By Paul De Berardis/RESCON
Stairs, guards and handrails
As a reminder to all RESCON members, please be advised that changes to stair, guard and handrail requirements will be in effect in Ontario for all permits applied for on or after January 1, 2022.
For more details about the upcoming changes, click here.
Proposed changes for the next edition of Ontario’s Building Code (OBC)
The Government of Ontario has committed to increasing harmonization of the technical requirements in construction codes across Canada. A Reconciliation Agreement was signed on August 27, 2020, by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, committing Ontario to:
- Reducing the number of technical differences between its Code and the National Codes.
- Releasing increasingly harmonized editions of its Code within specific timeframes following the release of new National Codes, including making the upcoming next edition of Ontario’s Building Code in effect 24 months after the release of the next National Codes.
It is expected that the next edition of Ontario’s Building Code will be in effect at the end of 2023, pending the anticipated December 2021 release of the 2020 National Construction Codes. As part of getting to the next edition of the OBC, the ministry has planned two rounds of public consultation:
Fall 2021: Existing technical variations between Ontario’s Building Code and the current 2015 National Construction Codes.
Winter 2022: Following the release of the 2020 National Construction Code (expected December 2021), new technical variations between the OBC and NBC will seek to further harmonize.
As part of the Fall 2021 consultation currently underway and set to close on December 4, 2021, the harmonization proposals include the following major areas:
- Secondary suites in houses (e.g., defining secondary suites and establishing ceiling heights)
- Standpipe systems (e.g., adhering more closely with NFPA 14, “Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems”)
- Fire sprinklers, fire alarm systems and carbon monoxide alarms (e.g., requiring sprinklers and fire alarm systems in more buildings and expanding the use of carbon monoxide alarms)
- Braced-wall panels (e.g., applying to a wider range of scenarios)
- Mezzanine designs (e.g., changing the design of mezzanines in large commercial buildings)
- Soil gas/radon (e.g., adopting a proactive approach to address radon)
- Various plumbing requirements (e.g., removing certain provisions related to floor drains and separate services) House ventilation requirements (e.g., greater application of the use of cleaning devices to address contaminants)
- Guard design for balconies and stairways (e.g., allowing climbable elements in guards located up to 4.2 metres from adjacent floor levels)
Approximately 60 per cent of Ontario’s code is currently consistent with the National Construction Codes. These fall 2021 proposals include changes that would further reduce the number of technical variations between Ontario’s Building Code and National Construction Codes.
RESCON is engaged in the consultation and will be reviewing the approximately 700 proposed building code changes relating to increasing the harmonization of national construction codes and will be submitting feedback to the ministry on behalf of our members.
The detailed list of proposed harmonization changes for the fall 2021 consultation can be found by clicking here.
Moving forward, the upcoming winter 2022 consultation will bring additional proposed changes for the next edition of Ontario’s Building Code that will focus on further harmonization with the soon-to-be-released 2020 National Construction Code changes.
RESCON members are welcome to engage in the consultation process either directly with the ministry or through the comments RESCON will be preparing.