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Frequently Asked Questions at TNT Property Maintenance in Kitchener

Below are some common questions we get from our clients. If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, contact us.


Access Permits: Why do I Need One, How Much Are They, & More

An access permit is required any time a homeowner or contractor crosses city-owned land with any type of equipment or vehicle in order to access private property. Any damage to city-owned land is to be returned to its original condition.


In Kitchener, the homeowner is responsible for obtaining an access permit. However, both the homeowner and the contractor must sign the permit. The permit is free, and start-to-finish processing time takes 2-3 weeks. An access permit can be obtained from the Parks Operation Building.


Parks Operations

82 Chandler Road

Kitchener, ON

519-741-2257


In Waterloo, an access permit can be obtained by the homeowner. There is a non-refundable fee of $65. A damage deposit may also be required of $750. The start-to-finish processing time is 1-2 weeks. An access permit can be obtained from the Waterloo Service Centre or Building Standards at City Hall; you can drop off or mail your access permit with your cheque payment. All cheques must be payable to the City of Waterloo.


Waterloo Service Centre

265 Lexington Court

Waterloo, ON N2J 4A8

519-886-2310


Waterloo City Centre, Building Dept.

100 Regina Street S.

Waterloo, ON N2J 4A8

519-886-1550


Region of Waterloo Watering Days, Water Use Bylaw, & More

The Region of Waterloo limits, but encourages, lawn watering to once a week between May 15 and September 30. No matter when your designated day is, lawn watering is allowed only between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 am or from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.


Lawn watering days are determined by the last digit of your address. Addresses ending in:

0 and 1: Mondays Only

2 and 3: Tuesdays Only

4 and 5: Wednesdays Only

6 and 7: Thursdays Only

8 and 9: Fridays Only


The Region has made exceptions for homeowners who plant sod or seed on their property. To honour the Region of Waterloo Outdoor Water Use Bylaw, homeowners are required to prominently display a sign near the front of the property. The day’s date should be written on the sign in the space provided using a permanent marker.


The sign allows you to water for a full 24 hours after planting and then during the watering hours (7:00-10:00 am and 7:00-11:00 pm) for the next 6 consecutive days.


If you have any further questions, you can contact the Region of Waterloo at 519-575-4495.


Watering New Sod or Seed

Follow the chart ensuring your sod is adequately watered either early morning or late evening. Avoid watering in the blaring sun.


The sod requires being fully soaked for the first watering only. Check to see if you have applied enough water: Gently lift a corner of the sod and check to see if the entire thickness is wet and the underlying soil is wet as well. Cut the turf area to a height of 3” for the first cut.


Water with a fine mist. The seed requires to be fully moist for all watering. If too much water is applied, the seed will ‘pool’ in water and not germinate. Caution must be given to avoid soil erosion. Cut the turf area to a height of 3”. New seed will ‘lay over’ on its side when cut. You will notice that the turf area will straighten out within a day or two.

TNT & the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

PIPEDA balances an individual’s right to the privacy of personal information with the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for legitimate business purposes. Personal information can only be used for the purposes for which it was collected. TNT complies fully with the PIPEDA {January 1, 2004}. TNT is committed to keeping personal information that it collects from its customers, workers, subsidiaries and affiliates accurate, confidential and secure. "Personal information” refers to you specifically and includes personal, credit and financial information. Personal information may be collected in person, over the telephone, by corresponding with you via mail, fax or over the internet. TNT maintains contact records primarily for customer service, payment or collection purposes. This information however, is limited to internal use and restricted to our employees and our agents who need it to perform their jobs. Although you are not obligated to provide us with personal information, in some cases such information is required in order to allow us to do business with you and, once we enter into a contractual relationship with you, there may be certain legal or contractual obligations that will allow us to continue to use the personal information provided. TNT affords prospective and former customers the same protections as existing customers with respect to the use of personal information. Publicly available information, such as a public directory listing of your name, address, phone number and electronic address is not considered personal information according to the PIPEDA.


