After several on again, off again proposed release dates, the BC provincial government has adopted the 2012 editions of the BC Building Code, BC Plumbing Code and BC Fire Code (BC Codes), with an effective date of December 20, 2012.

According to an information bulletin from the B.C. government, if a permit is applied for prior to December 20, 2012, the 2006 edition of the BC Codes will apply. Conversely, permits applied for after midnight of December 19, 2012 will be bound by the 2012 BC Codes.

The new versions of all BC Codes are available, but the print versions will not be available until mid-December… There’s a pretty steep learning curve if you want to wait for your print copy but the good news is that along with the print codes, one has access to the online version for one year. Needless to say, my focal length is now firmly fixed on the distance from my chair to my monitor! 

So what’s new in the codes?

Major changes include:

– lateral load (seismic/earthquake) design requirements for residential home construction (illustrated seismic guide is available through the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) at

As a BC Distributor dealing with coaching regarding the appropriateness of a plan for the build location, this is the greatest area of impact and/or concern. Although affecting a small geographic area of BC (about 2/3 of Vancouver Island and a pie-shaped area of the Lower Mainland spanning from just south of Powell River to Chilliwack… see map on page 4 of the HPO Guide to the Seismic Design of Houses) a careful eye will have to look at plans prior to ordering to assess whether changes may be required to conform to the build location. 

We have attended HPO workshops on this topic and have been pouring through the code to prepare for issues and/or questions from our B.C. clients. The good news is that we will be able to field your questions and actually invite them.

Further notable changes in the BC Building Codes include:

– requirement to consider radon soil gas mitigation (where applicable)

– new classification for assisted living facilities 

There are also numerous small changes in the building code but we will be involved in further information sessions to see how this will affect you, the homeowner.

The implementation timeline of the new codes is extremely tight but thankfully by the time we are into the full 2013 building season, we should be amply prepared. The permit departments may be another issue…

If you are wishing to secure a copy of the revised BC Building Codes, visit for more information.