Building Act

The Building Act is new legislation passed in spring 2015.

NEW Spring, 2018: Regulations Act no longer applies to building regulations made under Building Act section 3

The minister may make building regulations, such as the BC Building and Plumbing Code, under section 3 of the Building Act. This section has been amended to state that the Regulations Act no longer applies to building regulations.

The BC Codes are largely based on the National Codes of Canada, with a small proportion of variations that are specific to B.C.  Application of the Regulations Act required legislative drafters in the Office of Legislative Counsel to examine the model National Codes to integrate and draft the BC variations. This process occupied a considerable amount of drafter time but provided little benefit, given the limited opportunities to improve the highly technical content from a legal perspective. It also lengthened the timeframe for publishing new editions and revisions to the BC Codes.

The amendment is expected to result in a more streamlined BC Code development process, greater administrative efficiency and more effective use of legislative drafting expertise. Drafters will continue to be available for consultation as needed. Because the Regulations Act’s publication requirement will no longer apply, the amendment includes an express requirement that a notice of any new enactments or amendments to building regulations must be published in Part 1 of the Gazette.

Learn more about the amendment

  • Read Part 3 of Bill 7 on the Legislative Assembly website
  • Read section 3 of the Building Act - BC Laws version (shows sections in effect)

What is it? The Building Act is B.C.'s first act dedicated to building and construction - it's designed to modernize and streamline the building regulatory system.

What are the main changes under the Act?

  • Consistency - establishes the Province as the sole authority to set building requirements (that is, technical requirements for the construction, alteration, repair, and demolition of buildings) - the objective is to create more consistent building requirements across B.C., while still providing local governments with flexibility to meet their needs
  • Competency - establishes qualification requirements for building officials to improve consistency in how the BC Building Code is interpreted, applied, and enforced
  • Innovation - supports local governments and other local authorities through the implementation of a provincial review process to evaluate innovative building proposals

Where does it apply? It applies in all parts of the province except the City of Vancouver and federal lands and reserves.

Who's affected? Directly or indirectly, everyone involved in the building construction sector but especially local governments, building officials, developers, and builders.

When does it take effect? The Act will be brought into force over time. Some sections are in effect now. The anticipated timeline for the main changes is as follows:

Change Description Timeline

Consistency: Limits local government authority to set building requirements

If local governments have any existing building requirements in their bylaws, those requirements will have no legal force after the two-year transition period has ended. To avoid confusion for the construction sector, the Province encourages local governments to amend their bylaws to eliminate such requirements.

Two-year transition period for section 5 of the Building Act started December 15, 2015 and ends December 15, 2017

Competency: Qualification requirements for building officials New provincial qualification requirements include exams, continuing professional development, and being listed in the register of qualified building officials. Four-year transition period for building official qualifications started February 28, 2017 and ends February 28, 2021

Innovation: Provincial evaluation of innovative building proposals

The Province will establish a review process to accept and evaluate innovative building proposals received from individuals.

As part of support for innovation, the Building Code Appeal Board will hear more complex appeals.

No transition periods for these changes

Innovative proposal submissions not anticipated to be accepted before 2017

Review of complex appeals by the Building Code Appeal Board not anticipated to start before 2017

The Building Act Guide has further details about these changes.

What's in effect now? Fundamental sections of the Act came into effect September 18, 2015. Consistency sections of the Act came into effect December 15, 2015. Two regulations and cost recovery sections came into effect June 10, 2016. Competency sections of the Act came into effect February 28, 2017, along with amendments to two regulations. Further updates will be posted online as regulations are finalized and other sections of the Act come into effect.

For More Information

Regulations that support the Building Act are in development. Outstanding questions that aren’t answered here or in the Building Act Guide will be addressed as the regulations are completed over the coming months.  

The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page: April 24, 2018.