Building and Safety Standards Branch

The Ministry's Building and Safety Standards Branch is responsible for developing and implementing a modern regulatory framework for safe design, construction and occupancy of buildings. The branch works to achieve a balance between the health and safety objectives of the BC Building Code and affordability.

National Public Review opportunity

From October 15, 2013 to December 23, 2013, the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes held a public review to gauge thoughts on the proposed changes to the National Model Construction Codes.

One proposal of note involves 5 and 6 storey mid-rise wood-frame construction. While the Province already allows residential mid-rise wood frame construction, this proposal also allows group D (offices) and E (mercantile) occupancies.  In terms of fire safety, the proposal requires fire-resistive or non-combustible cladding for the 5th and 6th storeys only, while the Province requires the entire building to have fire-resistive or non-combustible cladding. There are a number of other proposed changes related to building accessibility and water efficiency.

The review on National Model Construction Codes started October 15th and ended December 23rd, 2013. Thank you for your participation and feedback.

Public Review on Ventilation: Section 9.32

The Province’s recent adoption of the 2012 National Model Building Code amendments for energy efficiency in housing and small buildings will become effective on December 19, 2014.

In addition, BC intends to implement new ventilation requirements in conjunction with this adoption. While most commonly associated with energy performance, ventilation is more significantly a health and safety issue. Inadequate ventilation in energy efficient housing creates an environment for mould, high concentrations of CO2, and other indoor air pollutants which are linked to health problems.

The Building and Safety Standards Branch has been working on requirements which will improve ventilation in buildings and these proposals are available for review. BC intends to implement new ventilation requirements in conjunction with the new energy efficiency requirements in December 2014.

Click here to view the ventilation requirements. The survey is now closed. Thank you for your participation and feedback.

2012 Edition of Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes

The Province has adopted the 2012 editions of the BC Building Code, BC Plumbing Code, and BC Fire Code (“BC Codes”) with an effective date of December 20, 2012. If a building permit is applied for prior to this date, the 2006 edition of the BC Codes will still apply. Click here to review the Information Bulletin announcing the release. To access the Codes or for purchase information, please visit the Queen’s Printer.

Current Building and Safety Standards Branch initiatives include

Core activities of the Building and Safety Standards Branch include:

  • Governance of aspects of the building regulatory system framework;
  • Stewardship of the development and application of the BC Building Code;
  • Management of the administrative agreements with delegated authorities under the Safety Standards Act;
  • Acting as secretariat to the Building Code Appeal Board, the Province of British Columbia's building code dispute resolution board;
  • Working with the Homeowner Protection Office to strengthen consumer protection for buyers of new homes under the Homeowner Protection Act;
  • Liaising with the BC Safety Authority created under the Safety Authority Act; and
  • Promoting and facilitating British Columbia's interests in national standards while working with stakeholders to balance safety, economic and social priorities.

Key Legislation:

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.

You can find contact information for local governments here.