The Leaky Condo Era in Vancouver


The Leaky Condo Era was a period in the 1980s and 1990s in Western Canada, particularly in British Columbia, where there was a proliferation of high-rise and low-rise condominiums built with defective building envelopes. The problem was mainly due to the use of poor quality building materials, improper construction techniques, and inadequate building code regulations.

The result was widespread water ingress and rot, which led to costly repairs, health risks, and financial hardship for homeowners. The problem was compounded by the fact that many of the buildings were constructed with flimsy, untreated wood framing, which accelerated the decay process.

The magnitude of the problem became clear in the late 1990s when many homeowners faced huge repair bills that they could not afford, and some buildings were deemed uninhabitable. The provincial government responded by introducing new building codes and regulations, as well as a program to assist homeowners with the cost of repairs.

Overall, the Leaky Condo Era served as a cautionary tale for the construction industry, regulators, and homeowners about the importance of quality building materials, proper construction techniques, and effective building code enforcement to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

The solution:

A rainscreen is a type of building design that manages moisture by separating the exterior cladding of a building from the rest of the building envelope. The purpose of a rainscreen is to prevent water intrusion, which can lead to damage, rot, and mold growth.

A typical rainscreen system includes a barrier between the exterior cladding and the building envelope, such as a ventilation gap, drainage mat, or air gap. The gap allows air to flow between the cladding and the building, which helps to evaporate any moisture that gets in and reduces the risk of water damage.

Rainscreens are commonly used in modern construction and are particularly important in regions with high levels of rainfall or humidity. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, brick, and stone, and can be designed in a range of styles to suit the architectural aesthetic of a building.