The Codes

The 2018 edition of the BC Building Code, including Book II Plumbing Services, has been adopted and will come into force December 10, 2018. The BC Fire Code is anticipated to be adopted in the fall and effective late in 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

Spring 2018: Regulations Act no longer applies to BC Codes

Under recent amendments to the Building Act, Fire Services Act and Fire Safety Act, the BC Codes and other provincial building regulations are no longer subject to the Regulations Act. 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. These amendments will remove that requirement, and are expected to result in a more streamlined BC Code development process, greater administrative efficiency and more effective use of legislative drafting expertise. 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.

Get a Copy

The online version of the BC Building and Plumbing Code 2018 is available for purchase from Queen's Printer.

The print version of the BC Building Code 2018 is expected at a later date, and code users will be notified when it is available.

Copies of the BC Building  Code 2012 may be available for reference at B.C. public libraries.

For more information about products and pricing:

Compliance with the Codes

The BC Building Code 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 our province are based on the National Codes of Canada (external link) with some modifications specific to B.C. Proceeds from the sale of codes are used to fund further development of the national codes.

The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page: October 12, 2018.