Definition : Useful life

Period during which a structure, in whole or in part, is used for the purpose for which it is intended, until replacementmajor repair or demolition work is carried out.  Life estimates usually take into account use (a school versus a residence or factory) and its geographic and climatic location.

 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! The useful life should take into account the attendance of the required maintenance work,  the surrounding climatic conditions (e.g. freeze and thaw cycles), and the use and solicitation rate of the property.

WARNING ! The useful life of some components of a construction may be shorter or longer than expected. This service life may depend on the initial construction methods, the quality of the materials used, their implementation. For example, concrete used in poor conditions may not reach the expected useful life.

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With the coming into force of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994, the Québec legislature introduced the obligation for any syndicate of co-owners to establish a contingency fund " estimated cost of major repairs and the cost of replacement of common portions". This obligation was intended to fill a gap in the previous law. Prior to the enactment of the Civil Code, it was a frequent occurrence for co-ownerships to have a "reserve fund", although the Civil Code of Lower Canada was mute on this issue. Most of the time, this fund was inadequate, due to the low level of contributions paid into it. Moreover, declarations of co-ownership often included a contribution limit (for example$ 50,000), beyond which it was no longer required to contribute the co-owners.
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