House Building Will Never Be the Same in B.C.!

In a Homeowner Protection Office  (Branch of B.C. Housing)  ‘Building Smart’ seminar, speaker Murray Frank of Constructive Home Solutions, outlined some of the changes in the B.C. Building Code (2015).

Some of the highlights  include increased seismic requirements, further emphasis on improved energy performance and better accessibility for the elderly in residential housing.

The big change though is to allow for seismic consideration in new construction. The home has to have new structural details called Braced Wall Bands incorporating Braced Wall Panels  in order to tie the walls together while still allowing for movement in the assembly under earthquake conditions. These details can be somewhat complicated and are a challenge to designers, renovators and building officials alike. All houses with heavy tile roofs and/or concrete floor topping as well as large open concept planning will likely need to include engineering design for seismic protection. If you are interested in the technical side of things, click on the following link for an Illustrated Guide of the Seismic Changes in the new Building Code.


Example Courtesy of National Research Council


More emphasis is being placed on having insulation on the exterior of the wall  to prevent the cold from transferring by conduction through the wall studs.  Air barriers to keep air out of walls are becoming more important and plastic vapour barriers may eventually become a thing of the past, being replaced by specialized interior paint.

Small dimensional changes are now required to help accessibility for the elderly using mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers etc.  Hall sizes and door sizes, ramp and stair sizes need to be adjusted accordingly in the code.

These changes have  been  incorporated in Canada’s National Building Code and the B.C. Code is reflecting those changes as well as others in its latest edition.

Other Links

Canadian Home Builders Association Victoria
National Energy Code of Canada
National Research Council NBC Part 9
Canadian National Building Code
BC Building Code

Supplied Courtesy of Fleetwood Building Inspections