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REGULATORY RANT: E-permitting working group is off and running
December 17th, 2018 5:52 pm     A+ | a-

Michael de Lint / RESCON 

As reported in my Oct. 30 blog, there is now strong momentum to expand the use of e-permitting, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D visualization tools from the design stage, all the way through permitting, construction, operation and maintenance of our built infrastructure. The key pieces are beginning to come together with the aim of placing Ontario on the leading edge of technological advancements for permitting applications, and we are proud to be a leader in this initiative.


The objective of the project is to standardize the processes and the information and documents required for building approvals, construction permits and inspections. Key elements of the project include:

- Streamlining and standardizing the flow of information and documents within the municipality as well as with various agencies that may need to be involved in the review process. Process mapping and process optimization are required to remove redundancies and update the information flow requirements, based on the most recent technological advancements, including Building Information Modelling (BIM).

- Develop and implement data standards for information exchange between the municipality and the vendors, consultants, and agencies that interact with the municipality during an approval process.

- Standardizing information storage and maintenance protocols to facilitate efficient retrieval of historical information.

The standardization project will start with building permit approvals and construction inspections, and later extend to the “applicable law” agencies, including municipal planning and external agencies.

Prof. Brenda McCabe, University of Toronto


A newly established standardization working group includes the Large Municipality Chief Building Officials (LMCBO), represented by Ralph Kaminski; the Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA), represented by president Matt Farrell; the University of Toronto, represented by Prof. Brenda McCabe and Dr. Arash Shahi; as well as RESCON, represented by Michael de Lint and Paul De Berardis.

The group is developing a common platform to expand the use of e-permitting and BIM, resulting in what we expect to be a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, open-source e-permitting system for Ontario.

Ralph Kaminski, Waterloo chief building official

The working group has already started process mapping with a team of 10 municipalities. This work will continue over the next several months.

The group is not only trying to modernize our building permitting system, bringing it more fully into the digital world, but it will also address the biggest source of approval delays which is in the areas of planning and other “applicable law.” The project will be expanded to include consultations with municipal planning and provincial approval agencies such as conservation authorities, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Environment.

Matt Farrell, OBOA president



Industry stakeholders will also be brought into the project to provide expert advice, including design professionals, builders, contractors and vendors of e-permitting services.

RESCON president Richard Lyall, who chairs the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO), will be engaging that organization on this issue. Among CDAO’s members are the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).


In addition to working with OBOA, LMCBO and RESCON on the standardization project, U of T has other plans to expand BIM adoption by the local industry, including: (a) building an on-site construction trailer at a Toronto tall building site with state-of-the-art virtual and augmented reality equipment, giving trades hands-on BIM experience; (b) municipal pilot projects to develop a BIM-enabled e-permitting platform, including automated code compliance checking; and (c) conducting annual BIM surveys from coast to coast to benchmark the use and implementation of BIM in Canada. These BIM projects will add momentum to the standardization project.

Dr. Arash Shahi, University of Toronto

BILL 154

Bill 154, the “Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act,” was passed in November 2017. It gave businesses the option to submit information to Ontario government ministries in a digital format. As reported in my previous blog on e-permitting, other G7 jurisdictions have been very active in promoting BIM and e-permitting through government procurement and standardization initiatives. We have just discovered that several other provinces are now working on establishing digital access to government approval authorities. We will try to coordinate with these efforts.

We will also be inviting an Ontario government representative to participate on the standardization working group.

Paul De Berardis, RESCON



Anyone from the community of building officials, planners, designers, vendors or others are welcome to provide input or participate in the project. You can contact me or any of the individuals listed above.

We are at the dawn of a digital revolution in Ontario – we look forward to your ideas and input.


Ralph Kaminski:

Matt Farrell:

Arash Shahi:

Michael de Lint is RESCON’s director of building regulatory reform and technical standards. Email him at

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