Ontario Government wants Professional Engineers to help support building permit approvals

The Government of Ontario, through its Transform and modernize the delivery of Ontario’s Building Code Services is proposing several changes to try and support the building sector while streamlining the customer service and approval processes.

Read OSPE’s Full Submission

OSPE is pleased to have been part of this Consultation Process for the last several months.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is proposing the creation of an administrative authority that will be in charge of service delivery. The government is also proposing the use of a Prime Consultant, with the intention of leveraging professional expertise to support building code enforcement.

Prime Consultants would be professional engineers or architects who would coordinate designs and field work. The Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry Report, released in 2014, recommended that owners designate a professional engineer or architect to the role of Prime Consultant.

OSPE recognizes that the $38 billion building industry sector is a key driver of Ontario’s economy. In order for this sector to keep growing, there is a need for the government to modernize the way in which it supports professionals who must apply the Building Code Requirements.

OSPE welcomes the use of a Prime Consultant and believes its role will streamline the building permit application process. However, public safety should always be paramount. Hence, there should be enforceable compliance measures to hold Prime Consultants accountable. These measures should be transparent and available to the public as well.

Safety should also be ensured by making continued professional development mandatory. OSPE believes it should be mandatory for qualified and registered building code professionals, as well as Prime Consultants, to take professional development courses throughout their career. This would be aligned with Recommendation 1.17 of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry Report, which calls for:

“the existing standards for training and certification of building officials and inspectors under the Building Code Act should be amended to require mandatory continuing education”.

Even when streamlining development for time saving measures, safety should never be compromised.

A comprehensive, escalation-based, compliance enforcement framework that defines disciplinary actions in proportion to severity and frequency of noncompliance would help safeguard the public’s safety. OSPE also welcomes a formal, documented complaints process that allows the public to submit their concerns regarding the work being conducted by building code professionals.

OSPE also accepts the MMAH’s commitment to review and revisit Ontario’s Building Code in conjunction with the five-year national code development cycle implemented by the federal government. This will ensure the code is consistent with national constructions codes and would provide the opportunity to update and modernize it accordingly.

OSPE and Ontario’s engineers look forward to working with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to ensure that the delivery of the province’s Building Code Services is improved and enhanced.

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