What is a variance?
A variance, or “alternative solution” is a means to authorize an installation, process, equipment, or action that is not strictly consistent with existing code rules, but that provides approximately equal or greater level of safety than what is required by the code rule.

When are variances used?
Variances are used to allow for innovative design and new construction technology or methodology.

How can I request a variance?
Variances are requested by the owner to the safety codes officer. Variances may only be issued by a safety codes officer, a technical administrator, or the Safety Codes Council.

Request for a Specific Variance form
Request for a Specific Variance sample

Variance Registry
Under Section 38 of the Safety Codes Act, an Administrator must be notified of all variances issued by safety codes officers.

The Council maintains a registry system to house a record of these variances. We require that a copy of the signed variance be submitted. Note that we no longer require supporting documentation be provided for our registry.

Variance sample
NOTICE – Variances under the Safety Codes Act

Variance Refusals

Beginning December 1, 2021, a Written Notice of Variance Refusal issued by an SCO will be appealable to the Council. In order to appeal, the recipient of the notice must submit the Council’s Notice of Appeal Form with a copy of the Written Notice and the $500 appeal fee within 30 days from date of service of the Written Notice of Variance Refusal.

It is recommended that SCOs use the Council’s Written Notice of Refusal template when issuing a refusal. As the Written Notice could become the subject of an appeal hearing, it is important to have well prepared formal documentation. The Council’s template provides details on the information that an SCO needs to include in order to ensure that the reason for the refusal is clear.

Note that only refusals issued by SCOs are appealable. A variance refusal issued by an Administrator is not appealable.