The Province has introduced a new Building Act to establish more consistent building requirements throughout B.C.
The construction sector has been asking for a standard approach for years as differing building requirements between jurisdictions can slow development and add costs. With a more streamlined and modern building regulatory system, the act would reduce costs and improve efficiency, productivity and innovation in the construction sector.
The Building Act proposes to:
- Streamline Building Requirements - ensuring building requirements are the same throughout B.C. by establishing the Province as the sole authority to create building requirements.
- Establish Mandatory Qualifications for Local Building Officials - improving the interpretation, application and enforcement of the BC Building Code by making sure building officials have standard qualifications.
- Expand Provincial Review - furthering the Province’s ability to review innovative building proposals (such as the Wood Innovation Design Centre in Prince George).
The Building Act amendments are based on extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders. Should the act be passed, a two-to-four-year transition period will give local governments and building officials time to adapt to the new provisions.
Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing -
“The Building Act balances the consistency the construction sector desires with the flexibility local governments need and paves the way for greater innovation. Streamlining building requirements will also help reduce construction costs and improve housing affordability.”
Anne McMullin, president and CEO of Urban Development Institute -
“We are pleased to see the B.C. government adopt a more modern approach to building regulations. Building requirements across B.C. are currently far from consistent and often complicate construction and increase costs. This new act will give builders and developers the certainty they need to move forward with projects.”
Manjit S. Sohi, president of the Building Officials’ Association of BC -
“Whether it’s reviewing plans or buildings under construction or issuing permits, building officials play a key role in monitoring Building Code compliance. Establishing mandatory qualifications will help increase the professionalism of building officials and support a more consistent interpretation of the BC Building Code.”
- The Building Act is not about new or different building codes. It’s about streamlining how the existing code is used.
- The B.C. government has been working toward modernizing the building regulatory system since 2004.
- Having a stand-alone act for building construction is common in Canada. Eight other provinces have legislation similar to B.C.’s proposed Building Act.
- Building requirements are technical methods, materials and processes for the construction, repair, and demolition of buildings. They are set by provincial building regulations, primarily the BC Building Code.
- The construction sector is an important contributor to B.C.’s diverse economy. In 2013, the construction sector generated $9.6 billion in provincial gross domestic product and employed more than 110,000 people.
Building Act: www.leg.bc.ca/40th4th/1st_read/index.htm
Ministry of Natural Gas Development
and Responsible for Housing