Victoria – New updates to the B.C. Building and Plumbing Code (B.C. Building Code) support innovative construction methods to help build more affordable homes faster, while enhancing building standards for energy efficiency and safety for British Columbians.

The building code changes apply to building permit applications on or after December 12, 2019.

One of the changes to the building code enables local governments to allow 12-storey tall wood buildings, up from the previous limit of six storeys. Thirteen communities have signed on to be early adopters of tall wood buildings using mass timber technology.

Another change will help increase the supply of homes people need by allowing secondary suites in multi-family buildings, like thousands of duplexes and townhouses around the province. The regulations also remove maximum size restrictions in the building code.

“Secondary suites are a critically important source of rental housing in communities across B.C.,” said David Hutniak, chief executive officer, LandlordBC. “We are pleased to see that the Province is extending the new regulations to existing buildings and is removing barriers to this form of rental housing.”

Additionally, new regulations for secondary suites will require fire separations between residences to improve safety for everyone in the homes.

Energy Step Code requirements have also been introduced for public sector buildings, such as hospitals, schools, community centres and university classrooms. This aligns with the Province’s CleanBC commitment to protect its communities and set B.C. on the path to a stronger, more sustainable future.

B.C. Building Code changes that enhance safety include:

  • requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in commercial buildings and assembly buildings, such as schools, offices and places of worship;
  • increased lighting in recycling rooms; and
  • additional requirements for fire alarms and exits on roof-top enclosures, like patios.

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