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Blueprint #3

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Dear OBOA Members:

This edition will focus on a few points of interests and updates as the Association nears its annual conference.  In a few short weeks building officials, industry leaders and guests will convene in Niagara Falls for the 2014 OBOA Annual Meeting and Training Sessions (Sept. 28-Oct. 2).  The Host Committee lead by Chairs Jeff Menard and Sandra Burrows, plus many volunteers, are placing the final touches on this year’s conference.

Topics Include

1. Leadership in Building Regulation Day - Thurs. Oct. 2, 2014 (Niagara Falls, ON)

In July, every Ontario Chief Building Official (CBO) should have received an invitation via mail for the inaugural Leadership Day on Building Regulation. The Leadership Day forms part of the 2014 AMTS and is something new for OBOA, programming that is non-technical, but focused more on “softer” managerial skills.  The sessions cover four streams of subjects relating to leading building regulation in a municipal context: Operational Excellence, Organizational Effectiveness, Industry Relations and Emerging Issues.

Who should attend? You should plan to attend to enjoy the benefits if you are a CBO, Deputy CBO, plus supervisors and managers who aspire to be a DCBO or CBO.  Clerks and Treasurers would benefit from the experience as well.  OBOA purposely partnered with AMCTO to encourage its members to support building officials who would like to attend, because of the value to all municipalities of this event.

Do I need to attend the full conference or due to work commitments can I attend Thurs Oct. 2 only?  Your choice!   If you sign-up for the typical full delegate registration, there is no additional cost to attend the extra day.  If you come to the Leadership Day only, contact OBOA head office and sign up at the low day-rate of $125/person. The fee includes 4 presentations throughout the day and includes breakfast and lunch!

We look forward to seeing you and hearing your thoughts on the 1st Leadership Day! 

2. Building Code Training Update

As previously announced, the OBOA engaged a consultant to create eight overview building code courses. Within in-house expertise, the OBOA completed the Legal course, so a total of nine overview courses.  The training room was booked every week with training offerings up until the end of June.

The OBOA Board has instructed the Chief Administrative Officer to complete a business plan for the Association to build more technical code courses to supplement the nine overview code courses, and to address the issues of online training, new markets, and funding models.  The business plan is nearing completion.  The OBOA prides itself on delivering this initiative to our members, and this is key for the sustainability for the Association.

As members are aware, the Province revised its model for training delivery, shipping the training material to a local community college for delivery of code training material.  Since this announcement, the OBOA has met with George Brown College (GBC) in hopes of securing an agreement for delivery of the technical training material, involving the use of the improved overview courses that the OBOA had invested in developing.   To date, we have not been able to come to terms with GBC.  Please continue to visit the OBOA website for your training needs and the overview courses that OBOA is currently offering (head office, through chapter or municipal contract).   Stay tuned as we continue to add technical courses to our portfolio. 

3. Examinations (BCIN exams by MMAH)

The Association has received complaints from building officials stating BCIN exams they wrote were not reflective of the syllabus, unfair because of double negative questions, or unbalanced in the ratio of appropriate questions. The first complaint logged with OBOA was received at the April Chapter Chairs meeting (Apr. 12).  We always take these complaints seriously and have spoken to MMAH staff with the expectation that these matters will be reviewed and addressed.  The good news is MMAH appreciated the information and agreed to look into these matters affecting building officials and designers.

Speaking of examinations, no date for the start of requalification exams has been set by MMAH.  Dating back to the fall of 2012 when the OBC (O.Reg. 330/12) was introduced, the President continued to lobby Ms. Brenda Lewis, Director of Building and Development Branch at MMAH, to communicate the OBOA position that re-examining is not effective and that there are far more efficient methods to ensure code knowledge is preserved not involving re-examinations.  Examinations are not a true indicator of code knowledge (flip and find within 2.5 minutes); however a solution that includes experience and education is a bona fide solution.   We believe our efforts are making an impact, and proof that re-examinations have not been announced is a sign that progress is being made.  We expect a formal announcement later in the year.   Stay tuned as we continue to monitor this one!
4. Building Code Amendment - Requirements for Professional Design of Buildings (Code News Issue 230)

Last week, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) issued a Code News announcing an amendment to the Building Code Act, 1992 enabling the regulations to require professional design of buildings. Members will recall in 2006 the successful court challenge by the Professional Engineers and Association of Architects where designer requirements were struck down, including the famous professional design chart.

Since the court decision, the professional design chart remained in the Ontario Building Code (OBC) until the release of the 2012 OBC (O.Reg. 330/12).  Behind the scenes and shortly after the court decision, the OBOA has lobbied and participated in meetings to find a solution including retaining the professional design chart in the OBC.   There have been many discussions and meetings in forums such as the Engineers, Architects and Building Officials Joint Committee (EABO), with MMAH staff present, to find a workable solution.  The solution must include OBOA concerns because we are the experts on code enforcement, with building department staff the front line purveyors.  If the purpose of the Ontario Building Code is to ensure that safe and accessible buildings are constructed, then who better to confirm professional design requirements are met (e.g. new church designed by a non-design professional) than the CBO.

What is going to happen? The expected impact is no change for building officials and no difference for code enforcement than prior to the court challenge.  The exact outcome will not be known until MMAH releases the OBC regulation changes.  From the code enforcement perspective the best location for professional design is within the regulations, and we continue to support Div. C., Part 1, and the same location prior to removing.  The Association looks forward to future discussions with MMAH and industry partners to ensure the solution is effective and efficient. The OBOA strongly recommends building officials continue to engage in open communication with the Professional Engineers of Ontario and Ontario Association of Architects on matters of public safety and other relevant issues.

To read the Code News Issued 230, click on this link www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.

5. 2012 OBC; Water Pipe Distribution Update

Good news to report on the issues surrounding new water pipe distribution in new residential homes. The Ontario Plumbing Inspectors Association (OPIA) recently submitted a Code change to provide a prescriptive path for Code compliance as opposed to the current uncertainty within the industry surrounding a design solution.  We believe this change will provide clarity and consistency that will benefit all industry stakeholders and the occupants.  This approach is sound and makes sense as Part 9 is built on the framework of prescriptive options.  A prescriptive option is intended to provide building practitioners with a clear understanding of the Code requirement, something the OBOA often advocates for. 

In terms of timing, we are unsure of the exact timing for the Code change approval.  The OBOA raised the discrepancy issue in water pipe distribution with MMAH back in March.  The MMAH acknowledged the issue, and staff participated in the industry stakeholder meetings to find a solution.

The OBOA supports the Code change proposal on water pipe distribution as submitted by the OPIA. 

This concludes the OBOA updates on a number of important projects that the OBOA Board of Directors and CAO are following.  If there are additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact either of us directly.

We look forward to our next communication.

Best Regards,

200 Marycroft Avenue, Unit 8, Woodbridge, ON L4L 5X4
Tel: (905) 264-1662, Fax: (905) 264-8696, Website: www.oboa.on.ca, E-mail: info@ oboa.on.ca