By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA) has released a report responding to a proposal from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that would create a new Delegated Administrative Authority (DAA) to regulate the building industry.
“After reviewing the proposal and attending the consultation sessions, we’re not convinced that there is enough evidence to justify the creation of a new DAA,” said Matt Farrell, past president of the OBOA.
“This would add another layer of bureaucracy to an already costly and complex system and we think that municipalities and our sector partners need to hear further information about how this will benefit everyone.”
The report – The OBOA Solution – outlines the long-standing service delivery that the organization and stakeholders have been providing to Ontario’s building industry. Currently, the OBOA provides 90 percent of the training for building officials in the province, along with George Brown College.
The OBA Solution says there would be increased professionalism throughout the building official community if the association was granted formal certification responsibilities that require mandatory membership and continued the high level of training currently delivered to building officials.
“It’s a simple solution,” said Farrell. “While the OBOA supports the goal to harmonize construction codes nationally, a new DAA will likely create more red tape.”
Instead, Farrell said making the building code more user friendly and maintain public trust in the system, “should be higher on their priority list.”
The OBOA Solution proposes a co-regulatory role with the OBOA working with the ministry to develop and propose amendments to Ontario’s building code as the industry continues to grow.
Here are the recommendations included in the OBOA report:
- Establish a provincial commission to oversee the development and evolution of the Ontario Building Code that includes industry experts.
- The province should remain sole source of building code interpretations that are binding and administered through a user-pay model.
- Initiate regulatory changes that would enable municipalities to adopt a Digital First approach to building code service delivery and endorse sector driven ventures, such as those currently being undertaken by OBOA and its sector partners.
- The building sector and the public need a stronger level of trust and confidence in MMAH’s role. The OBOA is seeking a partnership role with the provincial government to achieve this goal.
- Develop a co-regulatory model that efficiently uses the current resources and infrastructure of MMAH, OBOA, and other existing regulatory agencies.
- Similar to British Columbia, the OBOA be given further administrative responsibility through legislative changes, enabling it to certify all building officials and provide services to its members and other sector professionals.
- Create a model that uses current infrastructure and capacity for regulatory services and setting of professional standards and ensures there is no duplication of services across governments and the sector.
Read the full report here.