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

September 2014

The good news as we approach the final countdown on the municipal election is that infrastructure remains as a critical issue for all candidates. In some respects this is the product of the good work by our affiliate the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario.

Aside from this, as you know only too well there remains a myriad of other challenges facing our industry. We are expecting an announcement on code changes which will allow for 5 & 6 story timber frame buildings. As noted in the attached article, there has been considerable opposition to this notwithstanding the fact every other jurisdiction of consequence is engaged in higher timber frame building.

As such, we have been pushing hard for change and in our view it is now simply a matter of time. Needless to say however, the sooner the better as it will open the door for a badly needed addition to the range of residential built forms allowable in the Province.

Finally of note is an upcoming free introductory day on BIM offered by George Brown College which should be of interest to builders interested in related technological advancements in the management of construction projects and time saving measures. Construction is no different that any other industry in that innovation is the key to survival and the successful adaption to change.

The first item in this newsletter is an important Code Letter  on accessibility building code changes effective January 1, 2015. You need to be aware of implications for projects and permit applications. This rest of this newsletter contains a selection of a number of items which we thought you might find interesting. Please continue to share your feedback and ideas.


RESCON President

 

Latest Code Letter by Alek Antoniuk & Upcoming Seminar on AODOA:

Alek Antoniuk, in this issue of RESCON CODE LETTER #2 comments on a number of the changes to the OBC that have been made to ensure the accessibility & barrier free requirements of the Code, address the needs of more than one type of disability.

We urge you to read the latest Antoniuk Code Letter and then sign up for our next Morning Seminar (email notification will be sent in the near future) which will be held in RESCON’s: Second Floor meeting room on Thursday October, 30 2014.

A preliminary outline of the Seminar is noted below.
  • Understanding the background for the new Accessibility & Barrier Free Requirements in the OBC & their Impact on residential design & construction.Presented by: AccessAbility Advantage (Joint venture between: March of Times Canada & Quadrangle Architects Limited) Context:
The Province, in 2005 passed into law the AODOA (Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act) which mandates that Ontario be fully accessible by Jan. 1, 2025.

Developer/Builders need to understand the AODOA, given that this legislation has established a new normal, as it now recognizes & requires accommodation for many different forms of Disabilities. This recognition is being enabled through changes to the Ontario Building Code which impact the design and construction of all residential accommodation in Ontario. Topics to be discussed include:
  • AODOA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005)
  •  New OBC understanding of the terms; Accessibility / Barrier Free Design
  • Getting it right. How to interpret the new requirements
  • Avoiding "screw-ups" during construction
For more information contact:
Mr. Michael Steele, B. Tech. (C.M.)
Director, Technical Standards, RESCON
michael.steele@rescon.com

More information about construction code issues can also be found on his website at www.codenews.ca.

 

Free Building Information Modeling
(BIM) Technology Overview Session - September 23rd:

BIM is a process that enables users to leverage digital technology to create efficiencies at every stage of the building life cycle from concept to demolition! George Brown College is pleased to announce the launch of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) Technology and Processes Adoption Support project, which recieved support from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). This program is designed for a small group of up to 15 industry participants to provide hands-on training and enable them to understand, apply and integrate the principles of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to real world challenges of a construction project in their organization.

Click Here for more information about this 1-day workshop.

SPACE IS LIMITED—REGISTER NOW
FREE 1-day general overview workshop
LOCATION | Casa Loma Campus
DATE | Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (full day)
 


Wood and cement associations clash over building code proposals:

The residential construction industry is refuting claims by the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) that a proposal to modify the building code and allow taller wood frame structures will create a public safety hazard. Click here for the full Daily Commercial News Article.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) and the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) have differing positions on proposals for added flexibility in both the national and Ontario building codes. Neither code currently permits new wood-frame construction exceeding four storeys.
Click Here for the full Canadian Property Management Article. 


 

NBS National BIM Report 2014:

The fourth NBS National BIM Report – the industry’s most comprehensive report on BIM – looks at how UK building design professionals are adapting to the use of BIM. Results suggest we are now reaching a stage where BIM is becoming the norm. This report is essential reading for those adopting – or considering adopting – BIM and available completely free to download. Click Here to read the report.

 

How Outdated Parking Laws Price Families Out of the City:

There's no question that Generation Y loves the city, but demographers and urban planners can't help but wonder how long that love will last. Given their lower income relative to previous generations, many urban Millennials favor small-footprint living: studios, a few one bedrooms, some congregate housing, and micro-units. But what happens as they age and have family? Will the need for two or three bedrooms force them to the suburbs, or will cities create the types of family-oriented units to keep them in place?

