BC Codes 2018
BC Codes 2024 take effect March 8, 2024, except for adaptable dwellings and earthquake changes which take effect March 10, 2025. Learn more.
BC Codes 2018 are based on the 2015 National Codes and include BC-specific amendments. BC Codes 2018 came into effect December 10, 2018 with subsequent revisions.
On this page:
- Original BC Building Code 2018 effective December 10, 2018
- BC Fire Code 2018 effective December 10, 2018
- Revision 1 effective December 12, 2019
Free Online Codes
National Code changes incorporated into BC Building Code 2018 include:
- Updates to airborne sound transmission ratings
- Revised seismic design and climatic data
- Updates to stairs, ramps, handrails and guards, including an increase to the run dimensions for residential dwellings
The BC Building Code 2018 applies to building permits issued between December 10, 2018 and December 11, 2019.
- BC Building Code 2018 (external link)
- 2018 BC Building Code technical bulletin B18-04 (PDF)
- List of BC Code Revisions (PDF 1.4MB)
- Ministerial Order adopting the BC Building Code 2018 (PDF)
- Technical bulletins
Summary of 2018 building code changes
The BC Building Code 2018 combines the requirements of the National Building Code 2015 with BC’s existing requirements to achieve a higher level of building accessibility. New requirements help improve accessibility in small retail shops, and common areas of condominium and apartment buildings, as well as allow greater flexibility in design choices. More information on this update can be found in technical bulletin B18-05 (PDF).
The BC Building Code 2018 clarifies the language explaining requirements for fire protection between adjacent residential and small buildings in Part 9 and better aligns with the language and intent of fire protection, occupant safety, and accessibility requirements in Part 3.
The BC Building Code 2018 does not include direct references to asbestos containing products, due to the potential risk to the health and safety of building occupants.
The BC Building Code 2018 references new building energy efficiency codes and standards. Some of the changes include: enhanced requirements for roofs, walls and fenestration; additional controls for lighting to reduce energy use; and new efficiency and rating requirements for some mechanical systems. New buildings meeting these requirements will improve their energy performance, and the new requirements contribute to the Province’s goal of requiring net-zero energy ready buildings in the BC Building Code by 2032.
The BC Building Code 2018 will retain the existing reference standards for exit signs, rather than adopting the National Building Code 2015 requirement.
The BC Building Code 2018 clarifies requirements related to the Procedure for Factory Certification of Buildings to support enforcement practices.
The BC Building Code 2018 references the 2011 edition of the North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors, and Skylights (NAFS) and the 2017 edition of the Canadian Supplement to NAFS.
The table of alternate compliance methods for heritage buildings is unique to B.C. and differs from the National Building Code 2015. The BC Building Code 2018 includes an updated table, with editorial corrections and updates to code sentence references.
Following consultations with industry stakeholders and based on extensive research and evaluation, the BC Building Code 2018 has adopted the National Building Code 2015 provision for mid-rise combustible buildings with a variation specific to BC. The variation will require 100 percent of the exterior cladding to have increased fire protection and 10 percent of a building’s perimeter to be located within 15 meters of a street or streets. More information on this update can be found in technical bulletin B18-06 (PDF).
Energy Efficiency of Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixture efficiency requirements have been relocated from the BC Building Code to the BC Plumbing Code Book II. In addition, new requirements have been adopted from the National Plumbing Code 2015.
Radon protection requirements have been updated to defer to the data established by the authority having jurisdiction (local government) and, in the absence of such data, to the revised table in the BC Building Code 2018.
Important changes have been made to stair requirements to improve safety and accessibility for all users. The BC Building Code 2018 does not include permissions adopted in the National Building Code 2015 for dimensions of tapered treads and spiral stairs within a dwelling unit. In addition, the redundant requirement for two handrails on a curved stair has been deleted.
Revision 1 applies to building permits dated between December 10, 2018 to December 11, 2019. It changed the BC Energy Step Code metrics and radon requirements.
- Ministerial Order adopting BC Building Code Revision 1 changes (PDF)
- Revision 1 changes to the BC Building Code 2018 (PDF)
- BC Building Code Revision Package 1.01 (PDF, external link)
Revision 2 applies to building permits dated between December 12, 2019 to April 29, 2020.
