Michael Steele / RESCON
There are a few questions I have for our provincial government about regulatory instruments that need an answer now before our industry gets completely wrapped up in red tape.
Firstly, why is the province, after many commissions, studies and much hand-wringing, unable to implement recommendations and embrace new technologies that would eliminate red tape, reduce costs and introduce innovations throughout the design and construction process which would stimulate the building of affordable multi-residential buildings?
Recently I decided to search for an answer to this question.
My search started with the recognition that all design and construction in the province is impacted by and must comply with the regulatory environment which consists of a myriad of government entities, so I made up a list of those entities that in my opinion impact and control what and how we construct buildings in Ontario.
The summarized results of that search are not only shocking but alarming as I identified a 45government entities, made up of:
- Legislation (17 acts of parliament)
- Administrative Authorities (7)
- Commissions, Councils and Agencies (7)
- Ministries (10)
- Codes (4)
These all have a direct impact on, or input into the regulatory environment that governs design and construction in the province. Now visualize the amount of specific requirements and information that are published or contained in the information issued by these entities; add to that all of the other requirements contained in the external documents they reference and the impact of the current situation becomes clear.
My opinion of the regulatory environment which is made up of so many entities is that anyone wanting to design and construct a building in the province is faced with:
- The fact that it is impossible to coordinate all of these requirements because of the large volume of material.
- There is a lack of clarity as to who is responsible for enforcement or interpretation of these requirements.
- The impossible task of having detailed knowledge of all requirements that impact the design and construction of the specific project.
- The potential for liability resulting from a lack of intimate knowledge of all of this material
The shocking part and unintended consequence of the historical way we have and continue to regulate design and construction is that we now have a cumbersome bureaucracy made up of many uncoordinated moving parts which not only adds unnecessary cost, but is unable to embrace the pace and substance of emerging new technologies which could reduce administrative and hard costs enabling the construction of more affordable housing in the province.
We are slow to accept change and innovation, in all manner of areas that affect design and construction, but that is what we must embrace now, to be able to construct affordable, sustainable and environmentally resilient housing in the future.
The introduction of Uber technology in the taxi industry has forced the City of Toronto to examine all of its existing legal instruments used to regulate that industry.
City council has recognized that a new approach to regulation is required in order to embrace emerging innovative technologies.
The province needs to follow the City’s lead and recognize that a new approach to regulation for our industry is required.
Below is the list of 45 that I mentioned earlier. Let me know you views or if I’ve missed putting something on the list.
Thanks for reading Tech Corner!
Michael Steele, B. Tech. (C.M.), is the Director of Technical Standards at RESCON. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @RESCONtech.
Partial List of Regulatory Instruments & Authoritative Bodies that Impact Construction in Ontario
- Ontario Planning and Development Act
- Planning Act
- Ontario Heritage Act
- Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act
- Conservation Authorities Act
- Environmental Protection Act
- Clean Water Act
- EnvironmentalAssessment Act
- Fire Protection and Prevention Act
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Green Energy and Green Economy Act
- Municipal Act
- Building Code Act
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
- Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA)
COMMISSIONS, COUNCILS AND AGENCIES
- Accessibility Standards Advisory Council
- Building Code Commission
- Building Code Conservation Advisory Council
- Building Advisory Council
- Building Materials Evaluation Commission
- Conservation Review Board (Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario)
- Licence Appeal Tribunal
... but wait, there's more.
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Community and Social Services
- Ministry of Environment & Climate Change
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Ministry of Labour
- Ministry of Energy
- Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
- Ministry ofEconomic Development, Employment and Infrastructure
- Ontario Fire Code
- Ontario Building Code
- Ontario Electrical Safety Code