Email this pageAre you ready? 2012 Requirements for New Construction
If you apply for a building permit on or after Jan. 1, 2012, the proposed construction must conform to the enhanced energy efficiency requirements of Ontario’s Building Code.
The 2006 Ontario Building Code set out a “roadmap” for energy efficiency to be implemented from Jan. 1, 2006 through to Dec. 31, 2011. As part of that roadmap, the Code sets out energy efficiency benchmarks for houses and for large buildings. Subsequent Code amendments provided additional compliance paths that are consistent with those benchmarks.
The Building Code provides that if an application for a building permit is made on or after Jan. 1, 2012, the construction must meet the following energy efficiency requirements:
- Houses (Part 9 residential buildings intended for occupancy on a continuing basis during the winter months) must meet the performance level that is equal to a rating of 80 or more when evaluated in accordance with the EnerGuide Rating System (based on Hot 2000 V9.34c1,2) or conform to Supplementary Standard SB-12, which is referenced in the Building Code. The alternative compliance paths set out in this Supplementary Standard were referenced in an amendment to the Building Code which came into force on Jan. 1, 2010.
- More recently, on Dec. 5, 2011, SB-12 was amended to:
- Recognize houses built to the technical specifications of EnergyStar for New Homes (January 2011 version)
- Provide additional alternative compliance paths that permit slightly lower levels of wall insulation as long as those levels are compensated for with other energy efficient building elements.
- Include Air Barrier requirements which are more descriptive and have been moved back to Part 9 (9.25.3) of the Building Code.
- Other buildings (with some exceptions) must conform to Supplementary Standard SB-10 - pdf (July 1, 2011 version) which is referenced in the Building Code.
- This Supplementary Standard indicates that the energy efficiency levels of these buildings can be achieved by exceeding the energy efficiency level of the 1997 Model National Energy Code for Buildings by 25 per cent or by exceeding ASHRAE 2010-90.1 by 5 per cent, or by meeting the prescribed modifications to ASHRAE 90.1 that are set out in the SB-10. These options are all compliance paths that meet the requirements.
If you haven’t done so already, you may wish to participate in technical training courses on the Building Code’s energy efficiency requirements developed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) and offered by stakeholder organizations and community colleges. The MMAH website will soon feature self-study modules with voice-over for both large buildings and houses.
Training may also be offered by professional and building sector organizations. For example, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association can help builders to find out about training opportunities.
Occupancy Permits for Certain New Residential Buildings
Amendments to the Building Code require an inspection to be made and a permit to be issued, prior to people occupying certain new residential buildings for which an application for a permit is made on or after Jan. 1, 2012. The amendments to the Code include criteria that must be met for such an occupancy permit to be issued.
The new occupancy permit requirements will be set out in Article 220.127.116.11 of Division C of the Building Code “Occupancy Permit- Certain Buildings of Residential Occupancy.”
These requirements will apply to buildings intended for residential occupancy that are:
- three or fewer stories in building height and have a building area not exceeding 600 square metres;
- have no accommodation for tourists;
- do not have a dwelling unit above another dwelling unit; and,
- do not have any dwelling units sharing a common means of egress.
These requirements will not apply to existing buildings, or parts of existing buildings, that have been subject to renovation, including an extension to the building, a material alteration or repair.
The building components, the construction and installation of which must be completed or, in some cases substantially completed, before an occupancy permit can be issued will be set out in Sentence 18.104.22.168. (5) of Division C of the Code. Amendments to the Code which come into force on Jan. 1, 2012 will add completion and installation of these building components as a notification stage under “prescribed notices” in Article 22.214.171.124. of Division C, and will also provide that municipalities may pass a by-law requiring notice of the completion and installation of these building components to be given to the Chief Building Official. The Code requires that an inspection be undertaken after a prescribed notice has been given.
Next Edition of the Building Code
The development of the next edition of the Building Code continues. Public and stakeholder consultations on potential changes to the Code have taken place and the government is currently reviewing this input and recommendations from the Building Code Technical Advisory Committees.
The timing of the next edition of the Building Code does not affect the timing of the energy efficiency and occupancy permit requirements that will come into force on Jan. 1, 2012.
 The EnerGuide rating system was developed by Natural Resources Canada to evaluate the energy efficiency of houses.