Building code changes in Ontario
Mid-rise wooden structures in Ontario soon to be a reality
By Steve Payne
The Ontario government has listed all of the legislative changes that will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and blasted it out to all media outlets.
Regarding our industry, the press release notes the following changes to the Ontario Building Code 2012.
The code changes will…
Allow five- and six-storey buildings to be constructed of wood (mid-rise wood) to provide opportunities for safer, more affordable construction options. Ontario’s mid-rise wood frame construction requirements offer the highest degree of public and firefighter safety in Canada. (Editor’s note: This follows the lead of B.C.’s legislation in 2009 to allow wood structures up to six storeys. The Ontario legislation was aggressively opposed by the cement and concrete industries, citing the risks of fire.)
Enhance barrier-free design requirements. These amendments make Ontario the leading Canadian jurisdiction for accessibility in buildings, and represent a step towards the commitment to an accessible Ontario by 2025.
Promote greater energy efficiency in new homes through requirements for upgraded standards for heating system design and furnace motors. For example kitchens and laundry rooms should include connections for one of either gas or electrical appliances to give consumers more energy-efficient options and furnaces should be equipped with a brushless direct current motor.