Be Prepared: Flexibility is Key in Managing Delays

18 July 2023by Sandy Hill

A couple of weeks ago, I joined some friends at one of our favorite restaurants for a much-anticipated evening out.

Our reservation was for 7:30 but our table wasn’t ready so we waited in the lounge until about 8:00 p.m. and then enjoyed a wonderful meal and great time.

Incidentally, I wasn’t able to wear my new suit to dinner that night as I planned, because despite his original promise, the tailor wasn’t able to hem the cuffs in time.

Since we all enjoyed some wine with our meal, we ordered a cab to take us home, which was a bit late in arriving at the restaurant, as the driver ran into some problems due to some road construction.

So, we all enjoyed an extra cup of coffee while we waited for our ride home.

The message I’m trying to convey is that despite a number of unexpected delays and changes to our plans that evening, we adjusted and still enjoyed a really great night out with fine wine, delicious food and wonderful friends.

The fact is delays are an inevitable reality in our busy lives and often beyond our control. But how we choose to react, adjust or deal with a delay is our decision.

Last year thousands of families in Ontario moved into a brand-new home. Most of them moved into their home pretty much around the time the builder and homebuyer originally agreed upon. However, there were also some cases, where the home was not completed by the original move-in date and both the builder and homebuyer had to deal with a delay in the closing date.

In a survey conducted by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association in 2007 almost 45 per cent of builders surveyed noted that they had had experienced a delayed closing over the previous 12 months.

Fortunately, in Ontario, a delay in the closing date in the construction of a new home is still not commonplace.

Not so in provinces such as Alberta which is experiencing a major housing boom and simply can’t keep up with the demand for new homes right now. In fact, in some cases, builders have refused to sell homes to ready buyers because they know they can’t complete the home in a timely fashion.

I once spoke to a busy builder from Texas who told me he doesn’t even put a closing date into his agreement with a purchaser adding with his southern drawl, “I tell them the house will close when it’s ready.”

My point is, while relatively rare, as the potential purchaser of a new home in Ontario, it is prudent to be prepared for the possibility of delays.

Building a house is a very complicated project and utilizes dozens of subcontractors, workers, suppliers and inspectors.

Delays can happen. If a municipality delays issuing a building permit, for example, the whole process is then backed up. A delay in the framing stage stops everything: electricians and plumbers are unable to do their “rough-in” work until the framing is completed.

Still, a delay, while perhaps irritating, is often better than the alternative. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Delay is preferable to error”.

In other words, it is definitely better for a builder to take the time to do the job properly in the first place, even if it means a delay in a homeowner’s closing date.

Building a new home usually takes many months and a myriad of things must be coordinated during this timeframe.

In the case of condominium construction, the timelines are even longer and the potential for problems, setbacks and delays even greater.

Fortunately, in Ontario, all new homes must be registered with the Tarion Warranty Program which sets out specific rules on how builders must communicate and inform purchasers of delays in the closing date for the home.

This does not prevent delays, but ensures that purchasers are made aware of what is (or isn’t) happening in the construction process so that they can make adjustments if needed.

No matter what timeframe your builder gives you, there is always the possibility of delays. Inclement weather, shortages of supplies and labour problems can all factor into delaying the completion of your home or condominium.

It’s important to be aware of this going into the building process and be prepared to be somewhat flexible.

“Be prepared” is the Boy Scout’s motto, but one that new home buyers would be wise heed as well.

It can help ensure your new home purchase is relatively stress-free and enjoyable.

When it comes to buying a new home, remember: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

Sandy Hill Construction

Phone: 613-832-1717

Address: Sandy Hill Construction Ltd.
35 G Robinson Ave.
Ottawa ON, K1N 8N8

Sandy Hill Construction