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TECH CORNER: Translating housing's technical issues
February 3rd, 2015 3:07 pm     A+ | a-
Michael Steele / RESCON

Michael Steele

Are you looking for info and answers to questions on technical issues that affect multi-residential construction in Ontario? Then this is the space where you will find the answers you seek.

We’ll be tackling issues that impact residential construction such as: inconsistent interpretations of the OBC, proposed code changes, new regulations and standards, affordability and Tarion.

And we want your input and questions so we can be as current and interactive as possible, using plain language to cut through the jargon.

I have a few questions of my own that I feel I should answer, so here we go …

Who is Michael Steele and what are his qualifications to answer questions in RESCON Tech Corner?

I am the director, technical standards for the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, a builders’ advocacy group. Now in my fourth decade in the residential design and construction industry, I’ve worn a number of different hats. These include: partner of an architectural firm, construction manager for a large developer of multi-residential projects, building science consultant and adviser to Tarion (Ontario’s new-home warranty program) on performance standards and quality control protocols, vice-chair of the Ontario Building code commission, and a member of various municipal, provincial and national task groups dealing with the development of codes and regulations.

What’s going on at RESCON?

Some of the technical issues we are currently dealing with include:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing -- We’re evaluating the impact of some of the changes caused by the ongoing reorganization of this ministry. These changes have resulted in: passing on the responsibility of technical advice for builders and developers to municipalities; an inability to respond in a timely manner to requests for clarification of OBC amendments; and minimizing stakeholder participation in the technical review of proposed changes in content or protocol that affect the OBC, the guidelines for site safety during construction of mid-rise wood projects, and the development of measures to achieve consistent code interpretations across Ontario.

Tarion: Friend or Adversary? -- I have a question for you: What prevents Tarion from informing builders of current red-flagged administrative or technical concerns? It seems to be difficult to acquire this information from the new-home warranty program. Having that information would allow developers and builders to take action right away and minimize potential future problems. Seems like a no-brainer as it would help everyone, most importantly new-home owners.

Let me know if there are other Tarion issues you would like addressed in the following seminars planned by RESCON:

-          Thursday, Feb. 26 – Tarion, Your Partner or Adversary? In this seminar, we’ll explore members’ issues with immediate feedback from a representative of Tarion. The seminar will run from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at RESCON headquarters. Click here for directions to RESCON. Email for more details.

-          Tuesday, March 24 – TARION (part 2), B19 (revised) – An introduction, including revisions related to mid-rise wood-frame construction. More information to come soon in this space.

So that is just some of what RESCON Tech is currently involved with. Stay tuned for more and let me know your thoughts!


Michael Steele, B. Tech. (C.M.), is the Director of Technical Standards at RESCON. Reach him at, @RESCONtech or at 905-760-7777, ext. 110.

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