Important Maintenance and Design Tips for Multi-Family Residence

Multi-family residences have been a part of the Regina and area landscape for many years.  This “communal” style of living is found in practically every culture throughout human history; and, it has been estimated that approximately 35,000 new multi-family residences are built each year in North America to accommodate an ever growing demand. If this is a building structure that you are considering purchasing as a home owner; acquiring as a managed property portfolio; or perhaps developing/re-developing as part of your business plan, there are some key things to consider.  Here are some tips that will help to make your multi-family residence purchase, construction or redevelopment project a pleasant experience – not to mention financially rewarding in the long term.

Structural Systems

The majority of new multi-family residential buildings in Regina, be it apartment style condo’s, multi-unit row house structures or stacked dwellings, typically come together with three main structural components: wood, concrete, and steel.  Not only do these components need to be properly sized and connected to resist loads imposed by typical day-to-day usage; they also need to handle the less thought of and non-typical loads imposed by rare wind events, rare snowfall events, and even rarer earthquake events – the later one we hope will never occur in Regina.

When designing a building structure such as a multi-family residence, Regina Engineer’s are to take into account wind, snow loads and seismic loads caused by events that have a probability of occuring once every fifty years.  That’s actually quite something when you think about it – the majority of people would only experience events such as these only once in their lifetime.  Each area of the province has differing 1/50 year wind loads, 1/50 year snow loads and – believe it or not – 1/50 year earthquake loads.

If you are building new, you can ask your Regina Engineer to walk you through the process of ensuring that load resisting systems for the building structure are designed to handle the 1/50 year loads; however, if you are considering purchasing an existing multi-family residential structure, or renovating one, it would be a good idea to have your Regina Engineer check existing building structural assemblies to ensure it can handle 1/50 year events.  The latter scenario will typically not only help protect your asset, but sometimes may help you receive better insurance rates for your property as well.

Plumbing and Electrical Systems

Quite possibly one of the largest expenses for any multi-unit residential structure is correcting poor plumbing and/or electrical systems, or updating outdated (perhaps unsafe) existing electrical and plumbing systems.

We often times we see poorly installed plumbing and electrical systems – that don’t drain properly, don’t supply water properly, or don’t handle electrical loads properly.  When plumbing and electrical systems have to be corrected, or updated, they typically require the removal of interior finishes such as drywall, and sometimes even insulation and vapor-barrier materials; therefore, it is a good idea to ensure that you get things right the first time.

Ask your Regina Engineer to walk you through the process of ensuring that new systems, or renovations to existing systems, will perform properly.

Green Building Systems

Green technology has never been more in focus than it is today. What started out as a trend for homeowners looking to maximize their budget has morphed into an industry all its own and multi-family resident investors are reaping the benefits. The industry has grown so much that France now mandates that every structure built for the commercial industry must have some form of green technology integrated into the design. For any owner or investor, investing in solar power, gray water systems, and other green technology opportunities will add some cost in the beginning, but will entice renters to the space far more effectively than standard options.  In Canada, starting in January 2019, all new buildings or renovations to existing buildings will require greener building solutions to be integrated into structures.  Ask your Regina Engineer to walk you through the new energy code requirements to find out how your building can become greener!