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LYALL’S FILES: Ontario building regulation expert joins RESCON
October 11th, 2016 7:21 pm     A+ | a-

Richard Lyall / RESCON


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ve read many times that residential construction has to deal with at least 45 different government bodies and agencies.

Our director of technical standards, Michael Steele, did a little digging last year and came up with that number which sent a chill through the industry.

That made us think a lot about where we want to lead this association and make a positive influence on our industry and government. To make a difference with the Ontario ministries of housing and municipal affairs, we knew we had to expand our team.


Michael de Lint, RESCON's new director of building
regulatory reform and technical standards.


So we’ve beefed up our team with the hiring of a senior bureaucrat with 29 years of experience in the Ontario government, and 10 years as a consultant with the World Bank, where he advised developing countries on improving their building permit system and contributed to two books on the subject.  

Michael de Lint joined RESCON recently as our new director of building regulatory reform and technical standards. Before joining the association, he was a valuable contributor to our technical council meetings, walking the line as a representative of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs while offering insight into the public policy considerations underlying government decision-making.


LEADING EXPERT

He is also an expert in the Building Code Act, and the evolution of building regulation in Ontario. With his international experience, he is one of Canada’s leading experts at comparing building regulatory systems among jurisdictions around the world. With his experience in Ontario and around the world, he’ll be in charge of working from the grass-roots level to modernize and streamline Ontario’s building and planning regulatory system.

He is also working with RESCON’s Paul De Berardis, director of building standards and innovation, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, to create a guideline supporting the use of alternative solutions for mass timber buildings above six storeys. This would allow Ontario to compete with British Columbia and Quebec where they have 18- and 12-storey timber-frame projects (and let’s not even talk about Europe right now).

Speaking of his international experience with regulatory systems, de Lint says he is very impressed by Singapore’s building regulatory system which the World Bank has put at the top of it’s “Doing Business” rankings. (More on Singapore and what Ontario can learn from it in de Lint’s upcoming blog.)

“Fundamentally, building regulation systems all share the same objectives,” de Lint says. “However they’re not all equal – some are better at getting good outcomes in an efficient way. While affluent countries usually have better systems than developing countries, not all affluent countries have equally modern, high-performing regulatory systems.”

“For example, Canada ranks 54th globally, and those measurements are based on Toronto. The World Bank report points to delays in site plan approvals as especially problematic.”


'THERE IS A CERTAIN ELEGANCE IN SIMPLICITY'

“We’ve embraced regulation with a little too much enthusiasm land lost track of the outcomes we want: innovation, safety, energy efficiency, affordability and choices in the marketplace. There is a certain elegance in simplicity.”

Aside from building regulations, de Lint has already helped RESCON build stronger alliances with several municipalities’ chief building officials; he has visited Montreal to learn about mid-rise construction with cross-laminated timber; and he travelled to Ottawa with Steele for the Ontario Building Officials Association conference.

He’ll also deal with the Growth Plan, the Greenbelt and the provincial government’s Climate Change Action Plan (see his blog with Paul De Berardis).

When he’s not reading through regulatory documents, the Toronto-born man likes to ski, and spent many years piloting engine-free gliders right by African Lion Safari. To date, he has avoided landing among the animals in the safari.

So what makes de Lint the right man for RESCON? “If you can build alliances, all the better. I have a good relationship with government and industry people and I can things done.”

That’s exactly why we brought him on board. Please welcome Michael to the team by emailing delint@rescon.com.

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