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Changes in BC Building Codes

BC Building Codes

New construction in British Columbia is regulated by the BC Building Code (BCBC). What is the BCBC? A code that establishes provincial regulations to be adhered to by builders—a set of minimum standards, so to speak. These standards guide builders as to how new construction, repairs, demolitions, and alterations are to be completed.

In addition, the code further establishes the minimum requirements for health, safety, fire and structural protection, accessibility, and water efficiency in construction. The most recent code was amended in 2018 and came into effect on December 10, 2018. Afterward, revisions followed.

Chiefly, adjustments to the last building code amendment were geared toward making homes more energy efficient.

Several changes in BC Building Codes include:

• New requirements in the 2018 code combines requirements of the National Building Code 2015 with existing requirements in BC that achieve better accessibility. For example, common areas of apartments, condos and small retail shops are all affected.
• Builders are now allowed to construct a building using wood that reaches up to 12-stories high. This is up from the previous limit of 6-stories.
• Improved obligations for roofs and walls with the goal of increased energy efficiency.
• Extra controls for lighting aimed at reducing energy use.
• Improvements are required for stairs that increase accessibility and safety for everyone. However, the unnecessary requirement for two handrails on a curved stair has been removed.
• Carbon monoxide detectors or alarms are required in residential buildings.
• Another revision calls for improvements to fire alarms and exits that increase safety for people coming and going from roof-top areas.
• Language has been changed for added clarity regarding fire protection requirements between adjacent buildings.
• Updates have been made to radon data, established from recent studies conducted.
• Changes that became effective December 12, 2019, include encapsulated mass timber construction, as well as garbage and recycling room lighting requirements.

Comprehensive amendments and revisions may be found online.

The BC Building Code applies to the entire province of British Columbia, exclusive of the City of Vancouver and certain federal lands. It’s important for anyone planning a new build to abide by the most recent codes to keep occupants safe and make buildings accessible to all people.

Concerned Longhouse Forest Products customers may view the entire BC Building Codes free of charge on the Province of BC website. Alternately, anyone can purchase the binder online, packed with all the information required for compliance.