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Province seeks input on building code updates

CANADA, May 23 - People will get a say in how future buildings are constructed in B.C., including cooling requirements and accessibility standards, as the Province launches a survey on proposed changes to the BC Building Code.

“Our government is committed to more accessible, safer and more climate-resilient buildings for people, now and in the future,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “That is why we are updating the BC Building Code to ensure that buildings and spaces across the province reflect the needs of everyone. We look forward to reviewing feedback from experts and the public to ensure that the changes we are proposing will provide benefits in the years to come.”

The proposed changes to the BC Building Code are based on the 2020 National Model Codes with some B.C.-specific variations to reflect the province’s geography, climate, local government needs, industry practices and provincial priorities, such as accessibility.

A four-week public review invites interested parties to review and comment on a variety of proposed building code changes, including:

  • accessibility and adaptable dwellings
  • cooling requirements
  • mass timber construction
  • earthquake design
  • radon safety, and
  • ventilation in houses

People can learn about the proposed changes and provide feedback through an online survey: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/bc-codes/public-review

The survey is open until June 16, 2023.

Topical summaries of draft code language are provided for review. In addition, the survey provides draft accessibility code language that was informed by early engagement with the public and industry on opportunities to increase accessibility in new buildings and homes.

“Eliminating barriers to accessibility is a core motive in our efforts to making our province a safe and barrier-free place to live in,” said Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “We are taking action on what we have heard in our engagements with British Columbians, especially people living with disabilities. That is why we are updating the standards in our building code to support everyone in their day-to-day activities.”

The Ministry of Housing will review and consider all feedback in drafting the updated building code.

The Province anticipates adopting the updated BC Building Code this year and bringing it into force in December 2023. The transition period will give local governments, the construction industry, education providers and others governed by the code time to adjust their practices and training materials.

Quick Facts:

  • The BC Building Code is a provincial regulation that governs how a building’s construction, alterations and demolitions are required to be carried out.
  • The code establishes minimum requirements for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings, and energy and water efficiency.
  • The code applies throughout the province except on some federal lands and in the City of Vancouver (the city has its own building bylaw).

Learn More:

For more information on the digitization of the BC Building Code, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000496

To learn more about the proposed changes, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/bc-codes/public-review

To read the summary report on feedback received during the early engagement on accessibility, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/resources-contactinformation

For more information about BC Building Codes and Standards, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/bc-codes

A backgrounder follows.