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REGULATORY RANT: Winter is coming -- Ontario home builders face construction to finishing heat conundrum
October 26th, 2017 9:52 am     A+ | a-

Paul De Berardis / RESCON

Today, I’m providing an update about the ongoing rollout of new regulations for finishing heat. It's an important time to talk about this as winter is coming.

Builders only have just now been given the tools needed to comply with the changes, even though the rules took effect May 1. While builders are now able to comply, this process has led to months of deliberation and frustration. Our members have been relieved that the weather in the GTHA held out for as long as it did; otherwise, the confusion over how to use furnace heat in the final stages of residential construction could have led to unintended consequences.

With the finishing heat requirements now being rolled out, this heating season will demonstrate how this regulation change will impact the cost and complexity of building a new low-rise home.

READ THESE DOCUMENTS

Meanwhile, here are links to pertinent documents that you should read as soon as possible with the heating season already upon us.

-          TSSA Advisory: Furnaces for Finishing Heat

-          Enbridge: Residential Finishing Heat Activation Form

-          Enbridge: FAQs for Residential Temporary Heat

-          Enbridge: Builder Site Preparation


Union Gas also has created similar documents which are available and can be requested directly from them. Email ResTechSupport@uniongas.com for more information.


ONE IMPORTANT NOTE

If a furnace is found to be operated outside the scope of the finishing heat requirements, the fuel regulator may reject the furnace installation and the furnace will no longer be able to be used in any permanent installation.

Although Enbridge Gas Distribution activates the gas service and, in some cases, will initially turn on the furnace to check safeties, they are not considered the activating heating contractor. The activating heating contractor is ideally the builder’s HVAC contractor (furnace installer), or alternatively a separate licensed gas technician (i.e., G1 or G2 certificate holder). Again, see this link: Enbridge: Residential Finishing Heat Activation Form.


HOW THIS ALL DEVELOPED

These discussions have involved RESCON, HRAI, TSSA and gas utilities, as well as our industry partners OHBA and CHBA.

HRAI is the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, a trade association representing manufacturers in the HVAC industry.

Originally intended for Sept. 1, 2016, the furnace manufacturers under HRAI intended to ban the use of furnaces for residential construction heat. Finally succeeding in May 1, 2017, manufacturers changed their installation instructions to ban the use of furnaces for construction heat in Canada only.

Fast-forward to Sept. 27, 2017, TSSA introduced an advisory to reflect the changes forced by manufacturers to ban the use of gas-fired central furnaces for construction heat.

Moving on to last week (Oct. 16-20), the gas utilities issued their protocols and finishing heat activation forms to allow the use of furnaces for temporary heat during the finishing stages of a new home, determined to be following drywall, taping and priming. (See above links under "READ THESE DOCUMENTS.)

To read my previous blogs to get more background on these developments, click on these links:

-          Is Canadian dust dirtier?

-          Canadian furnace manufacturers change installation protocol

Thanks for reading our blog! Feel free to contact us with any questions.

 
Paul De Berardis is RESCON’s director of building science and innovation. Email him at deberardis@rescon.com

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