Families need at least two bedrooms (and preferably more) to be comfortable. Ideally they would have separate (or semi-private) rooms for teenagers of different genders, or for relatives who come to visit. They want yards and access to safe places for their children to play. Many cities want to encourage the production of family-sized apartment units, but few two and three-bedroom apartment units are being built. Most new apartment projects continue to be developed primarily with studios and one-bedroom units. Click here for an interesting article which appeared in on the City Lab Blog.



 

Active House Alliance launched by Great Gulf with Danish Prince’s nod

On Thursday, Sept. 18, Great Gulf will launch Active House Alliance Canada, a branch of the founding group based in Belgium.

Among the special guests at the launch ceremony in Toronto will be Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, in Canada on a trade mission. Prince Frederik has a special interest in climate change and sustainability — his country is recognized as a global leader in achieving balance between energy performance and user comfort in residential buildings.Click Here to read the full Toronto Star article.
 

NHRC Annual Meeting: Mark the Date in Your Agenda!

The National Housing Research Committee meeting continues to be Canada’s premier venue for presenting our nation’s leading housing research and provides a great networking opportunity for housing researchers and policy makers.

The Fall 2014 session of the National Housing Research Committee (NHRC) will take place between Monday, November 3rd and Wednesday, November 5th inclusively at the Albert at Bay Suite Hotel, 435 Albert Street in Ottawa, Ontario.

As in previous meetings, the sessions will be video web-cast live in both official languages to reach all stakeholders interested in NHRC issues. Please make sure to mark these dates on your calendar and plan to attend. Agendas and registration information will be available soon. Visit the NHRC website for more details.

Understanding the legal powers that Inspectors from the Ontario College of Trades have:

Inspectors from the Ontario College of Trades (the “College”) have been attending at construction jobsites throughout the province with increasing frequency. We understand that some of these Inspectors have indicated that they possess the same rights and powers as Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) inspectors appointed under statutes such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) or the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), however this is not supported by the legislation. Such a claim is not accurate.

Click Here to read the full briefing note from Sherrard Kuzz LLP.

Insulation Wars:

We want to highlight an interesting article that appeared in the March 2014 issue of Solplan Review contained an article titled: Insulation Wars. It highlights the emergence of new technology, evolving performance standards and safety issues. Click Here to read the article.

Apprentice Survey Snap-Shot: 

More than 150 training fund representatives in the Canada and the United States participated in the Top Trends in the Jointly Managed Apprenticeship Programs - 2014 Survey. Most respondents viewed their hiring outlook as positive. Click here for the full article.

 

Leading Building Industry Groups Agree to Streamline Green
Building Tool Coordination and Development:

ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announce the signing of a memorandum to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the LEED green building program.

The unprecedented cooperation aims to create a comprehensive framework for jurisdictions looking to implement and adopt green building regulations and codes and/or provide incentives for voluntary leadership programs such as LEED. Click here to read the full article.
 

Will Millennials Be the Tiny-House Generation?

At the moment, millennials are a generation of renters. Part of the reason is obvious: Money’s tight and houses are expensive. But some—myself and the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson included—have wondered if there might be a cultural component to our apparent aversion to homeownership as well, given that we’ve gotten our start in adulthood post–housing bust. Click here for an interesting article that appeared in Slate Magazine.

Construction debates WSIB premium rates: 

Ontario construction leaders have differing views about the need for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to reduce premium rates and the factors contributing to the current decline in employer debt. Click here for the full Daily Commercial News Article.

 

Canadian housing starts to continue upward trend...

According to the latest housing report released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Canadian market is projected to experience a ‘soft landing’ through the remainder of 2014. "Recent trends have shown an increase in housing starts, which is broadly supported by demographic fundamentals," said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan. "However, our latest forecast calls for starts to edge lower as builders are expected to reduce inventories instead of focussing on new construction." Click Here for the full Daily Commercial News Article.

How is Toronto Growing?

A recent bulletin from the City of Toronto's Planing Department illustrates how the City has developed and how it will continue to grow over time. It summarizes information predominantly from the City of Toronto’s Land Use Information System II, providing an overview of the development projects received by the City Planning Division between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013 and supplemented by other
data sources such as CMHC, Statistics Canada and the Toronto Employment Survey. Click Here to view the Bulletin.
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Copyright © May 2014 - RESCON, All rights reserved.
25 North Rivermede Road - Unit 13
Vaughan, Ontario L4K 5V4