Designate a person to conduct an inquiry under the Ont. Building Code Act 1992, 23, 30 (1) to investigate the failure to enforce the Ontario Building Code re Small Diameter High Velocity Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (SDHV-HVAC) Systems.
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The Ontario Building Code (OBC) is a key document that protects new home purchasers when they make the most important purchases of their lives – a newly built home. In the case of certain SDHV-HVAC systems, numerous HVAC expert reports have found that these systems do not meet the minimum requirements of the OBC. Performance shortfalls of 20% to 50% of the required heating capacity are often measured when installations are investigated.
These systems have been sold in Ontario for more than a decade, and according to CTV’s W-Five in March 2012, more than 50,000 of these systems had been sold in the Greater Toronto Area at that time. These systems continue to be sold in Ontario. Canadians for Properly Built Homes (CPBH) has heard from – and met with - many Ontario homeowners negatively impacted by these systems.
In February 2012, former MPP Ted Chudleigh called on Consumer Services Minister Margaret Best for a full investigation, but Minister Best did not commission this investigation. Mr. Chudleigh recently confirmed that he continues to believe that an investigation is necessary.
This matter affects a significant number of ordinary Ontario consumers who have purchased homes with these systems. Potential negative impacts to these consumers include but are not limited to:
- substandard heating conditions in the winter and poor air conditioning performance in the summer,
- significant reduction in the value of their homes and/or liability for damages for failure to disclose the fact that the HVAC system is defective when the home is sold,
- repairs ranging from at least $40,000 to more than $100,000, depending on the size of the home and the circumstances.
When the deficiencies are discovered, typically consumers realize that their only recourse is civil litigation or quasi-judicial warranty appeals, which are lengthy, onerous, costly - and usually do not result in complete cost recovery. Clearly litigation is not the answer.
Consumers who purchase new homes assume that the mandated regulatory and warranty agencies will prevent sub-standard systems such as these from being installed. Consumers also expect that when it becomes known that a certain system is found to be sub-standard, appropriate action will be taken. Although representations have been made to the agencies that could take action on this, little or nothing has been done. CPBH agrees with MPP Randy Pettapiece that this issue needs to be addressed for current and future Ontario homeowners.
New home purchasers in Ontario pay mandatory Building Permit and New Home Warranty fees but, in these cases, do not receive what they pay for, that is to say, homes that meet the minimum standard of the Ontario Building Code.
While this petition concerns SDHV-HVAC systems specifically, what happened here concerns all purchasers of newly built homes in Ontario. If there is no inquiry and these Building Code violations are allowed to go unchallenged, it means that Ontario’s Building Code Regulation & Warranty Agencies will be able to successfully ignore other OBC violations in the future -- all at the expense of Ontario consumers.
The Building Code Act contains a provision for an Inquiry to be held when a situation such as this occurs. It is clearly within Minister Mauro’s power to initiate such an Inquiry, and indeed it is his obligation to do so in the interest of all Ontario new home purchasers.
Please sign this petition and show your support for proper enforcement of the Ontario Building Code. All Ontarians need – and deserve – a home that at least meets the minimum of the Ontario Building Code, which is the law in Ontario.
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