Become a Professional First Nations Building Officer (FNBO)
NOTICE: FNNBOA no longer issuing certifications
Back around 2005, FNNBOA moved forward with an ambitious program to certify inspectors working in First Nations communities. FNNBOA established an application process in which the information was reviewed by a registrar. The FNNBOA certification program was one of the leading programs for certifying inspectors in Canada, and much of this framework was adopted by building-code officials and inspectors working off reserve. What was unique about the FNNBOA certification program is it was based on the First Nations inspector’s skills and competencies and the experience of working in First Nations communities.
However, recent changes in federal government policies have pushed FNNBOA to rethink the Certification Council. These changes include CMHC requiring an attestation signed by a qualified inspector. While there was uncertainty on the acceptance of a FNNBOA certification, any such changes became too onerous for FNNBOA, which is operated by volunteers. In addition, FNNBOA’s insurance costs associated with the issuance of certification became a concern. Recertification, and encouraging inspectors to continue with on-going training requirements, were also challenges for the organization.
At the last board meeting, FNNBOA decided to no longer issue certifications.
Any certifications issued are no longer valid.
FNNBOA wants to encourage all inspectors who conduct housing or commercial inspections in First Nations communities to write provincial examinations.
FNNBOA is reaching out to provincial government agencies responsible for certifying municipal building officials, including their respective associations. Our preliminary discussions with some of these agencies and associations have been extremely positive. These groups will welcome First Nations inspectors. What is more exciting is that there will be great opportunities for the First Nations inspector to be certified to work both on- and off-reserve. First Nations inspectors will be able to increase their inspections by working in the smaller communities or rural areas of their province that are not readily accessible to many inspectors.
As FNNBOA reaches agreements with these agencies, information will be posted on the website and newsletters on how inspectors can become certified within their province.
Partnership with the Ontario Government
FNNBOA has reached out to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) on how to have First Nations inspectors become qualified in Ontario. The provincial Building Code Act requires individuals and firms responsible for activities regulated under the act to be qualified. This includes building officials (e.g., chief building officials, supervisors, managers, plans examiners and inspectors, including on-site sewage-system inspectors and fire-protection inspectors).
The MMAH has an agreement with George Brown College to provide training. The college is responsible for updating, developing and delivering training courses and self-study manuals for the 2012 Building Code. George Brown College partners with other colleges and groups to ensure that training services can be delivered close to where students live (see http://ce.georgebrown.ca/BuildingCode/).
Although not mandatory, these training opportunities support individuals who wish to take Building Code examinations. The successful completion of specific exams is required to become qualified and registered under the Building Code Act, 1992. Building Code training also supports professional development in the building sector. Building-Code Examinations To become qualified, inspectors must successfully
complete the examination programs. This involves passing one or more examinations. The ministry writes and updates examination questions. Humber College delivers the exams through virtual online proctoring, and in test centres across the province. Registration is also done through Humber College.
For more information, please see: http:// www.humber.ca/buildingcodeexams/
To register for an exam, you require a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) from the ministry. If you don’t have one, apply for a BCIN at the following Ministry location.
The steps are outlined in How to Apply for a BCIN. For those with no internet access, please submit a BCIN application form by mail. First Nations inspectors are encouraged to apply as an independent designer. “Designed by” means an independent designer, an owner-designer or a builder designer who carries out design activities related to a building. “Designed by independent” is used for First Nations, as it is unclear how many First Nations have adopted the Building Code Act, 2012, as part of their by-laws (e.g., acknowledging the authority having jurisdiction).
For more information on how to become a qualified inspector in Ontario, please see: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page8591.aspx