TNT may collect, use and disclose personal information from you, our affiliates and subsidiaries, credit agencies, financial institutions you have a relationship with and references provided by you and we may use your personal information for the following purposes:

  • To enable TNT to contact and communicate with you.
  • To refer and consult with other professionals that may be involved (ie. arborists).
  • To permit potential purchasers, financial advisors, Better Business Bureau, government agencies, or insurance companies to evaluate our business.
  • To collect unpaid accounts.
  • To determine your financial situation and provide the services you have requested.
  • To offer additional products and services that might benefit you {“Offers”} and to share your personal information with affiliates and subsidiaries for “offers".
  • To report personal information, when required, such as when returning a cheque due to insufficient funds or when collecting a delinquent account.
  • To disclose personal information in connection with a legal proceeding. Only the personal information specifically requested by legitimate authorities will be disclosed.
  • To establish and maintain a responsible relationship with you and provide you with ongoing service.
  • To understand your needs and develop and recommend suitable products and services.
  • To meet legal and regulatory requirements.

TNT takes our responsibility to respect and protect the confidentiality of your personal information very seriously. Your personal information will only be retained for as long as it is required to fulfill the purposes set out above. Your personal information will not be sold or made available to any third parties and is securely stored. TNT maintains physical, electronic and organizational safeguards to protect personal information. TNT continually reviews our policies and practices and monitor our computer networks in order to help TNT ensure the safety of personal information. You may contact TNT in writing if you wish to withdraw your consent for use or disclosure of your personal information, to obtain a copy of our Privacy Policy, to update your personal information on file or to receive a list of subsidiaries and affiliates at:


Privacy Officer TNT Property Maintenance

P.O Box 27020 Forest Hill

Kitchener, ON N2E 3K2

linda@tntpropertymaintenance.com


WSIB Clearance Certificates & Liability Insurance Certificates and When They Are Required

Certificates are required when you hire another person or company to do work on a contract basis. You should request certificates from the contractor before the contractor starts to work on your property. They are required at all times. If a contractor cannot provide a WSIB Clearance Certificate and an injury occurs, the homeowner is responsible for the claim. If the contractor is not properly insured for the project the homeowner will be responsible.


A WSIB Clearance Certificate is only valid for 90 days and must be renewed by the contractor. It is mandated that every company must have WSIB coverage.


A WSIB Clearance Certificate assures you that the contractor's WSIB account is in good standing and thus capable of accepting WSIB-related liability for any workplace injuries that may be suffered by any of its employees while on your property.


A Liability Certificate ensures a contractor has business insurance and third party liability coverage. Failure to secure certificates could result in you the client responsible for any or all loss of earnings, health care costs and damage to your property or neighbouring property associated with an accident.


At TNT Property Maintenance we provide these certificates to our clients and ensure that the certificates are regularly updated in our files.


The WSIB launched its new ‘eClearance”, an electronic clearance certificate program on January 17th.


The WSIB says this online service will allow principals (employers, clients, customers), to easily check the validity of a potential contractors’ clearance to avoid any financial liability when hiring contractors.


It is important to note that, along with this new eService, clearance certificate validity has also been extended from 60 days to 90 days for clearance certificates that are issued starting January 17, 2011.


In order to obtain a clearance certificate now, the principal will have to use their WSIB account number and the contractor's account number.


To access this program, go to the WSIB homepage and select ‘eServices’.


The WSIB says users also have the option of requesting access to a ‘customized version’ of this eService which offers the opportunity to manage lists of contractors, to automatically issue new clearances, to view your company’s history of clearances, and to receive automatic e-mail notices.


Unfortunately, TNT does not ask our clients for their WSIB account number and we have no way of accessing a clearance certificate using the eClearance system without that number.


For Our Clients

Please access new clearance certificates on line using your WSIB account number. Please contact Linda in our office if you:

  • Do not already have our WSIB account number (it is listed on our past clearance certificates).
  • Encounter a problem accessing our clearance certificate.
  • Need any further information.

The WSIB has indicated they are working on sorting out some ‘glitches’ and it may be necessary for our office to call into the WSIB before a clearance certificate is issued. Presently, an override has been placed on our account so our clients can access the current clearance certificate. The ‘glitch’ with the WSIB that is affecting TNT is the fact that we are a seasonal contractor reporting winter operations presently and not grass cutting operations.


The largest problem TNT has foreseen with this new system is the inability of a homeowner to gain the clearance certificate information as legitimate contractors have no recourse to order a generic clearance certificate and homeowners have no WSIB account to access the information electronically, a problem that allows the underground economy to escalate and expand. The homeowner now has the potential risk of being sued for workers injuries while work is being done on their property (if the company is not covered under WSIB). Please be assured that TNT will maintain its coverage with WSIB even if we cannot issue a clearance certificate to a homeowner.

