Higher standards in new B.C. Building and Plumbing Code


VICTORIA – The British Columbia Building and Plumbing Code (B.C. Building Code) has been updated to improve standards of accessibility and safety, and provide more options for wood-frame construction throughout B.C.

The 2018 B.C. Building Code will take effect on Dec. 10, 2018, and will apply to building permits applied for on or after that date.

Updates to the B.C. Building Code are needed to maintain alignment of building construction with national standards, while responding to needs that are specific to B.C.

Most of the changes in the 2018 code are adopted from the 2015 National Building and Plumbing Code of Canada, as developed for the National Research Council.

Key B.C.-specific variations include:


New buildings will require a higher level of accessibility for people with disabilities, working toward the goal of making B.C. a leader in accessibility.

These changes include increased accessibility in small retail shops and common areas of condominium and apartment buildings. They also include increases to the number of wheelchair spaces required in buildings where fixed seating is provided.

Wood innovation – mid-rise combustible construction:

B.C. is making it easier for builders to use wood. The B.C. code updates include a variation to the National Building Code to support greater innovation and flexibility for six-storey wood-frame buildings.

The variation will require 10% of a building’s perimeter to face a street, compared to the national requirement of 25%, allowing for more wood-frame construction on development sites of various shapes and sizes.

It will also require that exterior cladding of these buildings have increased fire resistance, relative to the national provisions. This B.C. variation is based on extensive research and analysis, and developed in consultation with industry stakeholders.


Local governments will now be able to collect and use data related to radon levels in their community to allow those areas with elevated radon levels to require a radon rough-in, improving building safety.

Quick Facts:

* The British Columbia Building and Plumbing Code establishes minimum requirements for building health, safety, accessibility, fire and structural protection and energy and water efficiency.

* It applies to building construction and renovation throughout B.C., except for some federal lands and the City of Vancouver (the city has its own building bylaw).

* New editions of the B.C. Building and Plumbing Code are based on the most-recent edition of the National Building and Plumbing Code of Canada (National Codes) – in this case, the 2015 National Codes.

* The 2015 National Codes adopted about 600 technical changes that enhance code language clarity, introduce new concepts and expand existing requirements.

* The National Codes are updated approximately every five years. B.C. adopts most of the national requirements into subsequent editions of the B.C. Building Code.

* The 2018 B.C. Fire Code is anticipated to be adopted in fall 2018, and takes effect on Dec. 10, 2018.

Learn More:

Additional information about the new 2018 B.C. Building Code requirements is available here: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/the-codes (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/the-codes)

Technical bulletins about the 2018 B.C. Building Code can be found here:

www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/forms-resources/technical-bulletins (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/forms-resources/technical-bulletins)

B.C. Codes: www.bccodes.ca