Building Code Act and Ontario Building Code
The Building Code Act (BCA) and the Ontario Building Code (OBC) govern the construction, demolition, and renovation of buildings by setting certain minimum performance and safety standards. The BCA and OBC are administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and are usually enforced by municipalities. While the OBC contains a very large number of specific requirements that must be met in a wide variety of different situations, the BCA sets out the general responsibilities of building owners. Any person who causes a building to be constructed (or materially altered) must make sure the construction is a) done in accordance with the BCA and OBC and with any required permit, b) does not start until the permit required has been issued, and c) carried out only by person with the qualifications and insurance required by the BCA and OBC. The BCA requires a permit for any construction or demolition (both terms are defined in the Act) or any change of use of a building that results in an increase in hazard.
A new OBC was introduced in 2006 and most of the new provisions are already in force. It should be noted, however, that several new requirements will come into force at a later date. Of particular interest to service managers and housing providers is the requirement to be effective at the end of 2011 that all new larger residential buildings meet energy efficiency levels 25% higher than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings.
The OBC is very detailed and complex and subject to frequent change. Seek the advice of a qualified expert if you fall within its purview.
July 2008 - Building Code Amendment: Fire Sprinklers in Large Residential Buildings. For more information about this amendment click here.
June 2008 - A number of forms issued under the Building Code Act, 1992 have been updated. Click here to download them from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Page.
December 2007 - Proposed changes to the Building Code would require fire sprinkler systems in newly constructed multiple-unit residential buildings higher than three storeys. The province is holding public information and consultation sessions. Find out more here.
An explanation of recent regulatory amendments to the OBC that include minor technical changes relating to grab bars in washrooms and non-firefighter elevator requirements can be found here.
For information about Boilers and Pressure Vessels click here.
January 2010 - Effective April 1, 2010, the Ontario Building Code will require all new multiple-unit residential buildings over three storeys in height to have a fire sprinkler system. Find out more here.
Link: Building Code Act (www.e-laws.gov.on.ca)
See also: Buildings & Maintenance, Fire Prevention