Have you heard there’s a housing crisis? It’s pretty much all anyone can talk about, which is understandable, and the causes of the crisis are many. But have you thought about the Building Code? Chances are you haven’t, but this important document meant to govern our health and safety indoors might have some holes in it, and it might be causing complications that are getting in the way of desperately needed new units.
The Building Code, you say? We often talk about it like there's just one, but there's the National Building Code, the latest version of which was finished in 2020 but not published until 2022. Then, there's the Ontario Building Code, which needs an update based on those NBC changes, which is currently underway. Meanwhile, the OBC is based on the one previously established one in 2012, and there's stuff in the OBC that the NBS doesn't deal with like more stringent durability standards.
And that’s just the beginning of our drama because there’s a building code for how you build a residential building and there’s a building code for how you build an office building. There’s one for how you build a three-storey apartment building and there’s one for how you build a four-storey apartment building. How does that affect affordability? It's because our building code might be getting in the way of making more of that mythical "missing middle."
To learn more, we turn to Toon Dreesson, president of Architects DCA in Ottawa and past president of the Ontario Association of Architects. Dreesson will take us step-by-step through the process of how the building code makes a simple three-storey apartment project more expensive and more dense, plus he will talk about the overlapping demands of all the various building codes and building code updates. Dreesson will also tell us if we can balance the needs of the code and the needs for affordable housing.
So let's get into the code on this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about Toon Dreesson’s professional work at the Architects DCA website. You can also follow him on social media @toon.dreesson on Facebook and @toon_dreesson on Twitter. You can read Dreesson’s piece from the Globe & Mail earlier this year called "Canada’s building codes and standards need to get with the times" on their website here.
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