What's Effective Now?

The Building Act comes into force over time. Learn what's effective now. The most recent changes are listed first.

APRIL 7, 2017: BC Energy Step Code
Regulations in force: Building Act General Regulation (amended); British Columbia Building Code Regulation (amended)

Short description: Amendments to the Building Act General Regulation and the British Columbia Building Code Regulation are now in force to support the BC Energy Step Code. The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary compliance path within the BC Building Code that establishes progressive performance targets (i.e., steps) that support market transformation from the current energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to net zero energy ready buildings. The British Columbia Building Code Regulation was amended to include the BC Energy Step Code requirements; the Building Act General Regulation was amended to add two matters to the unrestricted matters list, to support the use of the BC Energy Step Code by local governments.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2017: Competency sections, amendments to regulations, and new ministerial orders
Sections in force: 10 - 13, 22 - 30, and 44
Regulations in force: Building Act Administrative Regulation (amended) and Building Act General Regulation (amended)

Short description: The building official qualification or ‘competency’ sections of the Act (sections 11 to 13 and 22-30) are now in force, and take effect over a four-year transition period. Two ministerial orders are also now in force to support the qualification requirements: one specifies exam and continuing professional development requirements, and the second designates the registrar of qualified building officials. The Building Act General Regulation has been amended to include some of the building official qualifications requirements, and to add additional items to the unrestricted matters list. Finally, the Building Act Administrative Regulation has been amended to delegate administration of the qualification regime to the Building Officials’ Association of British Columbia and to specify the maximum amount of a monetary administrative penalty that may be imposed per section 24 of the Act.

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  • Read these sections in the Building Act - BC Laws version (shows sections in effect) or complete text
  • Read section B2 of the Building Act Guide for information about the new building official qualification requirements (short and full versions)
  • Read the revised version of the B1 Appendix of the Building Act Guide for details about the additions to the unrestricted matters list

 

JUNE 10, 2016: Cost recovery and two regulations
Sections in force: 31, 32, 33, and 34
Regulations in force: Building Act Administrative Regulation and Building Act General Regulation

Short description: Sections 31 to 34 concern the cost recovery process for variation applications under section 7 (in force) and 8 (not yet in force) of the Act. The Building Act Administrative Regulation describes how notices must be served under section 39 of the Act. The Building Act General Regulation provides details of the cost recovery sections (for example, how estimates of recoverable costs are made) and contains the list of unrestricted matters. These are matters for which local governments have authority to enact technical building requirements by bylaw, even after the end of the two-year transition period December 15, 2017.

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DECEMBER 15, 2015: Consistency sections
Sections in force: 5, 7, 9, and 43

Short description: These sections of the Act bring greater consistency to the building requirements in effect across the province.

  • Section 5 – specifies that local government building requirements have no legal effect to the extent that they relate to a matter covered by a provincial building regulation such as the BC Building Code. This is a key element of the effort to bring greater consistency to building requirements in the province. Section 5 does not apply until two years after it's brought into force (see section 43 below).
  • Section 7 – allows local governments to apply for a variation from the building requirements in a provincial building regulation, such as the BC Building Code. The variation would apply within the community or communities making the request and would not be specific to a single building site. Under the Act, the building requirements in an approved request for variation will be enacted through a provincial building regulation and not through a local government bylaw.
  • Section 9 – enables the Province to engage or retain technical experts for the review of a request for variation by a local authority or person.
  • Section 43 – states that section 5 will not apply until two years after it comes into force (that is, it will not apply until December 15, 2017).

Section 5 restrictions: This section has a significant impact on local governments and other local authorities. Local governments are encouraged to review their bylaws and amend them, if needed, to eliminate any existing technical building requirements before the transition period ends on December 15, 2017. After that date, any technical building requirements in bylaws won’t have legal force unless they’re for matters that have been unrestricted in a minister’s regulation. Until the transition period ends, local governments will continue to be subject to the Community Charter’s concurrent authority provisions for buildings.

Section 7 variation requests: The Province recognizes the goal of greater consistency needs to be balanced against a reasonable ability for local governments to meet unique local needs. For this reason, and in limited circumstances, local governments will be able to request what the Building Act calls a variation—meaning, building requirements that differ from or exceed those in provincial building regulations such as the BC Building Code. The Province will establish criteria that variation requests must address.

Local governments considering applying for a variation should ensure they have a compelling reason for their request. Some points to consider include:

  • What unique local conditions make the variation necessary?
  • What problem(s) is created by not having this building requirement?
  • Is this request from one local government or a group of local governments?
  • What are the benefits of the proposed building requirement(s) compared to the impact on housing affordability?
  • Is a variation the most appropriate way to address this issue? Can the problem be resolved in a different way?
  • Is the variation being requested proven elsewhere, or is there strong research supporting its safety and effectiveness?
  • Have those who would be affected by the variation been consulted (for example, builders and developers, other local governments, health authorities or other provincial ministries)?

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2015: Fundamental sections
Sections in force: 1 - 4, 6, 14 - 18, 19 (1), (2), and (3)(a), 20, 21, 39 - 42, 45, 46, 48, 50 - 55, and 58 – 62

Short description: These are the first sections of the act to come into effect. They are fundamental and administrative in nature and do not result in any immediate changes for any stakeholders affected by the Act, including local governments, building officials and those working in the building construction industry.

Among other administrative and legislative matters, these sections bring into force:

  • The definitions in the Act;
  • The Minister’s authority to set building regulations (as this authority is being removed from the Local Government Act);
  • Local authorities’ powers to (continue to) administer and enforce provincial building regulations;
  • The Minister’s authority to enter into an administrative agreement with an external organization to administer the qualification requirements for building officials; and
  • The continuation of the Building Code Appeal Board under the Act.

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The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page: April 11, 2017.