Revision 2 documents:
- Ministerial Order adopting BC Building Code Revision 2 (PDF)
- Revision 2 changes to BC Building Code 2018 (PDF 3.25MB)
- BC Building Code Revision Package 2.01 (PDF, external link)
Summary of Revision 2 changes
Revision 2 includes changes to the BC Energy Step Code requirements for Part 9 residential buildings, Part 3 buildings outside climate zone 4, and Part 3 public sector buildings. More information is available on the BC Energy Step Code website.
Recent carbon monoxide related incidents highlighted the need for carbon monoxide detectors or alarms in occupancies in addition to residential buildings. New requirements for stores, offices, and assembly buildings such as classrooms and recreational facilities will notify commercial building occupants when there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, to support safe evacuation.
Revision 2 applies the same public area and service room lighting requirements for rooms used for the storage of combustible refuse. Buildings are increasingly designed with common rooms where recyclable materials are stored. Adequate lighting is required to identify and avoid hazards and provide an acceptable level of safety for all users.
Additional requirements for fire alarms and exits are adopted to increase safety for people occupying and leaving roof-top areas.
Changes to secondary suite requirements harmonize the BC Code with the form and approach of the National Building Code to enable the construction of more secondary suites while maintaining an appropriate level of safety.
Early adoption of the National Building Code requirements for encapsulated mass timber enable the construction of 12-storey tall wood buildings in specific jurisdictions. For more information visit the tall wood initiative web page.
Revision 3 applies to building permits dated between April 30 and September 20, 2020. It adopts the 2016 edition of the CSA Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (external link).
Revision 3 changes:
- Ministerial Order adopting BC Building Code Revision 3 (PDF)
- BC Building Code Revision Package 3.01 (PDF, external link)
Revision 4 applies to building permits dated between September 21, 2020 to April 30, 2023. It enabled more communities to build encapsulated mass timber buildings.
Revision 5 applies to building permits dated between May 1, 2022 to March 8, 2023. It revised the BC Energy Step Code and introduced the Zero Carbon Step Code.
- Signed Ministerial Order No. M40 (PDF) changed the unrestricted matters for local governments, enabling enforcement of the Zero Carbon Step Code
- Ministerial Order BA 2023 08 (PDF) introduced new technical requirements for the Energy and Zero Carbon Step Code
- Read the convenience copy of the code changes (PDF for information only)
National Code changes that were adopted into the BC Fire Code 2018 include
- More construction site fire safety requirements for mid-rise combustible buildings
- Updates to hot works activities and final inspections
- Harmonized dangerous goods classification system
- New referenced standards for reusing and refurbishing storage tanks
The BC Fire Code 2018 applies to building permits applied for on or after December 10, 2018.
Details on the BC Fire Code 2018:
- BC Fire Code 2018 (external link)
- 2018 BC Fire Code technical bulletin B18-07 (PDF)
- Ministerial Order adopting the BC Fire Code 2018 (PDF)
- Access all BC Fire Code 2018 technical bulletins
Summary of 2018 fire code changes
The BC Fire Code 2018 includes changes to clarify that code requirements for fire alarms, standpipes, and sprinkler systems are not intended to retroactively apply to existing buildings. New language explains that existing fire protection systems that provide an acceptable level of safety are not required to be upgraded with each new edition of the BC Building and/or BC Fire Code.
The BC Fire Code 2018 adopted new language to clarify that there is no requirement in the BC Fire Code to remove and replace existing exit signs that comply with previous editions of the code. In addition, code language has been changed to reflect the intent that requirements for emergency lighting and exit signs apply in all means of egress, not only exits.
Use of Elevators in Emergency
The BC Fire Code did not adopt the new National Fire Code provisions and retains the requirement to post a fire safety sign or symbol indicating that the elevator is not to be used in an emergency.
Revision 1 changes apply effective December 12, 2019. They include new requirements for encapsulated mass timber construction sites for the Tall Wood Jurisdiction Specific Regulation.
Learn about what has changed
- Ministerial Order adopting BC Fire Code Revision 1 (PDF)
- BC Fire Code List of Revisions (PDF)
- BC Fire Code Revision Package 1.01 (PDF, external link)
Updated: December 6, 2023