Hiring a French Drain contractor for your strata townhouse/condo

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

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Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Hiring a contractor can be overwhelming at the best of times, and it can be hard to find one that can execute exactly what you have envisioned for your project. If you are a part of a Strata and are hiring a contractor for your townhouse or condo complex, this stress can be amplified. Not only does the contractor you hire need to get the job done, they need to respect strata rules, and keep everyone in the complex or building happy.


Table of contents:

  • Your responsibility of hiring a French Drain contractor for your strata townhouse or condo
  • Solving your Strata Townhouse/Condo drainage issues
  • How to make sure your strata’s contingency fund is well spent
  • Planning and avoiding French Drain problems
  • Additional resources for hiring your French drain contractor




Your responsibility of hiring a French Drain contractor for your strata townhouse or condo

Volunteering to be on your strata’s counsel in most cases means you have taken ownership of your complex. Your friends and neighbors have entrusted you to hire a company to solve their problems, and expect that you are going to do your due diligence (such as researching different contractors and finding a good fit) when hiring a contractor. You are responsible for who ends up doing the job, and the last thing you want is to be embarrassed that you were unable to solve the resident’s problem.

The time you spend searching for a contractor is done after supper and during your free time, and your family may feel neglected, as most of your spare time is spent on fixing strata’s problems, and not with them. There is a lot of responsibly that is being put on you, and stress involved when it comes to making a decision like this for not just yourself, but for a group of people . These people that you are making a long-term decision for are friends and neighbors that you see daily, and there is a good chance that your children play with their children at least a couple times a week. You want to be able to see them at neighbourhood get togethers and BBQs, and feel confident that you solved their problems once and for all. They trust you, and you want to feel proud that the decision you made has benefited everyone involved, and made your complex a better place to live in.


Solving your Strata Townhouse/Condo water issues

One of the great things about living in a townhouse or condo that has outdoor space is that your children can play outside after school, and you can let your pets out into your yard knowing that they are safe and getting the exercise that they need. If you are lucky, your complex may even have a playground for your children to play on with the neighbourhood kids, and an open area for residents to congregate after work to catch up with a drink, and watch the children play soccer or climb the jungle gym.

 If your complex is experiencing water issues, such as pooling yard water that never goes away, this can squash all outdoor activities. The children will be pent up inside because the yard is flooded, which can mean that either your children are bored, or your living room gets turned into the designated “play area”. To top it all off, when the pets go outside to the bathroom, they track their muddy paws throughout the house, adding to the list of things that need to be cleaned. While this is doable every once in a while, this scenario does not make sense long term.

Maybe you have always dreamed about owning a home that has a backyard, so you can sit on your back deck and look at your garden, and perfect lawn. Unfortunately, when water issues occur, it is hard to have a useable backyard that looks nice. If you have water issues your grass is probably patchy, muddy and mossy. Instead of feeling calm when you look outside, you see a yard that you cannot use. If you are a part of strata, you also are having to deal with resident complaints about how the playground is closed again due to the water issues, and that they can’t use their backyards.

In some cases, water can even back up and into your home. Then not only will you need to remedy the water in your house, and replace wrecked belongings, you will need to find a temporary place to live. If that is not stressful enough, dealing with insurance companies can be tricky, and it can take months for your home to be usable again.

These issues can be very frustrating as a homeowner, and as a strata member, when all you really want to do is be able to enjoy your space. Luckily, a French Drain can solve these problems, and can have you enjoying your coveted space in no time. Even better, you will not be bombarded with phone calls and emails from residents wondering when this problem will be fixed.

How to make sure your strata’s contingency fund is well spent

When you took on the task of being in charge of your strata’s contingency fund, you knew that you would be the one allotting what the money goes to, and how the money is being spent. You take full ownership of this, and therefore want to solve and improve the tenants’ issues once and for all. To be able to do this fully, and to serve the residents properly, you first must make sure that you are fully educated on French Drains. While French Drains appear to be simple enough, there is a lot that goes into them. Not only will you be able to answer any questions your strata members or the residents of your complex have, you will know what questions to ask any potential companies you are thinking of hiring.

What should you know about French Drains?

  • The different materials that can be used in a French Drain system (pipe, fabric, backfill)
  • The different layouts of a French Drain system (amount of pipe, where the water goes to)
  • The width and depth of the trench
  • How fast the system is going to work
  • What maintenance is required from either the homeowners or a landscaping company
  • How long a French Drain system will last
  • What additions can be done in the future to the French Drain system
  • What Problems are associated with French Drains

After educating yourself on everything that goes into a French Drain instal, Google reviews are a great next step when researching a French Drain company for your project. Knowing what others say about a company will be able to give you some insight on to how they work with others, and whether or not they would be a good fit for you and your complex.

Any information that you would like to learn about French Drain systems can be found here

Planning and avoiding French Drain problems

Every project has its hiccups, and the better prepared you are, the easier the project will go. While the actual work is left up to the company that you end up hiring, there are things that you can do to ensure your project is done with your, and the complexes best interests in mind.

 One major part of a French Drain installation project is the excavating of the trench. In a townhouse complex there are utility lines that are buried everywhere, and can be a minefield to excavate.  To avoid an issue from arising, such as hitting a sewer line, you can hire a company to mark where all utilities are. While this is a great solution when excavation is being done, be aware that no one is perfect, and there could still be a possibility that something gets hit. If a line does get hit, your contractor should either have tools on site to remedy the issue, or know who to call to have the problem solved quickly, as you do not want your residents without power or water.

Things to communicate to your French Drain company and/or residents before the project starts:

  • What your strata rules are and what the company needs to abide by (Hours/days that are acceptable to work, noise level)
  • Where the contractor will park their vehicles and machines (avoid blocking in tenants)
  • Where their tools/equipment will be stored at the end of the day
  • What your expectations are when it comes to how fast the French Drain system will work (This determines how much pipe is put in the ground)
  • Rough timeline for when the job will start and be completed
  • Site safety (do you require safety vests and hard hats on site?)
  • How the site will look when the project is done (do you expect that the roads will be swept and hosed down, and that any ruts made in the grass be fixed)
  • Inform tenants of all of the above to limit questions/concerns that may arise

As you can see, being prepared before your project starts will allow the project to go smoothly, and if problems do arise, you will have already thought about them and be emotionally prepared. Even better, you will have put measures in place to solve these problems fast so that everyone, tenants and contractors alike, will be satisfied.

Above everything else, communication with your contractor, and being open with your needs and concerns, is key to a happy working environment, and getting the product you signed up for.

Additional resources for hiring your French drain contractor

Get prepared for your French Drain installation by reading a variety of French Drain articles here, or read “How to hire a contractor.”

If you are ready to fix your strata drainage issues check out our contact page!