The Codes

The 2018 editions of the BC Codes have been adopted and came into force on December 10, 2018.

Three codes guide building construction and renovation in B.C.

BC Building Code: Provincial regulation that governs how new construction, building alterations, repairs and demolitions are completed. This code establishes minimum requirements for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings and energy and water efficiency. It applies throughout the province except for some federal lands and the City of Vancouver.

BC Plumbing Code: A part of the BC Building Code that provides minimum requirements for plumbing installations in buildings to protect health and prevent water or sewer damage.

BC Fire Code: Provincial regulation that generally applies to the ongoing use of existing buildings and facilities. It sets minimum requirements for health, safety and fire protection of buildings and facilities. Contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner for information about application of the BC Fire Code.

Each code is organized using the following structure:

  • Division A: Main objectives and functional statements for technical requirements – to help explain why a requirement must be met and how to evaluate alternative solutions
  • Division B: Code provisions or acceptable solutions along with objectives and functional statements to clearly explain the purpose of each provision
  • Division C: Administrative requirements

Get a Copy

Effective August 14, 2019, the online versions of the BC Codes 2018 are available free from Queen's Printer.

Effective August 14, 2019, print versions of the BC Building Code 2018 and the BC Fire Code 2018 are available at new, reduced rates.

Copies of the BC Codes 2018 can also be found at many B.C. public libraries.

For more information about products and print-copy pricing:

Compliance with the Codes

The BC Codes 2018 will be effective December 10, 2018 and will apply to building permits applied for on or after that date.

The BC Building Code 2012 came into effect December 20, 2012 and will apply to building permits applied for up until December 9, 2018.

Existing buildings: Generally speaking, buildings should conform to the version of the BC Building Code in force when they were constructed. Existing buildings are not automatically required to be upgraded when codes change.

The current 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: These buildings may not need to meet building code requirements. Contact your local government for temporary building requirements (external link).

How the Codes are Developed

B.C. participates in the national code development system. Codes in B.C. are based on the National Codes of Canada (external link)  with some changes specific to B.C.

To participate in the development of codes, submit code change requests to the National Research Council of Canada (external link).

The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page:January 8, 2020.