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Ontario Building Code: Common Reasons for Failed Building Inspections.

If you’re a homeowner or building professional in Ontario, it’s important to be aware of the most common reasons for failed inspections. Building inspections are required for all new homes and renovations, and if your home doesn’t pass inspection, you may be forced to make costly and time-consuming repairs. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common reasons for failed building inspections in Ontario. We’ll also provide tips on how to avoid these problems and ensure that your home passes inspection with flying colours!

How can you prepare for a building inspection ?

There are a few things you can do to prepare for a building inspection and make sure that your home is up to code. First, familiarize yourself with the Ontario Building Code. This document outlines all of the requirements for new construction and renovations in the province. If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask your contractor or building inspector for clarification.

Another important tip is to keep an eye on the progress of your renovation or new build. If you see any potential problems, such as structural issues or plumbing that don’t seem up to code, be sure to bring them to the attention of your contractor right away. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to fix these problems before the building inspector arrives!

Finally, make sure that all required permits are in place before the inspection takes place. If your home is missing building permits, it will almost certainly fail inspection. Here are a list on when you need a permit.

1: Constructing a new build of any kind (residential, commercial, or industrial). Your builder/contractor is also required to have an HCRA license along with insurance, bond etc for a new build.

2: Construct an addition, this includes any sort of extension such as sun room, porches, garage, or second level. This also includes decks.

3: Structural changes such as load-bearing wall removal, new window, enlarging window etc.

4: Finishing basement.

5: Environmental building improvement like solar panel installation, or green roof.

6: Demolishing the entire or part of the building(this requires demolition permit)

7: Install or reconstruct a chimney or fireplace

8: Install a wood burning stove or fireplace

9: Install or modify heating and or plumbing systems

10: Install a backwater valve

11: Install a backflow prevention device

12: Change a building’s use (i.e. from residential to office or single dwelling unit house to multi-dwelling unit house). Even if no construction is proposed, if a change of use is proposed a building permit is required.

What are some of the most common reasons for failed inspections?

Most inspectors we met have been helpful and will not intentionally fail an inspection. Some are more strict compared to others. There are a number of reasons why a home might fail building inspection, but some of the most common include:

-Inadequate Foundation: The foundation is one of the most important parts of any building, and it must be up to code in order to pass inspection. If your home has an inadequate foundation, it may be unstable and at risk of collapsing. Engineers normally provide detailed drawings and instructions on how to complete the footing in terms of depth and method required. It’s possible that the contractor makes a mistake and digs too shallow or positioned rebar incorrectly or not have enough rebar with the columns.

-Poor Framing: In order for a building to be structurally sound, the framing must be done correctly. This includes using the correct size and type of lumber, as well as proper spacing and securing the studs. If your home has poor framing, it may be at risk of collapsing in the event of a fire or severe weather. Incorrect fastener use is a common reason for failed building inspections. If the nails or screws used to attach the framing lumber are too short, they may not be able to hold the lumber in place during a seismic event or high winds. This can lead to the lumber becoming loose and eventually collapsing. Another common problem is when framers use nails instead of screws. Nails are not as strong as screws, and they can easily pull out of the lumber if there is any stress on the frame. The last one is OSB is not installed properly, there should not be gap between OSBs.

-Improper insulation installation: another common reasons for a failed building inspection is inadequate insulation. If your space does not have enough insulation, it will be difficult to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This can lead to high energy bills and uncomfortable living conditions. In addition, inadequate insulation can also lead to moisture problems, as well as health and safety risks. For example, if your space does not have the proper insulation in the attic, the heat from the sun will cause the roof to become extremely hot. This can lead to the asphalt shingles melting and potentially starting a fire. Inspector will look for gaps in the vapor barrier and missing insulations or improper insulations (ie: standard insulation as oppose to Rockwool insulations). Engineer drawing usually provide detailed instruction on the plan.

-Plumbing mistakes happen more often in renovation than in new builds. One of the most common plumbing issues that can cause a building to fail inspection is a lack of proper venting. Fixtures such as toilets and sinks require a constant stream of air in order to function properly. If they are not properly vented, the build-up of gas can cause them to back up or even explode. Another common plumbing issue is a lack of a cleanout for the main line. If there is a blockage in the main line, it can be difficult to clear without proper access. Finally, one of the most common mistakes that plumbers make is not positioning the vents correctly. If the vents are not positioned correctly, they can easily become blocked, which will lead to problems with the drainage system.

-HVAC mistakes should not be taken lightly either. One of the most common HVAC mistakes that can cause a building to fail inspection is not installing the unit properly. If the unit is not installed correctly, it may not be able to function properly and will not be able to heat or cool the space adequately. Another common mistake is not installing enough vents. If there are not enough vents, the unit will work overtime trying to heat or cool the space, which can lead to premature failure of the unit and high energy bills. Finally, one of the most common mistakes that HVAC technicians make is not calibrating the unit correctly. If the unit is not calibrated correctly, it may not be able to heat or cool the space to the correct temperature. HVAC relocation could be required when a load-bearing wall is taken down. Please make sure proper relocation of vent is done for heat/cooling. Do not try to divert a duct into two with a connector, this may result in a fail unless the engineer approves.

-Fire hazards are some of the most common reasons for failed inspections. This is especially important for rental basements and commercial buildings. The space must provide proper egress. This means that there is a clear path for people to exit the building in the event of a fire. Another common fire hazard is a lack of firestops. Firestops are designed to prevent the spread of fire through openings in walls and floors. If your home does not have adequate firestops, it may be at risk of burning down in the event of a fire. Finally, a well-wired smoke/carbon monoxide detector is needed. the sprinkler is required for commercial and some residential units.

What happens if your building fails inspection? 

If your building fails inspection, you will be required to make the necessary repairs or corrections in order to pass. This may include anything from fixing a plumbing issue to adding more insulation. You may also be responsible for any fees associated with the re-inspection. In some cases, you may be able to appeal the decision if you feel that the inspector was wrong. You will need either engineer/architect guidance or find an appropriate building code sentence to appeal the decision.

We do recommend taking action quickly if there is a mistake. The longer you wait to make the necessary repairs, the greater the risk of further damage to your property. As mentioned above, most inspectors are nice people and they usually provide guidance on how to repair.

Are there any other types of inspections that you should be aware of? 

ESA, or the Electrical Safety Authority, is responsible for ensuring that all electrical equipment in Ontario meets safety standards. They are responsible for inspecting and licensing all electrical contractors in the province. They also offer education and training programs to help contractors stay up-to-date on the latest safety regulations. If you are having any electrical work done in your home, it is important to choose a contractor who is licensed by ESA. This ensures that the contractor has been trained in safe wiring practices and is up-to-date on the latest safety regulations. Please note ESA is a separate permit and separate fee to be paid for their service.


In short, there are a number of reasons why your building may fail inspection. If your building fails inspection, you will be required to make the necessary repairs in order to pass. It is important to take action quickly if there is a mistake. We wish you good luck in future projects.