Introduction of the Energy Step Code as an Amendment to the BC Building Code

Posted on April 27, 2017

by Peter Mitchell, P.Eng., Susan Hayes, P.Eng., Harshan Radhakrishnan, P.Eng.

Effective April 7, 2017, the BC Energy Step Code has been introduced as an amendment to the 2012 BC Building Code (BCBC). The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary compliance path within the BCBC (via new Subsections 9.36.6. and 10.2.3. of Division B) that establishes progressive performance targets (or steps) to support transformation from the current energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to net zero energy–ready buildings by 2032. 

On December 15, 2017, section 5 of the Building Act will require local governments wishing to set higher energy-efficiency standards than those in the BCBC to do so using the BC Energy Step Code, while current local government bylaws with technical building requirements will be rendered of no legal force. The Energy Step Code will apply to new residential construction province-wide, and to multi-unit and commercial buildings in the Lower Mainland, on southern Vancouver Island, and in the south Okanagan. It enables building owners to voluntarily build to the requirements in the BC Energy Step Code or be incentivized or required to do so under local government bylaws and policies.

The Building and Safety Standards Branch is consulting with APEGBC and AIBC regarding the revisions to Letters of Assurance under the BCBC as a result of this amendment. Guidance will be provided on their use through a bulletin and APEGBC/AIBC Professional Practice Guidelines – Whole Building Energy Modelling Services, both now being developed. Additional education materials and training opportunities will be available from APEGBC and the Energy Step Code Council in coming months.


The BC Government has provided more resources and information, including:

Training on the City of Vancouver’s Energy Modelling Guidelines referenced in the Energy Step Code takes place May 24, 2017

Graphic after: Stretch Code Implementation Working Group, Energy Step Code Implementation Recommendations Final Report, August 2016

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