B.C. adopts 2024 Building and Fire Codes
By Adam FreillConstruction Health & Safety
Province says new code will make buildings safer, more accessible and resilient to climate change.
British Columbia has adopted the British Columbia Building and Fire Codes (B.C. Codes 2024), which is says will provide people with a greater level of building safety and and also make new buildings more sustainable, resilient and accessible.
“As we take historic steps to build more homes for people faster, we are also taking action to make sure homes are safe, accessible and more resilient to climate change,” said Ravi Kahlon, the province’s minister of housing. “We have to find ways to innovate and build differently. Over the next year, the province will lead a discussion on enabling single-egress stairs in the B.C. Building Code.”
Key updates to the building code will now require all new buildings to provide one living space that is designed not to exceed 26 C; have power-operated doors in all building entrances and universal washrooms; and have an elevator in all large two- and three-storey apartment buildings.
Additional updates to the building code focus on accessibility, mass-timber construction and radon safety.
“We have seen evidence of extreme weather impacting our province and warmer temperatures because of climate change,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “We need to find ways to protect people in B.C., especially those most at risk from being impacted by extreme heat, to have the supports they need to be safe. These adjustments to the B.C. Building Code are one measure that will help to ensure people in shared spaces have somewhere they can go to on hot days to stay cool and be better protected from hot weather.”
Most updates to the building code will come into effect provincewide on March 8, 2024. The implementation window will allow construction and housing-industry professionals more time to review the changes and complete any necessary training. It will also allow an easier transition for housing projects underway.
The province is deferring the effective date on changes impacting adaptable dwellings and earthquake-design to March 10, 2025, to provide a one-year transition period.
“Eliminating barriers to accessibility is a core motive in our efforts to making our province a safe and barrier-free place to live in,” said Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “We are taking action on what we’ve heard in our engagements with British Columbians, especially people living with disabilities. That is why we are updating the standards in our building code to support everyone in their day-to-day activities.”
The code changes include updates to Plumbing Systems Book II and adoption of the National Fire Code 2020 as the B.C. Fire Code. The B.C. Building Code applies across the province, except on some federal lands and in the City of Vancouver, which has its own building bylaw.