FAQ - Program for Residences Damaged by Pyrrhotite - Société d'habitation du Québec

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FAQ - Program for Residences Damaged by Pyrrhotite

What is the maximum amount of assistance that may be paid?

The program covers 75% of the admissible costs, up to the following maximum amounts:

  • $75,000 for buildings not covered or no longer covered by the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.;
  • $15,000 for buildings covered by the Guarantee Plan, in cases where restoration work on rooms located in the basement is not covered.

Is the Program retroactive for buildings that were repaired before it was introduced?

Building on which admissible work was carried out before authorization was obtained from the SHQ are not eligible, except where the work was for restoration of a basement. In this case, the work must have been performed between January 1, 2010, and the date on which the Program came into force*, on an eligible building in which remedial work covered by the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. was also carried out during that period.

*Ville de Trois-Rivières, 11 août 2011.

Who qualifies for financial assistance?

The owners of residential buildings who meet all the Program eligibility criteria.

What are the Program’s eligibility criteria?

The application must be for a residential building comprising one or more units, or for the residential portion of another type of building. The following conditions must also be met:

  • The residential unit must serve as a principal residence.
  • The building must have been damaged by pyrrhotite, or the building’s foundations must contain at least 0.23% of pyrrhotite.
  • Work is required to ensure the integrity of the building’s foundations.

Other conditions also apply.

Where the building is semi-detached, must the two owners obtain separate inspection reports?

If an inspection report shows that one of the semi-detached units meets the eligibility criteria, the same report may be used to establish the eligibility of both units, provided the foundations were built at the same time. In other words, both owners may qualify for separate financial assistance based on the same report.

Do rented buildings qualify for the Program?

To qualify, a building may be occupied by its owner or rented for residential purposes. It may also be vacant when the application for assistance is made. In the latter case, however, it must be intended to serve as a principal residence for a natural person.

Do second homes and commercial units qualify for financial assistance?

No, the Program only covers buildings used as principal residences.

Which work and which costs are covered by the Program?

The following work is covered by the Program:

  • Replacement of the building’s foundation (including elements providing access to the building if they are incorporated into the foundation, and reconstruction of the outdoor siding), including:
    • Lifting of the building;
    • Demolition, formwork and concrete work on the new foundation walls, footings and slab;

  • Restoration of rooms that were located in the basement before the foundation replacement work, including:
    • Construction of room divisions;
    • Installation of gypsum plasterboard;
    • Painting;
    • Installation of electrical cables and outlets.

Admissible costs include:

  • the cost of labour for the work
  • materials
  • laboratory reports
  • fees

Where should applications be sent?

The Program is administered by the towns and regional county municipalities (RCMs) that have signed management agreements with the Société d'habitation du Québec. Applications should therefore be sent to the town or RCM on whose territory the building is located.

See the Directory of Municipalities Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..

What documentation is needed to apply for financial assistance?

Homeowners must complete the Application Form available from their municipality, and provide all the documentation required for the application to be considered:

  • Evidence that the damage to the building was caused by the phrrhotite in the concrete (a laboratory report);
  • A copy of the building plans;
  • A copy of the Plan administrator’s decision (where applicable).

How much does a laboratory report cost?

The estimated cost of a laboratory report is $4,000.

Is there any delay in the processing of applications and payment of financial assistance?

Factors that may affect file processing times include the number of applications to the Program and the availability of contractors.

Who pays the cost of the Program?

The Québec Government and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

How long will the Program last?

The Program is expected to remain in force for ten years.

What would happen in the case of a legal settlement for payment of damages to homeowners?

Applicants who receive damages as a result of a civil action or an insurance payout for subsidized work will have to reimburse any financial assistance they may have received to the SHQ. In other words, financial assistance is reimbursable, but only in cases where homeowners are otherwise compensated for the damage in respect of which assistance was paid.

Is the Program available only to people living in the Ville de Trois-Rivières?

For the time being, the Ville de Trois-Rivières is the only one to offer the Program, since most of the cases identified so far are located within its territory. However, the SHQ is currently engaged in discussions with other municipalities with buildings damaged by phrrhotite, and they, too, may eventually sign agreements with the SHQ for the Program.

Approximately how many residences are thought to be affected?

According to different sources, up to 900 residences may be affected. Most are covered by the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.. The majority of the buildings concerned are located in the Ville de Trois-Rivières.

Does the Program also cover landscaping costs?

No, landscaping costs are not covered by the Program. The Program is designed to pay for urgent work that is needed to ensure the integrity of the buildings and the safety of their occupants.

Why are two bids required for work that will be carried out by a contractor?

This is common practice and is a way of ensuring that prices are fair. It creates healthy competition between contractors, and helps keep prices down.

Can homeowners do the basement restoration work themselves?

Yes, but they must first confirm that they quality for the Program. The amount payable for materials will be established from the bids obtained, and labour costs will be calculated by an estimator commissioned by the municipality.

How much compensation is payable to owner-occupiers who do the basement restoration work themselves?

Owner-occupiers who do the work themselves will be paid $9.50 per hour. This amount is not taxable.

Does the Société d’habitation du Québec intend to prepare a list of maximum prices for admissible work?

The Société d’habitation du Québec reserves the right to draw up such a list, as it has done for other Programs.

Is the Government currently considering a standard or some other way of ensuring that this problem does not recur in the future?

A research program has been set up to study the problem and clarify current standards, which will then be applied throughout Québec. The SHQ is providing financial support for the research, which is being conducted by the Centre de recherche sur les infrastructures en bétonCet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. and the Régie du bâtiment du QuébecCet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre., in conjunction with Université LavalCet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..

Some steps have also been taken in the Trois-Rivières region to help ensure that such a situation does not recur. Among other things, the Régie du bâtiment, the Association béton QuébecCet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. and the administrators of the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. have introduced measures to improve the overall reliability of the concrete production process.

For example, aggregate producers in the Trois-Rivières region have begun a quarry prequalification process that will provide background information for concrete manufacturers, along with data that will help them to judge the quality of the aggregate. In addition, the Bureau de normalisation du QuébecCet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. has banned the use of aggregate from the geological deposit in the Trois-Rivières region that caused the problem. This preventive measure will remain in force until the conditions and triggers of harmful phrrhotite reactions have been thoroughly researched.

Do you have other questions?

Please contact your municipality if you have any other questions about the Program.

See the Directory of Municipalities Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..