Code Questions

Learn about the BC Building, Plumbing, and Fire Codes and related building matters.

How to Get a Copy

The online version of the BC Building Code 2018 is available for purchase from the 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:

B.C. participates in the national code development system. The 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.

Code Requirements

Accessibility

The BC Building Code 2018 combines the requirements of the National Building Code 2015 with B.C.’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.

Find illustrations and explanations related to accessibility requirements in the  Building Access Handbook (PDF, 3.6MB). A new edition of the Building Access Handbook will be created to assist code users to learn about the new accessibility requirements in the BC Building Code 2018.

Alternative Solutions

'Alternative solution' replaces the term 'equivalency' used in the 1998 BC Building Code. Code users may propose alternative solutions, or alternative ways of meeting BC Building Code requirements. Alternative solutions require local authority approval.

BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code. It came into force in April 2017. It provides an incremental and consistent approach to achieving more energy-efficient buildings that go beyond the requirements of the base BC Building Code. Find more information on the BC Energy Step Code web page.

Bedroom Windows

The BC Building Code requires at least one window suitable for egress in each bedroom within a house or small multi-family residential building. The window opening must be 0.35M2 with no dimension less than 380mm. If the suite is sprinklered, an egress window is not required. 

City of Vancouver Building Bylaw

The BC Building Code does not apply in the City of Vancouver. Vancouver has its own building bylaw.

Existing Buildings

Buildings are required to conform to the version of the BC Building Code in force when they are 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

For matters related to application of the BC Fire Code to existing buildings, please contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner at 1-888-988-9488 or OFC@gov.bc.ca.

Radon

New radon rough-in requirements for protection from soil gases became effective on December 19, 2014. More information on radon requirements is available in Information Bulletin No. B14-07.

Secondary Suites

Information on BC Building Code provisions for secondary suites is available in Information Bulletin No. B13-02.

Temporary Buildings

Some temporary buildings may not need to meet building code requirements. Contact your local government (external link) for information about requirements in your jurisdiction.

Windows and Doors

Information on BC Building Code requirements for windows, doors and skylights is available in Information Bulletin No. B16-01.

Code Interpretations

The BC Building Code Interpretation Committee is a volunteer committee that provides uniform, province-wide, non-binding interpretations of the BC Building Code and the BC Plumbing Code. To submit an interpretation request, read past interpretations, or learn more about the committee please visit their website.

Ask a Code Question

If your question was not answered, please send your question to codequestion@gov.bc.ca.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: September 5, 2018.