Building Code & Reference Guides

The new Building and Plumbing Regulation Bylaw No. 17-113 is now in effect.

BC Building Code

The current edition of the BC Building Code  applies to the construction of buildings; including extensions, substantial alterations, buildings undergoing a change for occupancy, “green” building specifications, and upgrading of buildings to remove an unacceptable hazard. It applies the core concepts of the National Building Code, combined with elements specific to BC’s unique needs.

Letters of Assurance

Letters of Assurance (Schedule A, B, C-A and C-B) are documents which form part of the BC Building Code.  Ensure all Letters of Assurance are current by reviewing the effective date found on the BC Building Code website.

Technical Bulletins

Technical bulletins are tools designed to help when using the BC Building and Plumbing codes.

Building Code Guides and Reference Documents

BC Housing provides Residential construction reports and research including the latest information on new technologies and good building practices, from Builder Insight bulletins and Maintenance Matters to in-depth studies and analysis.

Child Care

BC Building Code clarifies buildings containing child-care facilities as assembly occupancy (A-2). This means that child-care facilities can occupy small wood-frame buildings, provided certain fire safety requirements are met. The change allows for more building options for child-care providers, while maintaining a high level of safety.

In addition to the BC Building Code, daycare facilities for children are also regulated by the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. Section 20 of the Act states that licensed child care facilities that accommodate no more than 8 children shall not be required to conform to any BC Building Code requirements beyond those that apply to a single family dwelling*. These licensed daycare facilities will continue to be accepted as single family dwellings under Part 9 of the BC Building Code and are not subject to the additional requirements discussed above.


BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard enacted in April 2017 that establishes progressive performance steps in energy efficiency for new buildings from the current BC Building Code level to net zero energy ready buildings by 2032. It was developed through wide-ranging stakeholder consensus over a two year period through a series of working groups and committees convened by the Building and Safety Standards Branch of the BC Provincial Government.

The Step Code provides a consistent provincial standard for energy efficiency to replace the wide range of existing policies and programs unique to each local government. It also supports consumer choice by taking a new performance-based approach rather than a prescriptive approach. This allows builders flexibility to develop using all available technologies as the Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, only identifies an energy efficiency target that must be met.

City of Victoria approach

The City of Victoria’s goal is to develop an adoption approach to Step Code that balances our climate action goals, housing affordability considerations, and industry readiness and capacity. Staff have been working with the Capital Regional District and other local municipalities on a program of engagement events aimed at industry stakeholders, which began in Fall 2017. A summary of what was heard from industry and others throughout that engagement phase can be accessed at this link.

Council Direction to Consult with Industry on Proposed Approach

Based on the feedback received in the first phase of engagement, staff brought forward a report to Council seeking their direction to engage with industry on a recommended approach to adoption of the Step Code at the January 18, 2018 Committee of the Whole meeting. That report can be accessed at this link.

Council provided direction to engage with industry on an interim transition period of Step 1 adoption beginning in November 2018 to allow industry to familiarize with the new process requirements of the Step Code, followed by the adoption of Step 3 in January 2020 for all new residential and large scale commercial buildings.

Opportunity to provide feedback

Staff are seeking feedback on this approach from industry and other stakeholders, including at the following events which will be co-hosted by the Urban Development Institute - Capital Region, Canadian Home Builders' Association - Vancouver Island, and Vancouver Island Construction Association:

  • Event 1 was held at the Victoria Conference Centre on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Event 2 was held at Cedar Hill Golf Course Thursday February 22, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 

To provide your input regarding adoption of the Step Code and the best mechanisms to support industry in its implementation, please:

Additional resources

For information and resources on the BC Energy Step Code, including the implementation guide, costing study, technical webinars, and FAQs, visit