The Grenfell Tower fire in Britain underlines the importance of diligence to avoid unintended consequences when reviewing materials and building codes.

The cladding and insulation, intended to improve energy efficiency, caught fire, turned into an inferno and released toxic gases like hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide.

The unintended consequences resulted in a devastating tragedy.

It is the responsibility of government and industry to work together to ensure consumer protection.

However, it is ultimately government making the final decision.

Examples of unintended consequences in Canada are not hard to find.

Some are associated with regulations enhancing energy efficiency without the due diligence required to understand unintended consequences.

BC’s leaky condo debacle is one. Others, on a national scale, include urea formaldehyde insulation and asbestos vermiculite, which the federal govt subsidized through the Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP).

Aside from the risk of living in a potentially toxic environment, homeowners are stuck with paying thousands of dollars to remove the materials.

Energy efficiency is important, but it does not override consumer protection.

BC’s new Step Code regulation is a significant change to BC’s Building Code, which skips the national review process.

This undermines the province’s own building standard, and therefore consumer protection, by creating a myriad of regulations implemented differently by 160 municipalities.

VRBA has objected to this lack of diligence, but the province plans to proceed.

Only time will tell – hopefully not via unintended consequences.