Canadian Contractor

Code decisions should be technical, not political

Ontario building code committee veteran Mike Memme responds to Victoria Residential Home Builders' president Casey Edge

December 14, 2018
By canadiancontractor

Having been involved on several committees doing code reviews and warranty program construction performance guideline reviews in Ontario, I’ve found that builders comments have been very well received and have been the primary input that has swayed decisions one way or another. It’s been my experience that builders with lots of field experience work quite well with chief building officials, engineers, architects, and warranty program officials to move forward with reasonable proposals. In most cases, builders bring to light real world situations government officials had never considered or could possibly be aware of. Builders have dealt with situations that can’t be found in books or online. Once this real world information is added to the discussion, code committee members from other disciplines have been very responsive. The problem is that code decisions should be more technical than political. When these decisions become political we lose focus on what’s most important and risk unintended consequences. BC should be aware of that more than any other province. Codes should be about safety and durability with a nod to affordability. Everything else should come after.

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1 Comment » for Code decisions should be technical, not political
  1. Casey Edge says:

    First, I am the Executive Director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association, not the BC Home Builders (EDITOR’s NOTE: This has been corrected in this post. Our apologies, Casey.). Second, the process by which code committee members are selected is not transparent. As well, meeting minutes by the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes and Executive meetings for the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), both public bodies, are not available to the public so builders have no way of knowing why changes to seismic for Part 9 never made it to public review. Marginal improvements to energy efficiency at significant cost for new, already energy efficient homes has become the priority, not health and safety – while govt ignores a national reno tax credit to address vast stock of old homes, the real source of GHG’s. If this isn’t costly, political greenwashing at the expense of young families’ mortgages, I don’t know what is. The club known as the CCBFC as it is presently structured rarely represents the interests of consumers or builders. As for BC and unintended consequances, having been a part of the Step Code consultation, I have first-hand experience of how that process bulldozed the concerns of builders of affordable homes and undermined the province’s code standard by enabling 160 municipalities (mayors & councils with zero expertise) to choose their own level of energy efficiency up to Net Zero – in a province with a history of leaky condo. The CCBFC appears to be going along with this nonsense. There’s much more, but I will defer to the holiday season. Thanks for your thoughts and Merry Christmas.

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