Building codes are a set of rules that set the minimum standard to which a new home or building can be constructed. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health and safety, and to ensure that homes and buildings meet efficiency standards in relation to energy and water use. In Canada, jurisdiction over building codes is a provincial responsibility.
To make the building code development process more consistent and efficient, the provinces and other industry and public stakeholders work collaboratively through the Canadian Code Centre (part of the National Research Council of Canada) to develop the National Building Code of Canada (NBC). This national code is then adopted, with or without changes to reflect regions influences, by each province and territory and becomes their building code – which builders must meet. A few cities in Canada, including Vancouver, have historic rights to develop their own codes, but most are obligated to apply the current provincial code.
Because house building technology and systems are constantly changing, building codes play an important role in ensuring that new innovations and building techniques can come into use, and that these are applied safely by the industry. To this end, a new edition of the NBC is published every five years.
Prior to them being made available publicly at no cost, the SRHBA provided copies of the code to members. Digital copies of the code are now available for free download via the Government of Canada website, linked below.