16 March 2021
Hon. Ted Flemming
Minister of Justice and Public Safety
Marysville Place, P. O. Box 6000
Dear Minister Flemming:
Re: 2015 Building Code Implementation
I am writing today regarding the Building Code Administration Act and associated regulations which came into force on 1 February 2021.
While it is our understanding that industry supports adopting the 2015 code (and has been advocating for such), the government’s decision to provide no notice before adopting the associated regulations came as a surprise.
In the past when new building codes were adopted, the government provided a 90-day grace period to allow industry to implement the latest standards. According to the Canadian Home Builder’s Association New Brunswick, the lack of this grace period has caused the following issues:
- Builders and homeowners have invested thousands of dollars in having plans drawn to submit for approval for spring projects that adhere to the 2010 Code, not the 2015 Code. All of these plans are now obsolete and need to be re-drawn to comply with the 2015 Code. This is an unnecessary expense to the many small and medium businesses in this province, representing one of the provinces’ largest economic drivers.
- Our building supply dealers have millions of dollars of stock that cannot be sold, causing an incredible loss for these New Brunswick businesses.
- Authorities Having Jurisdiction have no other recourse but to implement the 2015 Code as of February 1, 2021, but many confess to being ill-prepared to do so.
- Municipalities, such as St. Andrews, NB, are now rated as a seismic zone under the 2015 Code, but again, they may not be prepared to enforce that section of the Code without being given the proper notice to prepare for the Code’s enforcement.
- Construction costs, as you know, are passed on to consumers. We also need to remember that we live in a Province with a housing affordability issue. Government actions continue to impose costs on residential construction that contribute negatively to housing affordability and this is one of those unnecessary costs.
It is unreasonable to expect businesses to independently begin using the 2015 code before it came into force. The building industry involves construction firms, suppliers, architects, and other groups working together to bring projects to fruition. It would be chaotic if some companies or sectors (but not all) began using the 2015 while the 2010 was still on the books in New Brunswick.
It is incumbent on government to provide this leadership and set standards within the province – something every other province had previously done. To grow our economy and recover from the pandemic, business needs government to at a minimum be clearly communicative about policy decisions that have a materially detrimental effect on business.
One of our recurring messages to government has been to use a business lens during decision-making processes. The failure to provide any kind of implementation period for this substantive decision misses the mark in that regard.
Krista Ross, CEO
Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
cc: Hon. Blaine Higgs, Premier, Province of New Brunswick
cc: Hon. Arlene Dunn, Minister Responsible, Economic Development and Small Business; Opportunities New Brunswick
cc: Mike Comeau, Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
cc: Claudia Simmonds, CEO, Canadian Home Builders Association New Brunswick