Here's a snapshot of some of the most important issues
for the residential construction industry.

December 2014

The approval of mid-rise timber-frame construction was a refreshing development in Ontario and one that should truly be a game-changer for the industry. However, this is just the beginning as much remains to be done. Given how critical this is for housing affordability, we expect the province and municipalities will do everything they can to encourage and promote projects.

This is good news for consumers as it will increase new housing supply in areas that might not have supported a low- or high-rise project. By the same token, it creates an opportunity for our industry to provide greater choice and expand in new arenas for housing in ways not possible before this change to the Ontario Building Code. 
 
Of greater importance is the fact that the evolution of wood used in mid-rise buildings can now begin in earnest. Hopefully, rather than being one of the last jurisdictions to innovate, Ontario can now move to being a leader. 

The Dec. 1st article in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business (see below) outlined some of the many benefits. I have no doubt our industry will rise to the occasion. If British Columbia is any indication -- approximately 200 projects in five years in a market one-third Ontario’s size -- we could see a significant number of projects within a short period of time in Ontario.
 
For now, let’s appreciate this milestone and make it happen. Want to join the discussion? Follow us on Twitter at @RESCONprez or @_RESCON.

Have a great holiday and all the best in 2015!


RESCON President

Regulatory reform is long overdue

I encourage you to read and comment on Alex Antoniuk’s latest RESCON Code Letter #3.

RESCON has long been an advocate of Regulatory Change in Ontario as we believe the current system that regulates Development/Building activities is no longer capable of responding in an efficient manner to the rapid changes in processing information and construction activities, resulting from the use of new and emerging technologies.

I asked Alek to tackle this subject, given that the expertise he developed while at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing puts him in a unique position to share his perspective on this topic.
RESCON believes it’s time to start a conversation between industry stakeholders and the regulators who control our Industry on how we can affect the changes that would benefit all by:
  • Reducing redundant practices and minimizing red tape
  • Recognizing entrepreneurial expertise
  • Encouraging the use of emerging technologies  
Join the conversation. Now is the time for action.

Michael Steele. B. Tech. (C.M.)
Director, Technical Standards / RESCON
Email: michael.steele@rescon.com

RESCON honoured
as six-storey wood champion at awards

We are thrilled to announce that RESCON has been honoured as a recipient of the Wood Champion award at the Wood Design Awards.

We worked diligently alongside our colleagues at the Ontario Home Builders' Association, BILD and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to convince the province that changes to the Ontario Building Code would be beneficial not only to the residential construction industry but to new-home buyers as well. Ontario Wood Works! recognized those efforts with this award.

And now we'll see that change happen on Jan. 1, 2015 -- only days away. It will be one happy New Year for the entire province.

Click here for more information about the awards.


Cranes, cranes everywhere

The vice-president of Colliers tells multihousingnews.com that there are more cranes building high-rises in Toronto than in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles combined. Not too shabby.

Click here to read more.

Heavy rebar tariff impacts B.C. industry

So you've read all about the code change allowing six-storey wood-frame construction in Ontario. So let's switch building materials.

British Columbia, which approved the mid-rise wood building change five years ahead of us, is in the middle of a trade dispute between steel producers in Central Canada and their offshore competitors. And new-home buyers in Metro Vancouver's hot condo market are caught in between.

An interim duty has been applied to Canadian imports of steel rebar from China, South Korea and Turkey. U.S. rebar imports are not targeted in this trade dispute.

Click here to read the story.

Big cities restricting new housing harm
the economy

The GTA has a lot in common with San Francisco when it comes to big issue affecting affordability: supply.

But the many protesters angry about affordability, the changing skyline and gentrification who have flooded the streets of the picturesque California city for the last few years are angry about the wrong things, says a local economist.

"In my view, the whole debate here misses the point," says Enrico Moretti, of the University of California at Berkeley. "People are marching against Google buses when they should be marching for more housing permits."

Click here to read the Washington Post's blog post.

Our president tells Globe and Mail about the 'game-changer'

RESCON president Richard Lyall tells reporter Jennifer Lewington about the "game-changer" -- six-storey wood-frame construction.

This Report on Business story was fantastic exposure for the Council as Lyall was the first source sited and his quote was used in the headline of the story.

Imagine -- it took five years for us to Ontario to catch up to British Columbia, but we're still well behind many parts of Europe.

Lyall also spoke to audiences about "The Game-Changer" at Construct Canada 2014 and the BILD Toronto Star breakfast as he welcomed the change, adding "we're going to go higher."

To read the story, click on this link.

O Canada, your construction industry needs a rebrand: guru

So where does Canada stand when it comes to achieving its potential in innovation for construction on an international scale?

Not very high if you ask Pierre Boucher, president of Canadian Construction Innovations (CCInnovations). He told the Daily Construction News that we're too timid and underestimate our potential.

His first plan of attack for Canada's construction industry? "We have to create our own brand," Boucher said.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

Canadian housing starts see fastest rise
in seven months

After a sluggish October, government figures showed Canadian housing starts rebounded which suggested to some experts that low borrowing costs helped support growth in the market, reports Bloomberg in the pages of the Financial Post.

New-home starts rose 6.5 per cent to 195,620 units at a seasonally adjusted annual pace in November, according to CMHC on Monday. Multiple-unit starts in urban areas rose 13.6 per cent to 112,583, reversing most of the prior month’s decline, and single-family starts fell 2.9 per cent to 63,760 units.

Click here for more on this story.

Should Ontario have its own 'Charbonneau' corruption inquiry?

Quebec's shocking two-and-a-half-year inquiry recently came to a close after exposing a corrupt process of handing out public construction contracts through a web of executives, municipal officials, engineers, political parties, politicians and mobsters.

So what about Ontario? Should we have a similar inquiry set up in Canada's economic engine? CBC.ca takes on the issue at this link.

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