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B.C. Building Code Changes – Effective December 19th & 20th, 2014

Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Limiting Distance of Buildings Relative to Fire Department Response Time

An important change in the 2012 B.C. Building Code, effective December 20th, 2014, will have an impact on new housing construction located within the Regional District of North Okanagan, including the Member Municipalities. Buildings that are proposed to be constructed in areas that are located outside of a 10 minute fire response area from local Fire Departments will be subject to increased building setback requirements. New construction may effectively be distanced from property boundaries, and from other buildings located on the property, more than distances usually associated with Zoning Bylaw setback regulations.

The new Limiting Distance and Spatial Separation regulations will primarily impact proposed construction on smaller residential or commercial zoned lots. Construction located in close proximity to property boundaries will see the greatest impact, particularly where construction setback from sideyards have typically allowed construction to occur in close quarters. Where construction is proposed to occur contrary to the new regulations, options for compliance will be available through the limitation of, or complete elimination of, all unprotected openings (windows) in the wall assembly, in conjunction with increased fire resistance ratings of the wall assembly. Sprinklering of buildings will also be an available option for compliance.

For residential construction, the relevant Sections of the B.C. Building Code are as follows:

9.10.15.3. Limiting Distance and Fire Department Response
9.10.15.4. Glazed Openings in Exposing Building Face
9.10.15.5. Construction of Exposing Building Face of Houses

These sections of the B.C. Building Code should be reviewed in their entirety for a more comprehensive understanding. It is strongly encouraged that Designers, Contractors and Owner/Builders consider this new limitation in their building designs in order to minimize non-compliant design and construction.

For more information on this new regulation, please contact the RDNO Building Inspection Department at (250) 550-3700. These new regulations will not affect Building Permit applications received prior to December 20, 2014.

Energy Efficiency Requirements for Dwellings

Another important change in the 2012 B.C. Building Code, effective December 19th, 2014, will be new requirements for increased energy performance for all new housing constructed within the Regional District, again including Member Municipalities. New building construction must address the requirements of Section 9.36 (Energy Efficiency) of the Building Code. These changes will require additional information at time of permit application. Upon submission it will be necessary to outline:

  • Proposed heating/cooling systems
  • Building ventilation as per 9.32 (is a heat recovery ventilator being used HRV)
  • Location and type of air barrier and vapour barrier
  • Detailed wall/ceiling/floor assemblies including Effective Insulation Values of all components
  • “U” ratings of proposed windows and doors

Previously the Building Code has relied on nominal insulation values when considering building insulation. Section 9.36 will change this requirement to Effective Thermal Resistance (ETR). Building Permit applicants will be required to provide a rating for the entire cross-section of the wall/floor/ceiling assemblies in RSI or R values. Each component of an assembly carries a rating (information on “Thermal Resistance Values of Common Building Materials” will be made available with Building Permit Applications).

There are three available options that can be used to attain the necessary compliance, as per the following:

  • Applicants can follow the prescriptive requirements of Section 9.36,
  • Applicants can follow the prescriptive requirements of Section 9.36 and use simple tradeoffs as outlined in Article 9.36.2.11 or,
  • Applicants can supply performance modeling completed by a Certified Energy Advisor (CEA). A list of Certified Energy Advisors is available on the Canadian Home Builders Association website accessible at http://www.chbabc.org/energy-programs/certified-energy-advisors.html

The following tables should aid designers, builders, owners and other parties with achieving compliance with the new Energy Efficiency requirements. These tables are not intended to address all possible construction assemblies. It is intended to act as a guideline and it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure full compliance with all BCBC requirements. Additional information can also be obtained from the Canadian Wood Council website.

The required ETR ratings from the Building Code for Zone 5, which includes the Regional District of North Okanagan and Member Municipalities, are as follows:

 

Buildings without a Heat-Recovery Ventilator   Buildings with a Heat-Recovery Ventilator
Assembly RSI R   Assembly RSI R
Ceilings below attics 8.67 49.23   Ceilings below attics 6.91 39.23
Cathedral ceilings and flat roofs 4.67 26.52   Cathedral ceilings and flat roofs 4.67 26.52
Walls 3.08 17.49   Walls 2.97 16.86
Floors over unheated spaces 4.67 26.52   Floors over unheated spaces 4.67 26.52
Foundation walls* 2.98 16.92   Foundation walls 2.98 16.92
Unheated floors**   Unheated floors
below frost line Uninsulated Uninsulated   below frost line Uninsulated Uninsulated
above frost line 1.96 11.13   above frost line 1.96 11.13
Heated floors 2.32 13.17   Heated floors 2.32 13.17
Slabs-on-grade with an
integral footing
1.96 11.13   Slabs-on-grade with an
integral footing
1.96 11.13

 

*This is a substantial increase from current foundation insulation requirements. Also, installation of foundation insulation has also changed.
**Where an unheated floor assembly falls into both categories the entire floor shall be insulated as required for above frost line.


The RDNO Building Inspection Department will require that all new applications for dwellings, as well as applications for dwelling additions and substantial dwelling renovations, demonstrate compliance to the new Energy Efficiency regulations. Confirmation of compliance by way of an analysis of the all construction assemblies (ie: wall assemblies, roof assemblies, floor assemblies and foundation constructions) will be required, along with detailed information of proposed heating, air conditioning and ventilation appliances.

For more information on this new regulation, please contact the RDNO Building Inspection Department at (250) 550-3700. These new regulations will not affect Building Permit applications received prior to December 19, 2014.