Building Best Practices to Incorporate Effective Management of Electrical Systems in Rental Apartments

Certified Rental Building Program to Set the Bar for Electrical Efficiency and Safety

The Certified Rental Building Program is the only resident focused apartment building certification program in North America

The Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario has developed a new Standard of Practice for the management of multi-unit residential buildings. The Certified Rental Building Program is the only resident focused apartment building certification program in North America which provides renters with the assurances that they are choosing a building that is well run, managed and maintained.

In August 2018, a high-rise residential building in the City of Toronto experienced a catastrophic failure of one of its electrical systems resulting in an explosion, massive fire, the displacement of 1,500 residents and over a $40 million expenses for clean up, renovations and costs associated with housing the displaced unit owners for over a year. It was determined by fire inspectors that the fault was a direct result of poor maintenance of the building’s electrical systems. It is no doubt that this catastrophe had and continues to have a ripple effect across industry not only in Toronto but in other municipalities across North America.

In response to this event, and in addition to the obvious insurance industry response, Toronto City Council amended the city’s Apartment Buildings By-Law (Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings) to include new requirements for building owners and operators/managers to minimize electrical safety risk with proper electrical maintenance of buildings.

The amendment to the by-law requires building owners/operators to develop an electrical maintenance plan with a Licenced Electrical Contractor and maintain any and all information and records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the plan, when requested.

As outlined in the by-law, Licenced Electrical Contractors (LEC) must inspect and report on the following:

  • Main service panels and components and all other major electrical systems
  • Inventory of main electrical components
  • Approximate lifespan of the electrical equipment
  • Recommended course of action to maintain and/or replace aging infrastructure
  • Recommended timelines for maintenance and/or replacement
  • Recommended schedule for ongoing routine inspection, cleaning and testing

Under the by-law, a written report summarizing the findings of the inspections with recommendations for improvements in electrical systems maintenance must be prepared by the LECs.

Circuit-level analytics and submetering platforms (CLASP) can facilitate the reporting of electrical systems in high rise multi-residential buildings by performing a continuous energy audit of all electrical components and signalling through a real time alert and notification system when a component of a building’s electrical system is behaving outside set parameters. These systems, sometimes called Real Time Energy Monitoring (RTEM), can provide the electrical data used in assessing the performance and lifespan of electrical equipment and can be used to create the maintenance plan based on actual electrical consumption of electrical systems, including power quality and power factor, as well as other variables such as hours/minutes that a specific piece of equipment is ON versus offline.

CircuitMeter technology is a leader in CLASP and RTEM technology. The continuous and real time energy audit capabilities of advanced circuit level analytics and submetering platforms have the functionality to serve as fundamental tools used in complying with new legislation and voluntary standards for the maintenance of rental buildings while minimizing safety risks, boosting efficiencies and reducing costs.