How to Time an Exterior Repair Project


In BC’s coastal climate, exterior repair projects are integral to keeping a building watertight, structurally sound, and comfortable for it’s occupants. For multi-unit buildings, most exterior repair projects (such as wall, window, roof, balcony, or parking garage repairs) require a fair amount of planning to make sure the projects run smoothly and on budget.

Timing is key to many aspects of a project. When planning an exterior repair project (big or small), it helps to start with the end in mind and work backwards.

Construction Phase: Exterior projects are usually best carried out in the spring and summer seasons, when cold and wet weather is less of a concern. Many of the materials used on building exteriors are temperature and weather-sensitive. The type of project will also affect when work should be carried out. For example, roofing replacement is generally more weather-dependent than exterior concrete repairs. While winter projects are possible, they often cost more (if temporary heating or weather protection is required) and run the risk of going over schedule due to weather delays. However, if repairs are required to address ongoing leakage or urgent structural concerns, winter projects can be unavoidable. Projects in heated, enclosed spaces, such as work being carried out entirely within a parking garage, may benefit from a winter schedule, as contractors are typically less busy.

Tendering Phase: Projects are often tendered to multiple contractors, so the building Owners can be confident that they are getting competitive pricing and the contractor they choose is the right fit. In the autumn and early winter months, contractors are usually looking for projects to fill their next year’s workload. Tendering projects during this time can allow for more competitive pricing and shorter construction schedules.

Design Phase: The preparation of drawings and specifications (the design) for a repair project typically has less of a time restriction on when this work can occur. However, it can take a considerable number of weeks to prepare the documents, particularly for a large and/or complex project. Sufficient time must be allowed for during the design phase, so that the project can be tendered when desired (see “Tendering Phase”).

Evaluation Phase: Depending on the size and complexity of the project, an evaluation may be required to determine existing conditions needing repair, the extent of repairs, potential phasing and repair options, and cost estimates. In some cases, more information can be obtained from building evaluations completed during the wet seasons, since water leaks will be more noticeable. It should be noted that findings from an evaluation can become outdated if they are over a year old.

Approvals: The approval process between the evaluation, design, tendering, and construction phases can be significant, especially if Owners have specific objectives or limitations. Stratas may benefit by holding information meetings during each phase of the project, to keep Owners informed and/or to get their input on how the project should unfold. If pricing or design changes need to be voted on at an SGM or AGM (for example, if building colours are being changed), the additional time to send out notices for this meeting should be accounted for.

Every project is different and every building and its Owners have different needs. While the timing suggested above is usually recommended for most exterior repair projects, it’s common for a project to follow a different timeline because of other restrictions or demands. Taking on any exterior repair project can be a daunting task. To avoid possible setbacks, it’s important to have knowledgeable people (whom the Owners are comfortable working with) involved in all aspects and phases of the project.

This article was prepared by Michael Chow, a Project Manager at Sense Engineering. Sense Engineering is a consulting firm which provides Restoration Consulting, Capital Planning (including Depreciation Reports) and Warranty Review services, predominantly to owners and managers of existing strata, multi-res, and commercial properties in the BC Lower Mainland. For more information on how Sense Engineering might be able to help you, visit


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