What is a Variance?

Each project has different needs and limitations, along with the changes in the industry-occasions arise where alternative solutions are needed. Our team endeavors to remain current and up to date with the changes in technology and advancements in industry. By promoting communication and trust with our clients, we take the time to meet with them and understand their needs and plans that may require a variance from the code.

Variances are requested by the owner to the Safety Codes Officer (see a Request for Specific Variance form here). They are intended to allow for the innovated design and new technology or methodology. They are not intended for product or equipment approval. Variances may be issued as a means to authorize installations, processes, equipment, or actions that are not consistent with the strict provisions of existing rules, but which provides an equal or greater level of safety to persons and property than that prescribed pursuant to the Act. A variance is site specific and issued within the Safety Codes Officer designation and the Municipality’s Quality Management Plan. See also, the Safety Codes Council Variance Policy.

The Safety Codes Officer will meet with the applicant to understand their proposal and intent. Documentation must be provided to demonstrate the code is being met or exceeded by their alternative solution. Once approved, all applicable information is submitted and the variance is issued. A copy is provided to the owner, contractor, kept with the permit, supplied to the Municipality as well as the Technical Administrator.

The objective of such discussions is to facilitate innovation and partnership. Safety is always of ultimate concern, so at times a request for variance cannot be approved. However, in any situation, our team spends much time investigating and communicating with other authorities to ensure due diligence and research is conducted. Our team takes the time to visit the site, meet with the applicant and conduct any required investigation prior to making final approval or denying such application with due cause. This is documented and kept with the file to ensure appropriate tracking and transparency. Our priority through the investigation of alternative solutions is safety and maintaining good working relations with our clients.

For more information or a copy of a sample Variance, click here or visit

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