Building codes not tight enough

We need better building codes in Ontario. The minimum in place not are not enough. Don’t believe me?

Check this out

Firstly you do not know that they were in fact built to code, the framing inspection would not have been done yet as there is evidence of incomplete close in , no housewrap etc.

Secondly you do not know what actually failed, construction practices, or was it materials.

Thirdly when was the last time a finished home properly inspected and to even close to modern code failed. Excepting the cases of ground faulting under foundations or tornadoes I can not remember one such. Lets not go all Mike Homes on this.

Code, and there is no such thing as minimum code, is code. The code books are adjusted to reflect actual failures documented on site and studied by professionals to find reasons for the failures only then are solutions to the possible failure proposed and agreed on .

Keeping in mind we could all live in concrete boxes with three foot thick walls and no windows lest the wind blow out a window and hurt us. There is always a compromise between ultimate safety and reasonable expectations of safety given even most unusual circumstances. Thus standards and building code.

These are not finished houses .
I see places even completely finished homes are destroyed in a BIG wind .
Just wait till we have wood building 6 stories how high they stand up to a wind like this was .


“Sill plate anchoring”, “Truss attachment to top plate” These should have been checked as part of the frame inspection by the AHJ at the stage these home are at.

There are a lot of “codes” in the OBC that are bare minimum. Tell yourself otherwise and you are kidding yourself, or you are a builder.

This was caused by a Tornado

First tornado of 2016 touched down in southwestern Ontario Wednesday: Environment Canada

Paul Johnston and Chris Fox,
Environment Canada investigators have confirmed the first tornado of 2016 touched down in southwestern Ontario Wednesday afternoon.

It occurred seven kilometres northeast of Clifford, Ont. at around 3:30 p.m.

The EF1 tornado measured three-and-a-half kilometres long and 200 metres wide, the weather agency said in a release Thursday evening.

“Three bolted-down grain bins were ripped off of their cement bases and blown up to 200 metres away,” Environment Canada said.

“The corner of a barn was also severely damaged. A number of mature trees were snapped off or blown over.”

Closer to Toronto, winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour toppled trees and damaged two homes under construction in Brampton.

The extent of the damage to the homes was not immediately clear however on Wednesday night Peel police reported that the homes “blew over.”

No injuries were reported.


Bloody big Tornado Roy. Clifford is 116 Km from Brampton.

There’s around 30 houses in close proximity to the two that went over (plus the one partial next to them that collapsed because the framing was in stick phase.) These were the only two that “slipped” on their foundations.

So we have a 116km Wide EF1 Tornado, that selectively pushed two properties in the middle of a sub-division development off their foundations.

And behold Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish.

Both stories are a little fishy, I suspect only one was a real miracle. :smiley:

Framing inspection comes at the end of the close in which includes house wrap clearly not completed in the photos posted and also includes plumbing and hvac rough in.

All codes in the OBC are by definition minimum codes.
They are the minimum standards for materials and workmanship under which a builder may construct a structure that the design and construction professionals including engineers and building materials testing scientists have investigated, tested under working loads to destruction, and have come to agree represent standards that will give consumers a realistic expectation of safety and durability within the structure.

You may believe that there are better materials to do a job or substitute material that will perform better in a specific application. That is your right however without long term testing and in some cases destructive testing you could also be wrong.

Good builders, and yes after dozens of homes, a seven unit townhome set, a five plex, and hundreds of custom renovations and kitchens built by my cabinet making company I consider myself one, will know codes and when not to push the material to maximum use simply because they desire to create a product they can look to with pride.

That said though, baring disaster, homes built to modern code, properly inspected, and properly maintained should still be in existence long after either of us is gone.

Sorry Len I disagree with you and stand with the construction Company

Construction company stands by work after Brampton homes toppled by 'downburst’

Let me look at this. Construction Company, less than 2 days after collapse, come out in press and say “Not our fault”.

Why should anyone expect anything more?

A seasoned home inspector, who has obviously seem more errors in building than most, comes out in defence of the construction company just because they say something in the press.

Why should anyone expect anything more?

Press, who frequently show they don’t know their arse from their elbow about construction or the weather quote “unknown source” at Environment Canada and the Construction company who has a vested interest in their construction site.

