Raising the Standards for New Home Builders

​Buying a new home is one of the most significant, and financially impactful decisions that someone can make in their lifetime. Our homes help shape the way we live. Whether we are buying our first home, looking for a place to raise our families or enjoy our retirement, we rely on our new homes to help us improve the quality of our lives.

When looking to purchase a new home, most new home buyers invest a lot of time and energy to find something that is the perfect fit. They explore their options. Consider different neighbourhoods, and research what the community has to offer. They evaluate what layout best suits their needs and pick the finishes that will turn this house into their home. When you devote so much to this decision you want to be confident your investment is sound and protected. It is very easy to get swept up in the emotions surrounding what your house will look like but how many new home buyers ask questions about who built their house and what their qualifications are?

There are many experienced new home builders in Ontario who haven’t simply built homes, they have helped build many of the great communities we live in and enjoy each and every day.  But just like many industries, the new home industry continues to evolve. New building techniques have continued to advance, and so have the issues that home builders and buyers face. Since Tarion was created in 1976, the size and price of homes has increased dramatically. The technical and financial requirements needed to build have also become more complex. The building code continues to expand, and so do municipal regulations.

As the regulator of new home builders in Ontario, Tarion ensures that anyone planning to build and/or sell a new home in the province has the necessary financial and technical competency to do so.  Any new builder must be registered with Tarion and enrol the home(s) into the statutory warranty program.  And as of September 1st, there are added educational criteria that all new builders will need to meet as a pre-requisite to their registration.

New applicants proposing to build residential freehold and low-rise condominium construction under Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code will be required to complete seven educational competencies in addition to Tarion’s existing registration requirements. These educational requirements are based on the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s National Education Benchmarks for residential construction and will enhance Tarion's existing qualification standards for builders. The core competencies must be held by one or shared by several Principals, Officers or Directors (PDO) of the company. They focus on areas such as business and financial planning, legal issues in housing, building codes, construction technology and customer service.

While these new requirements do not apply to existing registrants or anyone building high-rise condos (they have their own separate registration criteria) I have heard from many longstanding builders who believe these courses present a great opportunity for them as well. They view them an opportunity for professional development and a new way to refresh their skills and knowledge. Some have also used the courses as formal training for staff who are new to the industry.

These new requirements hold home builders to a higher standard and provide more protection to new home buyers. This is a positive step forward for new home buyers and the home building alike.  Tarion’s focus on raising the level of professionalism in the industry and strengthening builder registration requirements will help ensure that new home buyers across Ontario can continue to buy their new homes with confidence.

To learn more about what it takes to become a registered builder in Ontario, click here.

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