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BC and Canada Building Code and Laws

This page is made up of links and information found on the net about BC and Canada Building Code and Laws

Make a comment about BC and Canada Building Code using the comment form at the bottom of this page.

LAST UPDATE January 25, 2015

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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The BC Building Code is based on the National Building and National Plumbing Codes of Canada with some variations specific to BC. The Code applies throughout the province with some exceptions, such as the City of Vancouver where the City of Vancouver Building By-Law applies.

The first National Building Code of Canada (NBC) was published in 1941; subsequent editions were published in 1953, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995.

The National Building Code has no legal status unless adopted by an authority having jurisdiction, such as a municipality or province. Local authorities may amend or revise the requirements to meet local conditions.

Prior to September 1, 1973, local governments adopted a building code under local bylaws. In 1973, an amendment to the Municipal Act (see S.B.C. 1971, c. 38, s. 54) gave the provincial government the power to make regulations establishing a building code (includes the plumbing code) for the province through an Order in Council. An amendment to the Act in 1977 (S.B.C. 1977, c. 57, s. 29) eliminated the need for an OIC and gave authority to the Minister of Municipal Affairs to enact the codes through a Minister's Order. Currently, the authority for building regulations belongs to the Minister of Forests and Range and Minister Responsible for Housing.

Today, the province makes building regulations under the authority of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 323, s. 692(1). The regulations apply to all municipalities and regional districts and have the same force and effect as a validly enacted bylaw (section 692(2)). The Building Policy Branch of the Office of Housing and Construction Standards is responsible for developing and maintaining the building regulations. An historical table listing regulations and in force dates for past codes is available on its website.

The 2006 BC Building Code is based on the National Building Code of Canada 2005 and the National Plumbing Code of Canada and is established by B.C. Regulation 216/2006, effective December 15, 2006.

The Code is available online by subscription only. Print copies are available for reference in BC Courthouse libraries (see catalogue record for details).

Vancouver Public Library (VPL) and UBC Library have complete sets of the National Building Codes.

REFERENCES:

National Research Council Construction Codes Guides

Canadian Codes Center

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is responsible for development of the national model codes. Visit the National Code Documents web site for more information.

Historical Editions of the National Building Code

National Research Council Canada

Plumbing requirements were included in all editions of the NBC up until 1970 when they were published as a separate Code. The documents in this collection are provided in PDF format.

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Question: What is the BC Building Code?

Answer: The BC Building Code is a provincial regulation for new construction and building alterations, establishing minimum standards for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings, and protection of the building or facility from water and sewer damage. The Building Code also includes requirements for energy and water efficiency. The Code applies throughout the province, except for the City of Vancouver, where the City of Vancouver Building By-law applies.

The 2006 BC Building Code is based on the 2005 edition of the model National Building and National Plumbing Codes of Canada with some variations specific to B.C.

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Question: Why is the BC Building Code not available online for free?

Answer: The BC Building Code is available for reference free of charge at public libraries. The BC Building Code is based on the National Building Code, which is developed by the National Research Council of Canada. The sale of building codes in BC helps fund the national code development system.

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Building Code Enforcement and Building Permits
The Building and Safety Standards Branch does not enforce compliance with the BC Building Code. Local governments are authorized to enforce the BC Building Code through the Local Government Act and the Community Charter. If you have a question regarding building permits or building code enforcement, please contact the local government building department in your area.

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Ask a Building Code Question

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Building Code book fee if you buy

BC Building Code Book includes Plumbing Code $250 plus $16.95 for update

Fire Code Book $140

Canadian Electrical Code Book Part 1 $150

These code books are available at the library for free.

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Local Government Act
British Columbia Building Code Regulation
[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 322/2009, February 1, 2010]

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Energy Efficiency Act

Local Government Act

Find through BC Civic Info your Improvement District, Regional District, First Nations Government or Other Agency

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Question: Bedroom Window - Is it required by the BC Building Code?

Answer: The BC Building Code generally requires every bedroom in a house and every bedroom in a small multi-family residential building to have an outside window that can be used as an emergency exit. The window opening must be 0.35M2 with no dimension less than 380mm.

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Question: Water Heaters – Are there new regulations in the BC Building Code?

Answer: There are new regulations under the Energy Efficiency Act for energy efficiency of water heaters. For more information, see the webpage for the Energy Efficiency Act.

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Question: Windows and Doors – Are there new regulations in the BC Building Code?

Answer: There are new regulations under the Energy Efficiency Act for energy efficiency of windows and doors. For more information, see the webpage for the Energy Efficiency Act.

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Valley v. Schon Timber Ltd.

THE BUILDING PERMIT:

CVRD Bylaw No. 143, 1974 is a bylaw for the administration and enforcement of the Building Code. Its preamble is as follows:

WHEREAS Section 719A of the Municipal Act and the regulations thereunder provide that the National Building Code of Canada, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9, and the British Columbia Plumbing Code apply to the Regional District of Cowichan Valley.

