Education & Training Initiatives
Ontario Gets Ready for Performance Based Codes
DSG Home Inspections
John Harris, President
What I would really like for Christmas is a year to step back and regroup; no more code changes, a stable economy, a predictable home buyer. Something tells me I won’t get my wish!
For the first time we have a portion of the residential building code (Part 12 in Ontario) that is largely performance based. This is a huge shift for home builders and building officials, and although I am quite excited about it as a trainer and consultant, I think there will be a few bumps along the way. The builders who will come out on top will be the ones who take this opportunity to put all their past practices aside and rethink how they design and build. Similarly, the municipalities who will shine are those who willingly embrace the flexibility inherent with a performance based code.
I have always believed that education is the key for individual success, and now I think that it is the key to the success of our industry as a whole.
So let me revise my Christmas wish! Let’s all enter our new regime of performance based codes with an open mind, patience for our partners in the home building industry, and a stated objective to build better homes.
Ontario: New Requirements, New Programs, New Codes,
Lio & Associates
Michael Lio, principal
New building code requirements, new programs including ENERGY STAR, EnerGuide and R-2000, will keep builders and renovators busy over the next year.
The Code’s new energy efficiency requirements have been in place since 2009, but only over the last year have builders and renovators sought out answers to many of their questions. Builder workshops mounted across the province by Home Ratings Ontario in partnership with EnerQuality Corporation have had almost 700 builders and renovators participate. As the new requirements become mandatory on January 1, 2012, renewed demand for this type of training is anticipated.
Builders and renovators are preparing themselves for the introduction of the new Building Code in Ontario. With more than 500 changes from the model National Building Code alone, the home building and renovation industry will be busy in 2012 learning about these new provisions. While the vast majority of the Code changes are editorial, some that may be adopted by the Ontario Code will require significant changes to building practices.
On another front, the work of Tarion Warranty Program’s Builder Education Task Force will likely be completed in 2012. Its work may suggest new training and education opportunities for builders across the province.
Finally, Natural Resources Canada is renewing all of its energy programs in 2012. Expect new courses for ENERGY STAR for New Homes, EnerGuide for New Houses and R-2000. Each program will change very substantially and will inevitably require builders to attend new workshops to maintain certification.
Embracing Continual Improvement
Building Knowledge Canada
Gord Cooke, President
This year marks my 25th year promoting better building practices in the area of energy efficiency and indoor air quality and I have never been more encouraged by and proud of the building industry than I am now. As we head into 2012 with the significant changes to the energy efficiency requirements in both building codes and programs, such as ENERGY STAR for New Homes and the revitalized R-2000 Program, I am finding that builders are more proactive than I have ever experienced. It seems leading builders have embraced a path of continual improvement, whereby they have recognized the need to be ahead of codes rather than simply reacting to them.
Client after client have approached us looking for assistance in identifying cost effective ways to meet and exceed code requirements in order to offer their home buyers ever more efficient, safer, healthier, durable, comfortable homes. In this effort they are forging new strategic partnerships with leading manufacturers rather than just looking for the least expensive vendors. These partnerships include critical initiatives such as repeated training for trades, staff and sales people to ensure optimal value.
It has been our experience that at least four days a year of training per employee is a great investment to meet the challenge of constant improvement. I am excited to see what this great industry will achieve with this new attitude of embracing change and collaboration between leading builders and manufacturers.
Better Renovated Homes
Corey McBurney, President
“We need the same support home builders get when it comes to energy efficiency,” is a message we’ve heard time and again from renovator members. We agree. So, we initiated the Green Renovator Project in partnership with the Ontario Power Authority, Owens Corning, Reliance Home Comfort, Enbridge, BILD, OHBA and George Brown College. The project will develop training specifically for renovators to help them incorporate best practices in energy efficiency and green building into their projects. Renovators who complete the curriculum will be accredited so they can use their training to help their clients make smart choices as well as differentiate their firms in a market crowded with questionable environmental claims.
Our experience developing programs for builders over the last 13 years has taught us many things. One lesson that stands out over the rest: If a program is to succeed, it must be designed for and by its target market, in this case, renovators. Again, we agree. A steering committee, chaired by Sandra Baldwin of Lifetime Contractor and made up of a cadre of leading renovators, is overseeing the project and making sure the project team gets it right. That is, it works for renovators who need practical, credible knowledge that they can apply today to start leading homeowners to a smarter future. A lot like builders have done with new home buyers across the country.
Industry Leaders Speak 2011