Why should anyone expect anything more?

As for “A number of other builders’ homes in the neighbourhood suffered a similar fate, with equally devastating results” I don’t see any press releases from these “other builders” or photos of the " equally devastating results".

Why should anyone expect anything more?

Just saying.

Speak to Geoff Coulson at Environment Canada and ask him what the effects of a “downburst” are on a property. Then decide for yourself.

Common-knowledge: Water needs to be managed from 6-8 feet from Foundations.
OBC-2012: Builders only need to provide splash blocks no more than 20" long, and build homes that are closer than 12 feet.

Nuff sed!

Splash blocks apply to only one element of water management of a home. Lot grading and drainage planning is also specific to one element that is part of the whole. Just this past Wednesday I submitted and had the engineers for the town approve my lot grading plan , which I drew up, for the Duplex I am planning to build this spring. There is less than 7 ft between buildings but with the correct drainage planning, construction, and execution there will be no issues with the foundation and moisture.

So called common knowledge is like common sense it is extremely rare to discover anything of value in statements made under their guise.

I can also attest to the fact the 60 year old current home on the lot, which I currently live in and which will be torn down for size reasons, is in the same location and within 7 ft of the other home, and neither home has water issues. Between eavestroughs and a 3 ft wide drainage swale there has never been a problem.

Ps I have inspected and built pressure treated wood foundations and the critical water management criteria for those is directly under the home, it’s all about proper drainage not proximity.

Bruce, the post is not about you and your abilities. It’s about the general lack of real oversight in the Construction industry, the fact that the building codes are written by large contractors who manipulate the system for their own benefit. Sure there are some great custom builders out there, but the large majority are major contractors who employ hammer monkeys on piece work.

As an inspector I’ve seen more than my fair share of shoddy construction. On here I would extol the virtues of my construction efforts too, but that’s not what this is about.

Sure you can build homes 7 feet apart. It makes financial sense. More units - Less land = More profit. It’s OK if builders take account of the large run-off areas of the roofs but I can show you at least 10 subdivisions built over the last 10 years that started off that way, and then the constructors lost the plot.

As for splash blocks being only one part of the water management system, I’d agree, but as an obviously seasoned contractor, I’m sure you know of better, cheaper, but more complex ways to ensuring the water gets from the downspouts to where it’s supposed to be. It’s just that the OBC allows for such a minimum and so the piece working, hammer monkeys use it.

This is not an isolated case. Take roofing shingles. The manufacturers recommend underlayment AND ice and water shield AND drip edge. What does the OBC say, and what the majority of do builders do?

I could go on, but the OBC is a lengthy piece of legislation, and I think there’s a limit to what one can type in a post.

Lastly, if buildings are constructed to such a high, long-lasting standard nowadays, why is it the construction companies won’t offer their own 10, 15 or 25 year warranty? Heck, you can get a 5 year, manufacturers warranty on a car, which has way more moving parts.

Builders on the other hand employ people (aka customer Service representatives) to deliberately delay Home Buyers past the statutory Builders portion of the Tarion warranty so the Buyers paid, home warranty kicks in. Even then the Tarion Warranty program is controlled by the construction industry.

In addition, why is it “Custom Builders” and “Private contractors” have an opt-out of the warranty program? They Build a home, rent it, leave it empty or live in it themselves, for a year, and, as if by magic, their wonderful product that is apparently built to higher standards, according to you, no longer requires a mandatory warranty.

As a home inspector, you get to see these things. As a builder, maybe you are still too close to the product you build to realise that there are as many cowboys in the construction industry as there are in the Home Inspection Profession.

I have to agree there are indeed poor builders out there who cheat every opportunity, cut every corner and offer shoddy goods to home buyers but changing building code will not stop that. You would have to have one inspector for every few builds going on. Stricter codes and tougher enforcement would add to legitimate builders costs and the bad builders would keep on being cheats and scammers. We as home inspectors can be part of the solution with construction phase inspections but even that small overall costs to a build the consumer is so far often reluctant to part with. We need to better educate the consumer.

Now we are on the same page.

Houses not finished, they will also go up in flames faster than the burning school house we used to light up on firecracker day.