The Government of BC has adopted the 2018 edition of the British Columbia Building Code and the BC Fire Code (BC Codes 2018). Both codes are set to come into effect on December 10, 2018, and will apply to building permits applied for on or after that date. Buildings with permits in place under the previous code will generally not be affected.
The BC Codes 2018 are based on the model National Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes of Canada 2015, which adopted about 600 technical changes to enhance clarity, introduce new concepts, and expand existing requirements.
What’s new in the BC Building Code 2018
The BC Building Code 2018 makes substantial changes in the area of accessibility by combining provincial and national requirements and adding several new requirements. For instance, the new code requires accessibility improvements in retail shops, condos, and apartments, assembly buildings, etc. The BC Building Code 2018 also includes changes involving seismic design, asbestos, exit signs, energy efficiency standards, water efficiency of plumbing fixtures, mid-rise combustible construction, stairs, heritage buildings, and more. The Building and Safety Standards Branch has developed a technical bulletin, available online, outlining the new requirements in the code.
Another notable revision to the BC Building Code 2018 includes extensions and minor improvements to the BC Energy Step Code. Guidelines on meeting energy efficiency requirements in existing Part 3 buildings have also been included. More information is provided on the Energy Step Code website.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Architectural Institute of BC are coordinating efforts to provide training early in 2019 on BC Building Code changes. Details will be released soon.
What’s new in the BC Fire Code 2018
The BC Fire Code 2018 makes changes to areas such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, emergency lighting, smoke alarms, and use of elevators in an emergency. The Building and Safety Standards Branch has developed a technical bulletin, available online, outlining the new requirements in the code. The Office of the Fire Commissioner also provides guidelines, bulletins about Fire Safety for Construction and Demolitions Sites, and position papers about fire safety on their website.
Where can I access the new BC Building and Fire Codes 2018?
Online versions of both the BC Building Code 2018 and BC Fire Code 2018 are available for purchase from the British Columbia Codes website, at www.bccodes.ca/index.html. Print and print/online combination copies will be available soon.
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