Provincial Consistency

The Building Act brings greater consistency to the technical building requirements across B.C. The Building Act gives the Province sole power to set technical building requirements. In certain circumstances, the Province has provided local governments with the authority to set building requirements to meet local needs.

On this page:

Building requirements

Technical building requirements are requirements for the construction, alteration, repair and demolition of buildings. A technical building requirement can define the methods, materials, products, assemblies, or dimensions to be used or the performance to be achieved when building. Technical building requirements can be found in the BC Building Code and in other provincial building regulations.

If a matter is addressed by the BC Building Code or other provincial building regulation, then a technical building requirement for that matter in any local government bylaw has no legal force. The only exception is if a matter is unrestricted by regulation.

While respecting provincial consistency in technical building requirements, the Building Act still provides flexibility for local governments to set technical building requirements to meet local needs. There are three ways local governments can do this

  • Set local building requirements for matters that have been identified as unrestricted in the Building Act General Regulation
  • Ask the Province to create regulation authorizing a local government variation that differs from the BC Building Code
  • Request a change to the BC Building Code. This type of requirement is most appropriate if the change would have widespread applicability across the province

Local governments can establish local building requirements by bylaw for these unrestricted matters

  • Parking stalls for persons with disabilities
  • Design of access routes for fire department vehicles
  • Water supply for firefighting of specified buildings
  • Heritage value or character of a heritage building
  • Certain authorities under the Local Government Act for development permit areas
  • District energy systems
  • Sound transmission from outside of a building
  • Radio repeater systems for emergency communications
  • Water meters connecting to a public water system
  • Specified plumbing connections on sites with constraints or where the servicing is shared
  • Certain aspects of building design regarding the storage and collection of solid waste
  • Fire sprinklers and sprinkler systems, building accessibility and adaptable dwelling units provided the local building requirements were adopted by bylaw by December 15, 2017, and those technical requirements have not since been amended with respect to the matter
  • Implementation of the BC Energy Step Code as set out in Article or of Division B of the BC Building Code

More information on unrestricted matters can be found in the Building Act General Regulation (external link).


For local governments

There are four steps in the application process

  1. Review the Application Guide (PDF) and complete the
    Application to Request a Local Authority Variation (WORD)
  2. Gather supporting information for your application such as a research report
  3. Email your completed application and supporting documents with the subject
    'Local Authority Variation Request'
  4. Record the application number you receive from us for future reference. You should receive a confirmation receipt within 10 days

Information for applying for a Local Authority Variation

Yes, this is called a joint application. Two or more local authorities can work together and submit a joint application. Local governments are encourage to explore this with other local authorities before applying on their own. One applicant will need to be the primary applicant.


How can a local government inform other local governments about a proposed variation?

If you are a local authority that is interested in submitting a variation, you have the option of getting your summary posted on this website if it moves to a full review. This allows other local authorities to contact you if they are interested in joining in on the variation request.



More information 

 ​Page last updated: September 15, 2021.