The Ontario Builder Directory: Step 1 in Choosing a New Home Builder

Mar 15th, 2022

Buying a new home is a stressful process with many steps. Luckily, the HCRA is here to help. As a modern regulator, we are aligning technology to bring data and resources to new home buyers. This includes enabling online searches for builder information.

As a potential new home buyer, there are many things you need to know before making a purchase. But the most important piece of information you should know about your builder is if they have a valid licence issued by the HCRA! Only licensed builders can legally operate a home building business in Ontario.

Licensed builders are legally required to follow professional standards set out in regulation, which are enforced by the HCRA. This means added protection for you as a home buyer. As the regulator of Ontario’s home building industry, our advice is clear: if a builder is not licensed, do not buy from them!

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you research your potential builder:

How do I know if the builder is licensed? Check the Ontario Builder Directory

The first step in the home buying process is visiting the Ontario Builder Directory (OBD). This is a searchable database with background information on 6,500+ builders in Ontario. The licensing information on the Directory is provided by the HCRA.

If your builder is not listed on the Ontario Builder Directory, that’s a red flag. Contact the HCRA immediately for assistance on how to proceed.

If your builder is listed but not licensed, that’s another problem. A warning will appear when the builder is searched in the Ontario Builder Directory.

What other information is there?

The Ontario Builder Directory provides historical information on all licensed builders. It also includes information on builders who are not licensed (whom you should never buy from).

Specific information about individual builders in the database, in addition the status of their licence, includes:

  • Years active, and the number of homes built/being built

  • Any associated companies

  • Any previous or current notices and orders issued against the licensee

  • Warranty information — did you know that builders must provide a warranty with all new homes built in Ontario?

    • The Ontario Builder Directory discloses information on warranty claims, these details are provided by Tarion.

New information available:

The HCRA recently made some enhancements to the database, allowing builders to be searched by their operating name as well as their legal business name.

Other new features include:

  • Conditions on a licence
  • Charges that have been made against a builder (such as building or selling new homes illegally)
  • Decisions made by the HCRA’s Discipline Committee, which will appear on the builder’s profile

Through the Ontario Builder Directory, the HCRA provides factual, objective and quantifiable background information. This is not a rating system and does not include reviews or subjective commentary.

New home buyers are encouraged to check other resources for reviews and commentary to help inform their decisions about choosing a builder — once they’re sure the builder is licensed!

Visit our Home Buyer Dashboard for more tips and resources to support you throughout your home buying and home ownership journey.