New building codes promise greater house efficiency 0
Builders of new homes and additions better hit the books to educate themselves about new regulations to avoid headaches, says one building official.
The Ontario Building Code will add a prescriptive system for improving energy efficiency for homes as an option to abiding to EnerGuide 80, which is a rating system for homes by Jan.1, 2012. All building permits after this date must comply with the changes.
Engineer Cengiz Kahramanogle with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing was a key speaker, spoke about the coming changes during a day-long event of presentations organized by the Haliburton County Home Builders Association held at the Wild Moose on Oct. 27. To comply with the new changes, the government has provided two options: the Supplementary Standard SB-12, which uses a set of compliance packages, or to design plans that comply with the building code.
Renovations are currently exempt from the changes.
The prescriptive compliance packages are in a table format that offers 13 choices with a column of 12 features such as the furnace, windows and walls. They vary on the method of how a building is heated, whether it is electric versus propane, oil or gas. R-values and other related ratings for the features change depending largely on the efficiency rating of the furnace.
The government divides the province into half with two zones: Zone 1 and Zone 2. Haliburton County is part of Zone 1. SB-12 also controls air infiltration. Discussion for the changes started in 2006.
After the presentation, Dan Sayers, chief building official for Dysart, said his job just got a little more difficult with these new options.
"A lot of people won't understand it. I think that is the big difference," he said.
There will be a learning curve for those who are not familiar with the changes in the building code when they submit their plans, he said.
"Previously people don't even think about what they're going to heat with when they submit their plans. They worry about that later. Well, now you will have to decide what your heat source is going to be before you design your building."
He expects the changes will translate into extra costs for the builders to comply.
"The standard 2-by-6 wall assembly is basically going to be eliminated so you'll have to have that plus some insulating sheathing on the outside. So, the lowest R-value is R22. And you can make that a standard wall assembly, but there are not many [compliance] packages where that applies," he said.
Sayers adds the next window up in R-value requires "build outs" to account for the greater width of the wall, which will raise costs.
He handed out a summary of the changes, complete with the compliance package tables for this area.
Gary Burtch of G.J. Burtch Construction Enterprises Ltd. likes the change for the future and believes this will put everyone on an equal playing field when making contract bids.
It's not difficult to learn about the changes, but understanding is the key.
"Everything is into play now. Where before it was just a 2-by-6 wall at R20 the ceiling at R40. That's all we did. Now your ceiling may have to have R50 or R27, depending on how you're heating it," he said.
Burtch, who was at the presentation with some of his staff, including his designer and carpenters, said he has jobs lined up until the spring and won't have to deal with getting a building permit that reflects these changes until then.
The prescriptive system is going to be the cheaper and simpler method for compliance when compared to designing your own plan, he added.
He advises people in the construction industry to either educate themselves or ask someone who knows to avoid any headaches.
"Basically, it's a case of we got something you may be able to go to a building inspector and ask them, 'So something's changed here. What is it?'" he said, adding the changes are simple and there needs to be an understanding of the changes.
There were 60 people in attendance, including local builders, contractors, tradesmen, and building officials from the Town of Bancroft and Dysart.
For more information see website www.ontario.ca/buildingcode.