remobilization phase and Second Notice for the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the addendum?

The determinations for each stage of the process for extending Critical Dates due to Unavoidable Delay must be done on a case-by-case basis by the vendor. Please see the Q&A on COVID-19: Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates.

The timing of remobilization and the Second Notice for Unavoidable Delays should not be governed by whether the ‘outbreak” itself continues or whether the Government of Ontario’s emergency declaration and stay-at-home order is still in place. The COVID-19 outbreak is an Unavoidable Delay event and it is the impacts of the outbreak on the delivery of the home (including the remobilization period) which determine when the Second Notice should be sent. For example, if the vendor has made the assessment of the impacts and believes the impediments to closing are removed, it is permissible to send out the Second Notice.

Do not send out the Second Notice until you are ready. You must take this exercise seriously and act prudently but reasonably in assessing the extra time needed. 

In a circumstance where a Second Notice has already been sent, but there are new and unanticipated impacts from the pandemic or a subsequent surge or wave of the pandemic, then it may be possible for vendors to re-engage the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the Addendum so long as the vendor meets certain requirements. For a discussion of this question and likely requirements please refer to this Q&A on Unavoidable Delays and Critical Dates.

If the Vendor is not able to provide the detailed information regarding the impacts , or cannot satisfy the possible requirements, then Tarion is likely to consider any purported subsequent First Notice as invalid and delay compensation may be a consequence. 

In all circumstances, vendors should properly monitor the length of the impacts of the outbreak, take the time to figure out the anticipated additional delay (Remobilization Period) and then send the Second Notice once you have a reasonable level of comfort that the extra time you have added on to the construction schedule will be sufficient. Re-engaging the unavoidable delay process more than once for a single home may be difficult and you should consult a lawyer. 

For further information on the COVID-19 outbreak and unavoidable delays, please see the Q&A on COVID-19: Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates.

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

Given the state of emergency, we do not consider it absolutely necessary that the PDI occur prior to a closing in the presence of both the builder and the homeowner.

However, it is Tarion's position that:

  • in-person PDIs can happen if participants adhere to provincial health and safety and physical distancing guidelines,
  •  both parties agree to the conditions under which the PDI would be carried out,
  • if one or both parties do not consent to an in-person PDI, we recommend that builders and homeowners each conduct their own separate reviews of the home.

In order to assist homeowners and builders who wish to conduct an in-person PDI, Tarion has put together guidelines available here. Please note that this guidance provides basic information only and is not intended to take the place of public health advice, nor does it constitute legal advice. We recommend that builders and homeowners consult with their legal advisors for any questions regarding risk or liability, and that they monitor current health advice issued by the province.

In the event that one or both parties do not consent to an in-person PDI, we recommend that builders and homeowners each conduct their own separate reviews of the home. Builders should complete their own review of the home or unit prior to possession or occupancy, and document the condition of the home. 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 missing/incomplete items or damages which they discover and believe were caused prior to when they took possession. 

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 possession or occupancy 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 home buyer and builder. We realize this is an unprecedented situation. It is in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings, and Tarion is asking builders to consider the impacts of the outbreak on their purchasers to see if there’s a fair and reasonable agreement that can be reached, and 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 the COVID-19 outbreak?

These are truly unprecedented times and we encourage you to be fair and reasonable when buyers have concerns surrounding COVID-19 . If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what options 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 outbreak 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 outbreak 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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Will I be able to get a municipal occupancy inspection for my completed home/condo?

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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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 outbreak. If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what options 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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Enrolment Fees / Securities

Can we still mail in cheques to pay enrolment fees?

For 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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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 Underwriting analyst on file or emailed to Underwriting@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 Underwriting analyst on file or emailed to Underwriting@tarion.com.

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