The next editions of the BC Codes are anticipated to be adopted by mid-2023 with an effective date of December 2023, pending ministerial approval.
A public review of proposed changes for the BC Codes 2023 opened May 18, 2023. Feedback will be accepted until June 16, 2023. Sign up to receive an email when the new codes are available.
Provincial codes guide building construction and renovation in British Columbia
Learn about the BC Codes 2018
Free online codes
Online versions of the BC Codes 2018 are available free. Printed copies can also be found at many B.C. public libraries or purchased from Queen's Printer.
BC Building Code
The BC Building Code is a provincial regulation on how new construction, building alterations, repairs and demolitions are done. This code sets minimum requirements for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings and energy and water efficiency.
The BC Building Code applies to all buildings in B.C. except for
- The City of Vancouver (Vancouver Building Bylaw external link)
- Treaty First Nations that do not reference the Building Code in their agreements
- Federal Lands (National Building Code)
The most recent BC Building Code applies to buildings
- That are constructed (new buildings)
- That are altered or renovated
- Where the use or occupancy changes
- Where components or parts of a building are replaced
If there has not been any changes to an existing building, it should meet the requirements of the BC Building Code that was in place when the building was constructed.
For example, if a building was constructed when the BC Building Code 2012 was in effect, it doesn't need to be upgraded to meet the requirements of the BC Building Code 2018.
The current BC Building Code does apply if an existing building
- Is altered or renovated
- Has a change to its use or occupancy
- Has components replaced
Temporary buildings might not need to meet the BC Building Requirements. Contact your local government for temporary building requirements (external link).
You can learn more about many code provisions on our website:
- Review the code questions page for summaries of key topic areas
- Review the technical bulletins
- Review past code interpretations
- Ask a code question if you can't find your answer on our website
The next edition of the BC Codes will be based on the National Construction Codes 2020, which were released on March 28, 2022. The Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement commits bringing these codes into effect within 24 months from release. The Province aims to adopt the next edition of the BC Codes by mid-2023, and to bring them into effect in December 2023, subject to Ministerial approval.
BC Plumbing Code
The BC Plumbing Code is a part of the BC Building Code that provides minimum requirements for plumbing installations in buildings to protect health and safety. It is also known as Book II of the BC Building Code.
BC Fire Code
The BC Fire Code is a provincial regulation on fire safety for existing buildings and facilities and includes requirements for when a building is under construction. The Office of the Fire Commissioner is the leader of fire safety awareness and prevention in BC and is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the BC Fire Code.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner website has more information about fire safety and education guidelines, bulletins and position papers. There you will also find a page that addresses Fire Safety for Construction and Demolition Sites.
Find out more about the BC Codes
Codes in B.C. are based on the National Codes of Canada (external link) from Codes Canada, but some changes are made to address specific needs for B.C.
The model National Codes are developed through a consensus-based committee process with representation from all provinces and territories, related industries and the public. B.C. participates in the national code development system.
Local governments have authority to enforce the BC Codes. Check with your local government's building department for info about code enforcement or building permits.
Look up local government contact information (external link)
Each code is organized into three sections
- Division A:
- Outlines the main objectives and functional statements for technical building requirements
- Explains why a requirement must be met and how to evaluate other ways to meet the acceptable requirements through alternative solutions
- Division B:
- Outlines Code provisions or acceptable solutions and notes the specific objectives and functional statements used to explain the purpose of each provision
- Division C:
- Outlines administrative requirements under the code such as providing guidance for alternative solutions to the code
For information on how to participate in the development of codes or to submit a code change request, please visit the National Research Council of Canada (external link).
Our website has links to summaries from recent Codes Canada Public Reviews.
B.C.-specific code changes are open to public review before they are finalized. Information about current or recent B.C.reviews are found on our Public Review page.
The content on this page was updated by the Province of British Columbia on February 9, 2021.