NOW THEREFORE, THE BOARD OF THE REGIONAL DISTRICT OF COWICHAN VALLEY IN OPEN MEETING ASSEMBLED ENACTS AS FOLLOWS:

That bylaw includes a prohibition which reads, in part, as follows:

3. (1) No person shall commence or continue any work related to building unless he has a valid and subsisting permit issued by the authority having jurisdiction.

(2) No person shall occupy or use any building or part thereof contrary to the terms of any permit, notice or certificate given by the authority having jurisdiction.

The British Columbia Plumbing Code, subject to some exceptions, applies to the design, construction, extension, alteration, renewal and repair of plumbing systems. The British Columbia Plumbing Code and the Canadian Plumbing Code are not of relevance to this application. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of the National Building Code of Canada apply to buildings. Part 2.1.1.1 of the National Building Code of Canada provides that, except for farm buildings, Parts 1, 2, 7 and 8 apply to all buildings. Parts 3, 4, 5 and 6 apply to the buildings, included within s. 2.1.2 of the National Building Code of Canada, and Part 9 applies to the buildings included within s. 2.1.3.

As noted, Part 1 of the National Building Code of Canada, which is headed "Scope and Definitions", applies to all buildings. Section 1.1.2, Scope, is as follows:

1.1.2.1. This Code applies to the design, construction and occupancy of new buildings, and the alteration, reconstruction, demolition, removal, relocation and occupancy of existing buildings.

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed. (Random House, New York 1987) includes the following definitions for building:

1. A relatively permanent enclosed construction over a plot of land, having a roof and usually windows and often more than one level, used for any of a wide variety of activities, as living, entertaining, or manufacturing.

2. Anything built or constructed.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th ed. (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1990), includes the following definitions for building:

1. A permanent fixed structure forming an enclosure and providing protection from the elements, etc. (e.g., a house, school, factory or stable).

2. The constructing of such structures.

Parts 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9 of the National Building Code of Canada have application according to the major occupancies of the buildings involved.

Section 719A of the Municipal Act was repealed in 1985. The evidence submitted on this application is that Bylaw 143 remains in force, except to the extent that it has been repealed by s. 740 of the Municipal Act.

Section 740 permits the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Recreation & Housing to make regulations in respect of a number of matters, including the establishing of a Building Code for the Province, and regulating building generally. The Minister has, by regulation, adopted and established as the British Columbia Building Code, the National Building Code of Canada 1990 as it existed on June 30, 1991, with the changes that are incorporated in it in the appendix attached to the regulation. The British Columbia Building Code also includes matters relating to plumbing. The scope and application of the British Columbia Building Code is set out in it in Part 1, s. 1.1.2. That section details the application of the Code, which applies to aspects of buildings.

Section 3 of the regulation adopting and establishing the British Columbia Building Code reads as follows:

3. A person who, before the coming into force of this regulation, has been issued a permit for the construction or alteration of a building or for plumbing is exempt from the requirements of the British Columbia Building Code if the person

(a) commences work authorized by the permit within 6 months after the effective date of the permit,

(b) continues the work to completion without interruption, other than for stoppages considered reasonable in the building industry or plumbing industry as the case may be, and

(c) complies with the provisions of B.C. Reg. 192/87 as it was immediately before the coming into force of this section.

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Overview of the Public Health Act

Division 4 - Orders Respecting Health Hazards and Contraventions

Health officers (which include medical health officers and environmental health officers) have the legislative authority to identify, prevent and mitigate health hazards and enforce compliance with the Act. Health officers’ powers are broad given that health hazards may include many things that adversely affects public health e.g. sewage contamination, unhealthy or dangerous swimming pools, mercury contamination of an apartment building. Costs incurred may be recovered from the individual who created the health hazard. Notices may be placed on the land title if a health hazard is associated with the land e.g. wells with high levels of arsenic.

Division 5 - Making and Reviewing Orders

Processes for health officers to issue orders are updated; how orders are made and served and when orders are terminated is clearly defined. The rights of individuals affected by a health officer’s orders are also protected by provisions that allow a request for reconsideration, review and reassessment of the order.

Division 6 - Enforcement of Orders

Health officers may take enforcement measures in situations where individuals are not compliant with the Act, or pose a threat to their personal health or public health. Health officers may: obtain a warrant to enter and search a place; obtain an injunction to stop a person from violating the Act; obtain an order to detain an infected individual; order an individual to submit to public health protective measures; or order an individual to move to a residence where the person’s health is not endangered.

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If you have comments, ideas, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding this subject, please make a comment by filling out the form below and/or comment directly to the government itself.

Regional District of Central Okanagan

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Letters to Chief Building Inspector

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