Oshawa Requests Legislation Changes For Tall Wood Building Construction

Oshawa City Council is requesting that the Province of Ontario change legislation for buildings under construction that are four storeys or higher and made of wood to better protect the safety of the public and first responders.

On June 24, City Council passed a resolution requesting that the Province of Ontario review its Best Practice Guideline, “Fire Safety During Construction for Five and Six Storey Wood Buildings in Ontario” found here to ensure it is current and meets the fire safety needs of Ontario residents and require that the Guideline be mandatory as applicable law for the construction of all wood buildings with four or more storeys.

Council also requested that the Province of Ontario consult with the Large Municipalities Chief Building Officials group and the Ontario Building Officials Association on changes to legislation, including the Ontario Building Code, to address this safety issue.

“I visited the property on Bloor Street West and witnessed significant destruction. I then visited all six of the City’s fire stations to thank all our Fire Services staff for their commitment to our community’s safety,” says Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “I consulted with the Fire Chief and Chief Building Official and we all agreed changes need to be made.”

On June 9, 2019, a significant fire occurred at a 14-unit, four-storey, wood-framed apartment building under construction at 143 Bloor Street West in Oshawa. The fire resulted in the destruction of the shell building, with the exception of the concrete stairwell. Several nearby cars were severely damaged. The fire also damaged the exterior cladding and balconies of neighbouring buildings and residents in nearby buildings were evacuated. In accordance with the regulations of the Ontario Building Code, a building permit for the construction of a building at 143 Bloor Street West was issued on November 30, 2018.

“The current provincial guideline for construction of tall wood buildings only applies to five- and six-storey structures and is not applicable by law,” says Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri, Chair of the Development Services Committee. “We are calling on the Province of Ontario to address this safety issue by consulting with the Ontario Building Officials Association and Large Municipalities Chief Building Officials group and making changes to the legislation.”

The current provincial Best Practice Fire Safety Guideline for the construction of buildings applies only to five- and six-storey wood buildings and is not applicable law.

Council hopes to receive support on this issue from The Regional Municipality of Durham, Durham Region municipalities, M.P.s and M.P.P.s within Durham Region, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Large Municipalities Chief Building Officials group, Ontario Building Officials Association, Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and the City’s Building Industry Liaison Team.

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