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 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.
- Illustrated Guide - Seismic Design of Houses - Lateral Bracing Requirements [PDF - 2.1 MB]
- Illustrated Guide - Energy Efficiency Requirements for Houses in British Columbia (Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island) [PDF - 1.4 MB]
- Illustrated Guide - R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in BC [PDF - 9.7 MB]
- Illustrated Guide - 9.32 Ventilation Examples [PDF - 1 MB]
- Heat Recovery Ventilation Guide for Houses [PDF - 1.8 MB]
- Best Practices for Air Sealing and Insulation Retrofits - For Single Family Homes [PDF - 4.4 MB]
- Consumer Guide to Window and Door Replacement [PDF - 1.4 MB]
- Illustrated Guide - Building Safe and Durable Wood Decks and Balconies [PDF - 7.2 MB]
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.
- Daycare Facilities for Children - Information Bulletin [PDF - 341 KB]
- Handbook for Child Care Providers [PDF - 9.3 MB]
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 Step Code Requirements
Council adopted the Step Code on April 26, 2018, as per the following:
- Projects that have applied for building permit prior to November 1st, 2018 will be considered in-stream and will not be subject to Step Code requirements.
- Building permits applied for between November 1st, 2018 and December 31st, 2019 will need to demonstrate compliance with Step 1 of the Step Code.
- Building permits applied for after January 1st, 2020 will need to demonstrate compliance with the Steps adopted for that building typology:
- Step 3 for Part 9 homes (excluding small homes/garden suites)
- Step 2 for Part 9 small homes/garden suites
- Step 3 for Part 3 mid-rise/wood-frame residential buildings
- Step 2 for Part 3 high-rise/concrete residential buildings and commercial buildings.
For applicants seeking information on how the BC Energy Step Code affects a project and/or project timelines, please see BC Energy Step Code: Information for Applicants - Land Use Applications and Building Permits. [PDF - 69 KB]
For information and resources on the BC Energy Step Code, including the implementation guide, costing study, technical webinars, and FAQs, visit www.energystepcode.ca.
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