Why should you choose interlocking paving stone over concrete or asphalt?


It depends on your expectations of costs vs long-term durability.


When considering a new or expanded driveway, the honest answer is that asphalt is the cheapest on paper. It will not be as thick as interlock paving or consistent (it will not be the 2 inches you think you are getting due to compaction; it might average about 1 to 1½ inches).


Interlock pavers are consistent in thickness due to the manufacturing process (2-3 inches depending on stone selection).


Asphalt has the shortest life cycle of paving materials at between 10 and 15 yrs. Asphalt needs to be maintained over its life cycle due to cracking.


Interlock paving has a life cycle of 50-plus years and retains its value. When installed correctly, interlock paving is basically maintenance free over its life cycle.


Concrete does not flex with our freeze-thaw cycles and therefore will crack. If the stones in the mix are dirty, the concrete will spald (peel off the top layer). If the concrete is stamped there must be a coating applied to keep the surface intact. This sealer tends to be very slippery when wet or covered in snow etc.


A Few Basics about All Driveways

Base material should be a minimum of 12 inches of compacted A-Gravel; the thickness of material should be consistent throughout driveway area. Special requirements need to be met for areas that have clay underneath.


For more information, visit the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute®. They have many studies comparing the different materials and cost analyses.


Is there an alternative to standard concrete steps?

There are precast steps that are available in a variety of colours or natural stone steps.


5 Essentials for Creating a Butterfly Garden

In order to support a butterfly from egg to adult, your garden must include the appropriate plants as well as provide a suitable habitat. With a little knowledge, time, and patience, you can easily create an ideal butterfly habitat in your own garden!


1. Grow native plants because butterflies rely heavily on native plants in order to survive. Not only do they visit flowers of these plants for nectar, female butterflies look for specific host plants on which to lay their eggs.


2. Reduce pesticide use because pesticides will kill butterflies.


3. Choose a sunny location. The sun is essential in a butterfly’s activities. Butterflies can fly only after raising their body temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


4. Provide shelter design in your garden to include features that provide protection from cold and windy weather. A brick wall, the side of your home, or a row of trees serves as an adequate windbreak on blustery days.


5. Create a water source because butterflies need water and minerals in their diet. Instead of slurping water they siphon it, along with nutrients, and salts, through their straw-like mouths. Incorporate a water feature in your garden, or adapt an existing feature to keep a small section of the ground moist.


Bill 64, Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008

Due to the passing of Bill 64, which does NOT allow any pesticide use unless there is an infestation, TNT Property Maintenance will only be offering our organic program of fertilizers and weed inhibitors.


Learn more about pesticide law from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.


Minimize the Risk of West Nile

Your chance of being bitten by a mosquito capable of spreading West Nile virus is small. However, if there are reports of infected mosquitoes, infected horses or dead birds in your area, you should take immediate action to minimize your risk of mosquito bites.


These tips can help:

  • Limit the time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors.
  • Use insect repellents. Read and follow the manufacturers’ directions for safe use.
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes.

You can also take steps to reduce mosquito populations around your home and property. Mosquitoes need standing pools of water to breed, so remove standing water from such items as pool covers, saucers under flower pots, pet bowls, and wading pools. Empty and clean bird baths twice a week. Also, clean eavestroughs regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water.


Report Dead Birds

To help monitor the spread of West Nile virus, report dead birds to Region of Waterloo Public Health at 519-883-2086.


Grubs: Life Cycle & Control

Grubs feed on grass roots causing your lawn to die. The key symptom of grub invasion is irregular dead patches which will lift up easily if tugged on. These patches have had the roots severed and there is nothing to anchor the sod in place. The highest concentration of grubs will be found in dead turf bordering green areas. The grub is C-shaped with a brown head, white body and six legs on its upper half.


The grub’s life cycle is very simple. The grub feeds on grassroots from mid March to mid May, and then develops into its pupil form. The adult beetle then emerges in mid June, mates over a two week span and retreats back into soil to lay its eggs. The grubs hatch and begin to feed in late July to August. The grubs will burrow below that frost line in the fall and stop feeding but if there is a thaw, they will resume feeding at anytime, even during the winter. The grubs will continue to feed in the spring, constantly growing larger.


