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BC and Canada Building Code and Laws
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January 25, 2015
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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ask a Building Code Question
|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.
Energy Efficiency Act
Local Government Act
Find through BC
Civic Info your Improvement District, Regional District, First Nations
Government or Other Agency
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.
|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 22.214.171.124 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:
126.96.36.199. 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
1. A permanent fixed structure forming an enclosure and providing
protection from the elements, etc. (e.g., a house, school, factory
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
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
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.
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.
Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned
citizens to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.
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
Regional District of Central Okanagan
Government of B.C.
Government of Canada
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