Doug_N

Ontario Moving to Harmonize OBC with NBC

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I am a BCIN small building designer here in Ontario, and I am quite concerned about the Provincial Government's announcement that they will be moving to harmonize the Ontario Building Code with the National Building Code.   For one thing, the Ontario Building Code has a part 11 that deals with existing older buildings that when renovated will not match the style, wall thicknesses and so on of the existing building.  The Part 11 compliance alternatives are all that allow for any renovation in older buildings, especially when it comes to the minimum size of windows, basement insulation and fire separations.   Especially in buildings over 30 years old, compliance may simply not be possible.  The addition of a second furnace for an accessory apartment, for example, can be extremely difficult to darn well impossible in so older Toronto homes.  

 

For those of you who work in other provinces than Ontario, does your Province have a separate building code?  Do you design to the NBC?  Some feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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I believe you may be unduly concerned by the move towards harmonization. This has been going on for a long time, albeit slowly. The harmonization does not preclude each provinces right to enact requirements specific to their region where justifiable. The intent is to establish where ever possible code commonality across the country. There are many advantages to this as it minimizes confusion/contradictions and it is also intended to minimize the ability of a province to use the code as a means of imparting a benefit or to exclude outside competition. For example, in BC they permit non combustible construction to be used in buildings up to 6 stories in height, most other regions, including the NBC restrict this to 4 stories in height. It is very suspect that BC permits this as the lumber industry is a very significant component to their economy. From a purely code performance perspective it is confusing to have two different requirements/limitations, either non combustible construction is acceptable for 6 stories or only 4 stories, one code states it is while others say no.

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Graham, 

 

As far a being overly concerned the MMAH has made it clear that the mandate from the Ontario Government under Doug Ford has, as a goal the privatization of the administration of the building code, and one of the steps in doing this is to no longer offer interpretations of the technical aspects of the code as a service.  It seems that the provincial government wants out of the building code business altogether.  The OBOA (Ontario Building Officials Association) which represents Chief Building Officials, Plans Examiners and Building Inspectors is very concerned about this direction.  They, in fact, are worried about Part 11 of the code as well because of the direction the provincial government is taking.

 

I don't know if you have a copy of the Building Code Compendium, but I have a 5-year subscription and I do not have the changes yet for the revised code coming out January 1 2020.  How am I supposed to design buildings for next year?  This just illustrates what a low priority the Ontario Building Code is for the province.  

 

Doug

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5 hours ago, TheKitchenAbode said:

For example, in BC they permit non combustible construction to be used in buildings up to 6 stories in height, most other regions, including the NBC restrict this to 4 stories in height.It is very suspect that BC permits this as the lumber industry is a very significant component to their economy.

 

Well you maybe more perturbed to learn the limit in BC since March is now 12 Stories.... and that is supposed to be the new Limit in 2020 for the NBC too from what I read.

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1 minute ago, Kbird1 said:

 

Well you maybe more perturbed to learn the limit in BC since March is now 12 Stories.... and that is supposed to be the new Limit in 2020 for the NBC too from what I read.

 

Good point, there are some very interesting higher rise structures using engineered wood going up in BC. I'm certain we will see more of things like this as the codes move more towards performance based criteria.

 

This one is 18 stories.

https://news.ubc.ca/2016/09/15/structure-of-ubcs-tall-wood-building-now-complete/

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Doug,

 

I've checked/Googled and can't find anything related to any significant changes concerning Part 11. I went to the MMAH site and saw nothing in regards to what you(they) are expressing. I went to the building code link and checked out the building code updates and again nothing related to these concerns.

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There were a number of public hearings on the issue.  There was also a for part survey done by the MMAH that I participated in.  The website is pretty much useless when it comes to information.  Hopefully that will change.  I am not talking about a change that will happen next year, but that direction is the goal. 

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Never mind, where you got that is obvious in the link.  How did you discover it would be a better question.

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1 minute ago, Doug_N said:

Never mind, where you got that is obvious in the link.  How did you discover it would be a better question.

 

I just Googled "Building Code Compendium" The publications link came from this site.

 

https://www.hpacmag.com/heating-plumbing-air-conditioning-general/updates-ontario-building-code-aligns-with-national-construction-codes/1004127657/

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Why is this not available at the MMAH website?   Why would do we have to resort to back door methods for finding it?  This is what I am saying the ministry and the provincial government are really not paying attention to the seriousness of the need to be informed about the OBC and all of the supplemental parts found in Volume 2 of the compendium.  

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41 minutes ago, Doug_N said:

Why is this not available at the MMAH website?   Why would do we have to resort to back door methods for finding it?  This is what I am saying the ministry and the provincial government are really not paying attention to the seriousness of the need to be informed about the OBC and all of the supplemental parts found in Volume 2 of the compendium.  

 

Agree, all of the government websites are a total mess, no idea who designs them, must be some MP's brother-in-law who has know knowledge in website design.

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