The fall (mid August to September) is actually the best time to apply chemical control as the larvae have just hatched and can be killed quickly due to their small size. A certain percentage of chemical must be ingested in relation to body mass, therefore, the smaller the grub, the less the amount needed to kill it. They will not die with the first taste. It can take up to two or three weeks. If you don’t notice the problem in the fall then you must recognize the problem and apply in the spring. If you’re going to apply in the spring, do so around mid March to mid April as larvae are feeding ravenously.


When a lawn is well maintained, well watered and well fertilized, there may be grub problems but because the lawn is so vigorous, it will grow more roots as they are destroyed. You may not even detect a problem and if you do, the damage will not be as severe.


Water Damage Prevention: Insurance Article

If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have experienced a flooded basement, you know the damage can be extensive, expensive and the inconvenience, unforgettable.


A flood can be caused by spring run-off, melting snow, an over flowing river, lake or stream, or even a swimming pool.


Excessive groundwater build-up that enters your home via leaks or seepage is also considered flooding. Whether aided by wind or an act of God, damage to your home caused by a flood is not covered.


Most comprehensive homeowner policies will cover other types of water damage provided the cause is “sudden and accidental” and is not caused by freezing. This could include the sudden failure of a heating or air conditioning system, an overflowing washing machine, a blocked toilet, accidental sprinkler going off or a burst water pipe.


The key words here would be ‘sudden’ and ‘accidental’.


Water entering the home through leaks, cracks and seepage is considered to be the responsibility of the owner and should be prevented through routine home maintenance.


Sewer back-ups occur when massive volumes of water overload a drainage system. Once the wastewater rises above your basement drains, a back-flow into your home results. Sewer back-ups can introduce black mould, harmful bacteria and sewage waste into your home, creating health risks and extensive damage. Depending on where your home is located, sewer back-up insurance can usually be added into your policy to help cover losses or damage caused by water that has accidentally escaped from a sewer, drain, storm drain, sump pump, septic tank, eavestrough or downspout. To be on the safe side, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance broker to find out what your coverages include. While we cannot control sewer back-ups or sump pumps, proper sewer design and maintenance can help prevent these losses.


In the meantime, here are some tips on how can you prevent or limit water damage to your home:

  • If the area you live in is susceptible to sewer back-up, make sure your home has a back-flow valve and plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connectors installed.
  • If you don’t have a sump pump, install one. If you do have a sump pump, test it to make sure it is working because severe weather often causes a hydro interruption, it makes good sense to install a battery back-up device for the sump pump or keep a small gas generator to power critical electrical circuits. Both of these devices are available at a reasonable cost from any building supply or hardware store.
  • If you have an unfinished basement, we suggest you store items in plastic containers or on shelving at least 12" off the floor.
  • Ensure your window wells are clear of leaves and debris and by periodically checking your foundation for signs of wear, tear and cracks. Keep eaves and downspouts clear of debris and make sure water flow is directed away from the foundation. If your building code in your area permits it, have the downspouts connected directly to your weeping tiles or sewer drain.
  • In winter, keep snow away from the foundation to reduce surface water during sudden spring thaws and winter rains. Areas around ground level windows and window wells should be cleared regularly.
  • The condition of your foundation is a housekeeping or maintenance issue, not an insurance issue. If the land around your house slopes in towards your foundation, instead of running away from the home, the chance of ground water building up is greater. If you’re concerned about sewer back-up, check with a plumbing expert in your area to see what can be done to reduce or eliminate the possibility of this type of loss.
  • And you’ll want to check with your insurance broker to confirm what your homeowner policy covers.

What Are N-P-K & Their Roles in Fertilizer?

All fertilizers use a three-number rating system, like 15-15-15. The first number represents nitrogen, the second is phosphorous, and the third is potassium (or potash). These numbers are percentages of the total ingredients in the bag.


Nitrogen:

  • Essential for growth of foliage.
  • Produces lush, tender, green leaves (or grass blades).
  • Deficiency results in a yellow-green color (chlorosis) and little or no growth.
  • Flushes through the soil easily.


Phosphorous:

  • Stimulates root growth.
  • Hastens the maturity of plants.
  • Promotes development of flowers, fruits, seeds.
  • Deficiency can result in slow or stunted growth and purplish discoloration on leaves.
  • Remains in the soil quite well.


Potassium:

  • Gives vigor to tolerate changing weather conditions.
  • Helps resist disease.
  • Assists in the food manufacturing process.
  • Strengthens cell wall structure for strong stems.
  • Deficiency can cause weak stems and slow growth.
  • Leaches from the soil, not as fast as nitrogen.
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