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Fall 2010 Newsletter

President’s Report - 2010 Fall Conference

Don Knutson, President -- Wow, what a wild Summer. Almost every jurisdiction in the province felt the impact of Mother Nature, actually I think it was the evil step-mother of nature. Record rainfalls throughout the province as well as tornados and storms affected all of us. Even if you weren’t in a community that experienced the most severe effects, you were faced with abnormal conditions and questions. I have received a few calls about leaking basements in areas that never had groundwater issues before. Construction has fallen behind because of wet conditions but the Fall has provided a much needed break and in my area things are going full steam again.

One thing that isn’t mentioned at all is how much damage did not occur. In spite of record rainfalls, sometimes in the inch per hour rate or higher, the building envelopes on most buildings did not fail as long as they were properly maintained. The failures that did occur were when water rose above window sills and thresholds. Few buildings or foundations collapsed due to soil movement and to my knowledge no roofs collapsed due to overloading. This is a testament to the use and enforcement of the National Building Code. We can pat ourselves on the back for taking care of business. I recently attended ACBOA meetings in Ontario, at the last meeting we continued to discuss strategy for promoting the association and the important role of Building Officials in guarding the safety of our fellow Canadians. You may ask why this association spends the money to send a representative across the country to attend these meetings. I hope you understand how important it is to have representation at the ACBOA table.

  • ACBOA needs all the provincial voices it can get, currently there are only 6 provinces fully represented, without a unified voice ACBOA cannot project a meaningful presence to Ottawa and its stakeholders.
  • One of ACBOA’s Goals is the universal acceptance and enforcement of the National Building Code and its derivatives, in a perfect Canada there would only be one Code and one interpretation.
  • We continue to promote and support National Certification as a universally accepted credential across Canada.
  • And most importantly we continue to promote the important role of the Building Official.

Towards those ends we will again be promoting Building Safety which has now become a month long promotion. Next Spring we will once again be producing posters for everyone to take home and hang in a conspicuous place, preferably in a municipal office building.

We are currently writing a “code of ethics” to present to the membership for their approval at next Spring’s conference. If we are to call ourselves professionals we must adhere to a stringent code of conduct. As a Building Official, our integrity is our most important tool and we must preserve it. A “code of ethics” serves to remind each one of us of what standards we must maintain so that we can uphold the Codes, Bylaws and Acts that we are appointed to enforce. Our word has to be true if we cannot be trusted we will not be respected. We have to make tough calls but we don’t have to make calls tough. Remember if we want respect we have to be respectful. The contractors and building owners that we face every day are not the opposition or our enemy, they are our partners, they are the ones who are paying for our services and service is what we have to deliver.

Because of my position I receive calls from numerous people who believe we have an oversight committee or that I have some authority over my fellow members. These persons have grievances about the conduct of other Building Officials and they hope that I can fi x things. Of course I can’t and it isn’t my place to “fi x things”. I explain to the callers that there isn’t anything I can do about an individual’s conduct other than to ask the members to guard themselves against misspeaking or disrespecting our partners. Please remember the “code of ethics” and abide by their terms so we can all sleep easy.

I thought this was to be my last report as president, but I was asked to stay on for one more term. I wasn’t sure why but I was told my work isn’t finished yet, usually when you don’t get your work done on time they fire your butt and look for another one to replace you. Being president of this association is like being the coach of the USA’s Olympic basketball team, anybody can do it when you are surrounded with talent like this team. I believe it is a privilege and an honour to serve as the President of the SBOA and I am honoured to continue to represent the SBOA for one more term. If you are interested in serving on the executive please let us know and be ready to step up in two years at our next election, I know that there will at least one opening at that time.

Click here for the complete Fall 2010 Newsletter.