Residential builders object to rushing new green building construction standards

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Vaughan, April 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — April 14, 2023, Vaughan, Ont. – The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is concerned that the provincial government is rushing to implement new green building standards related to building construction at the same time it is proposing to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

“The residential construction industry, its builders, designers and manufacturers have a lot on their plates just now due to higher interest rates and a perfect storm of issues and it would be unfair to expect them to adapt on short notice to significant changes to green building standards that are above the minimum requirements in the Ontario Building Code (OBC),” says RESCON president Richard Lyall. “We are all for improvements but they need to be incremental so the industry can get it right and we can continue to build the houses and condos that are necessary to meet demand.”

The province is in the process of setting up meetings to begin developing a new province-wide approach for interested municipalities and other stakeholders on transitioning to certain green building standards related to building construction into the OBC. This will be achieved through an interim OBC amendment this coming summer, which will most likely come into effect in early 2024.

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The timetable for the changes is patently unrealistic as it means that the building industry and practitioners would have less than 12 months to adopt and understand the changes and put them into practice for 2024 projects. The industry maintains the proposed steps would be rolled out too quickly and make it even more difficult for developers and builders to build new housing in Ontario. The speed at which this is being rammed through is unprecedented. Construction planning cycles are long and complex in a way that those who do not build wouldn’t understand. 

Instead of a hurried approach that will hamper the home building industry, the province and municipalities should move forward in a predictable and measured manner towards sensible and achievable action that will consider the capacity of the industry and cost implications of the changes, yet still enable enough homes to be built to reach the 1.5-million target set by the province.

“Rushing the process would merely throw a wrench into the works. It would be a nightmare for the residential construction industry and likely delay building permit applications while developers and builders and building code officials get acquainted with the new standards,” adds Lyall. “We can not afford to put any more hurdles in the way of housing. We’re in dire straits as it is and must find ways to build housing more quickly. We do not need any roadblocks that will prevent new units from being built. Any changes must be well thought out and phased in over time.”

RESCON is suggesting that a cost-benefit analysis be conducted prior to any new rules coming into effect so the province can gauge the impact that they would have on construction of new housing.

RESCON is the province’s leading association of residential builders committed to providing leadership and fostering innovation in the industry.

CONTACT: Grant Cameron RESCON 905-638-1706 [email protected] 

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