Everyone has a crucial role when it comes to adhering to building codes to ensure the health and safety of all occupants. By following rules and regulations, projects can reach completion in an organized and timely manner. There are many parties involved in this network, all working in harmony to bring buildings to completion.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for the administration of the Building Code Act. The Act assigns duties, authority and responsibilities to the province. The province of Ontario appoints a director of housing development and buildings branch, and that director upholds the Building Code.
The province also governs the Building Code Commission (BCC) and Building Material Evaluation Commission (BMEC). The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has the power to approve new building materials, systems and designs.
Where the minister determines construction, demolition, or the Building Code Act (OBC) standards have not been upheld, they can convene inquiries into best practices.
The Building Code Act governs construction, renovation and change-of-use for buildings in Ontario. The Building Code Commission holds hearings and resolves technical disputes between parties as it relates to the Ontario Building Code (OBC).
The BCA assigns various roles and responsibilities to every person and agency involved in the construction of a building. Such persons include the owner, the designers, the builder and the manufacturers.
The BCA lists the role of every person who causes a building to be constructed to ensure it is constructed in accordance with the BCA, the Building Code and the building permit issued; to ensure that construction must not start before a permit is issued; That construction is carried out only by persons who have the qualifications and insurance, if any, as required by the BCA and the Building Code
Chief Building Officials also carry out key regulatory roles roles in this process. They enforce the the BCA, OBC, related national/international standards, and also conduct inspections to ensure all parties are following rules and regulations.
CBO’s issue permits, and in the case of refusals, they inform applications for the reasons of the permit refusal. In special circumstances, CBO’s can suspend construction of a building if the BCA is not complied with. In extenuating situations, CBO’s have the authority for a building to be demolished or repaired.
Under the BCA, CBO’s can nullify time periods when permits are issued or refused, they can issue conditional permits for all stages of construction, they can refer drawings or documents to the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) or the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).
It is the role of an inspector to exercise powers and perform duties under the BCA and the building code in connection with reviewing plans and issuing building permits, inspecting construction, conducting maintenance inspections and issuing orders in accordance with the BCA (order to comply, not to cover, stop work order, unsafe buildings) and the building code.
Inspectors have eyes in the field and can enter job sites without a warrant. They perform building and occupancy inspections as part of the building permit process.
Under the BCA, inspectors have the ability to investigate and enforce whether unpermitted construction is happening on a job site, and whether a building is unsafe.
Building owner shall ensure that the building or part of the building is maintained, repaired and evaluated in accordance with this Act and the building code; and ensure documents, records and other information about the building are kept and provided in accordance with this Act and the building code.
Designers must supply designs that meet the BCA and allow the builder to construct the building following the code.
The Building Code Act section 15.11 also strengthened its language in relation to who can engage in activities with Building Departments to ensure these individuals have the technical knowledge and qualifications in the OBC. Only a designer who has the qualifications and meets the requirements set out in the building code is eligible to engage in: prepare a design or give other information or opinion concerning whether a building or part of a building complies with the building code, if the design, information or opinion is to be submitted to a chief building official in connection with an application for a permit.
Next in the process is the role and responsibilities of designers and builders.
Before work is to begin, firstly a permit must be issued. Next, builders must adhere to the guidelines of the permit and use proper building techniques to follow the code and related technical standards.
Builders must follow the BCA and the OBC, completing proper permits and documentations to the municipality’s building by-laws. This includes construction drawings, site plans, deeds, and related approvals.
Permits must be obtained by builders prior to construction, demolition or changing the use of a building, and a copy of the permit must be posted in clear sight on the property.
Builders are required to adhere to plans, specs and documents which the permit was issued, and any changes must be approved by the chief building official.
Parts and supplies are quite literally the glue that connects everything together securely. The BCA requires manufacturers, suppliers and retailers of products to follow the rules outlined in the Building Code.
- OBC: Ontario Building Code
- BCA: Building Code Act
- BCC: Building Code Commission
- CBO: Chief Building Officials
- BMEC: Building Material Evaluation Commission
- OAA: Ontario Association of Architects
- PEO: Professional Engineers Ontario