Expected green regulations may impact builder capacity, says RESCON
By Adam FreillConstruction Residential
Residential builders association urging province to tread prudently rather than risk residential building delays over proposed green building construction standards.
The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is expressing concerns about the provincial government’s apparent rush to implement new green building standards for construction at the same time it is proposing to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031.
“The residential construction industry, its builders, designers and manufacturers have a lot on their plates just now due to higher interest rates and a perfect storm of issues and it would be unfair to expect them to adapt on short notice to significant changes to green building standards that are above the minimum requirements in the Ontario Building Code,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall in a statement this week. “We are all for improvements but they need to be incremental so the industry can get it right and we can continue to build the houses and condos that are necessary to meet demand.”
The province is in the process of setting up meetings to begin developing a new province-wide approach for interested municipalities and other stakeholders to transition to certain green building standards into the Ontario Building Code (OBC). This, says RESCON, is expected to be achieved through an interim OBC amendment this summer that would likely come into effect in early 2024.
The timetable for the changes, says the organization representing residential builders, is unrealistic as it means that the building industry and practitioners would have less than 12 months to adopt and understand the changes before putting them into practice for 2024 projects. It says the quick roll out would make it even more difficult for developers and builders to build new housing in Ontario as construction planning cycles are long and complex.
“Rushing the process would merely throw a wrench into the works. It would be a nightmare for the residential construction industry and likely delay building permit applications while developers and builders and building code officials get acquainted with the new standards,” explained Lyall. “We cannot afford to put any more hurdles in the way of housing. We’re in dire straits as it is and must find ways to build housing more quickly. We do not need any roadblocks that will prevent new units from being built. Any changes must be well thought out and phased in over time.”
RESCON is suggesting that a cost-benefit analysis be conducted prior to any new rules coming into effect so the province can gauge the impact that they would have on construction of new housing.