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October 15, 2014

The OBOA Expands its Business Model in Training

President Mike Seiling provides the following announcement to members.  It is based on his remarks to the almost 500 attendees at the President’s Dinner of the 58 Annual Meeting & Training Session, held recently in Niagara Falls.  Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Ted McMeekin, was in attendance.  Several stakeholder partners and associations were represented as well.

Last year, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) revised its training delivery model by withdrawing its contract with OBOA and giving it to George Brown College.  OBOA members deserve to have the highest quality up-to-date training material that is maintained and available in appropriate venues to meet members’ needs.  Professional building officials must have direct and continuous access to great training to support knowledge transfer and professional performance.   In our view, George Brown’s business model is not one that fits the needs of building officials.

Last year, in anticipation of this MMAH decision, and based on the broad strategies of its 2012+ Strategic Plan, the OBOA announced, invested in, and delivered a successful series of nine (9) Building Code overview courses.  We have since added two (2), for a total of eleven (11).  The objective was to re-establish our ability to service our members, without relying on a partner which proved to not be loyal.

Following up on that development program and nine months of successful course delivery, we are pleased to announce that the OBOA Board approved, at its meeting prior to the AMTS, a new investment to further enhance: our suite of courses, how we deliver those courses, and to whom we deliver those courses.  We are setting the table with a fuller business strategy that will enable us to both fulfil our mandate to support regulatory excellence, and ensure financial stability for the organization.

A specific objective of your Board of Directors is to continue to invest our own resources in training in the near term, and to then attract supporting capital from investment partners with shared goals, from both the corporate and industry association sectors.

More specifically, because the OBOA:

1.    Has a strong corporate brand;
2.    Is committed to excellence in the profession of Building Regulation, and the health and safety of citizens in buildings;
3.    Is committed to best practices, innovation and adaptation;
4.    Is a leader in a jurisdiction that is sophisticated in building code development and administration;
5.    Has a long history of providing building code and related training to practitioners; and,
6.    Is strengthening its business model to operate in a more commercial, demanding and competitive marketplace………..

We are taking the following steps immediately:

Step 1: Build New Detailed Technical Courses

  • After developing eleven (11) overview courses in various aspects of the building code in 2013-14, OBOA is developing eight (8) new Detailed Technical courses to provide more in-depth understanding of several key topics;
  • OBOA is contracting with a prominent code and standards organization, in the next few weeks, to develop these courses; and,
  • The first four courses, two Part 3 and two Part 9 should be available by March 2015.

Step 2: Convert all Courses to Online Delivery

  • OBOA will convert all nineteen (19) courses – eleven (11) overview and eight (8) detailed courses - to online delivery to support distance education, and to open up new markets across Canada and the United States;
  • OBOA is contracting with the leading North American provider of online continuing education and training solutions for the design and construction industry, in the next few weeks, to develop and platform these online courses;
  • The online courses will be of high quality, visually attractive and will involve active voice narration, rather than silent, passive self-study;
  • The online courses will be offered through a branded OBOA Program Portal; and.
  • The first three online courses will be available by Easter of 2015.

Step 3: Make Courses Available Outside of Ontario through a National and International Initiative

  • Working with the Alliance of Canadian Building Officials’ Associations (ACBOA) and initially the provincial building official associations in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, OBOA will convert our OBC classroom courses to the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), initially NBCC 2010 and later NBCC 2015, and supply these to other Canadian jurisdictions, through a joint venture between OBOA and ACBOA, the details of which are currently being negotiated; and,
  • The US-based online course supplier and the OBOA will market and deliver the OBC online building code courses via the web, in a joint venture.

Step 4: Train Other Practitioners

  • The OBOA continues to serve building officials, but is renewing efforts to serve a wider constituency of 21 customer groups in five sectors – 1. Building regulation, 2. Designers and professionals, 3. Construction, 4. Real estate, and 5. The general public.  Two builder organizations have already indicated a desire to formally endorse OBOA’s new training platform and promote the courses to their members;
  • Many of these new markets will be accessible when we have online courses; and,
  • OBOA will also create a formal examination and testing system for all of our courses, so that both students and practitioner groups can consider OBOA courses more positively in their qualification and continuing education needs.

To finance this expansion of the business model, the OBOA will use the following principles:

  • We will fund the capital and operating expenditures of this strategy from both the operating accounts and the reserves of the corporation.   We will not take on what we cannot afford;
  • Yet, OBOA will partner with both corporate and association partners with shared goals relating to the public good, consistent code administration, innovation in compliance practices, and professional development; and,
  • Specifically, the Target Corporation, with business and social interests and an aggressive growth strategy in several countries including Canada, is the first to partner with OBOA in this provincial, national and international strategy.

This is a proud moment.  We will keep members apprised of progress, and invite member participation in the delivery of the various initiatives.

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

Founded in 1956, the OBOA is a self-governing, not-for-profit professional association for Building Officials in the Province of Ontario; committed to maintaining the highest degree of professionalism in the field of building code enforcement and building safety; while promoting uniform code interpretation and enforcement, through training and education services, and related committee work. Please visit us at www.oboa.on.ca