“They can’t get away with this, can they?”
That’s what a friend asked me the other day, when a truck pulled up at 12:30am on a Saturday night, and workers got out, with flashlights, and scurried into a condo construction site to complete work under the radar when seemingly nobody was looking.
There are rules for condo construction, and noise by-laws, but do they do any good? Are they actually enforced?
A blog reader emailed me a video the other day, which shows EXACTLY what is going on at 7:01am. Listen to the noise, and just realize that only some of it is captured on video…
Any questions about construction guidelines?
Well, our good ‘ole City of Toronto has a web page that accurately outlines rules, regulations, and “suggestions,” which I find comical at best. Click HERE for the web page.
This is my favourite part:
Communicating with your neighbours
It is important for you to keep neighbours informed of your building plans at all times. Before starting work on your building project, you should:
- Tell your neighbours what is being planned by writing or visiting them personally.
- Tell them how long construction will take.
- Provide them with a way to contact you if they have concerns about the project or if there is an emergency.
- Post your building permit in a prominent area on your property.
When neighbours are fully informed, they tend to be more understanding and supportive of your project.
If only the real world worked like this.
Imagine every Torontonian knocking on their neighbours’ doors? “Hello, my name is Kyle, and I live four houses down. I just wanted to let you know that I’m installing a hammock on my back deck, and I’m going to be using a power-drill for about twenty-five minutes.”
Is the city really this naive?
Or do they just run their website like they’re talking to 5-year-olds?
Silly, amateur websites aside, I’m constantly asked by downtown-dwellers just what exactly the rules are. Nobody seems to know what developers are allowed to do on construction sites, what days/times they can work, etc.
For this, you have to take a look at the City of Toronto Municipal Code, “Noise Bylaw,” which states:
The Noise Bylaw (Chapter 591, City of Toronto Municipal Code) permits operation of construction equipment ONLY during Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and no construction noise on Sundays and statutory holidays (amending bylaw 505-2006).
Monday to Friday, starting at 7:00am.
That’s it, folks!
If you happen to live next door to a construction site, NOW you know what to expect.
It’s a by-law, and it’s not going to change.
Developers run the downtown core, since there is no real “official plan” for the city, and the city doesn’t know how to turn down these massive developmental charges, as well as the eventual property taxes the condos will provide.
I’m surprised they have a by-law at all. I’d think by this point, developers would just tell city officials, “Go back to your desk; we’ll let you know when we need you.”
The video above was shot literally a few minutes after 7:00am, and you can hear trucks backing up making the loud “beeeeep beeeeep” noise as they are required to do when going in reverse, the sound of hammering, sawing, and of course – people yelling at full volume.
It wouldn’t surprise me if this went on past 7:00pm, and it also wouldn’t surprise me if they started before 7:00am too.
Who’s going to do anything about it?
The friend that I referenced in the intro of this blog post – he lives on George Street. He was sitting on his patio one night at 12:30am, and he watched workers sneak into “a construction site” (you can figure this one out on your own…) across the street, and with the help of flashlights, they found their way up the stairs to this building, which was poured concrete but with no glass exterior yet, and they worked all night. They were electricians, so the noise was non-existent. But it goes to show you that some developers (maybe those behind schedule by four years?) don’t care about the rules, and are willing to risk getting caught, in order to cut costs, and work faster.
I’ve always said, “Don’t buy a condo next to a vacant parking lot.”
The whole city is going to be developed eventually, so maybe it’s impossible to avoid.
But we can certainly try.
Oh – and THANK YOU to the City of Toronto for only allowing construction to start at 9:00am on Saturday’s, because, you know – we’re ALL up by then, after a hard week’s work…