New Sections of the Building Act Come Into Force

Several sections of the Building Act came into force on December 15, 2015. The sections include:

Section 5 – This section specifies that local government building requirements have no legal force to the extent that they relate to a matter covered by a provincial building regulation (such as the BC Building Code). This is a key element of the effort to bring greater consistency to building requirements in B.C.

Section 7 – This section allows local governments to apply for a variation from the building requirements in provincial building regulations such as the BC Building Code.  Under the Act, the building requirements in an approved request for variation would be enacted through a provincial building regulation and not through a local government bylaw.

Section 9 – This section enables the Province to engage or retain technical experts for the review of a request for variation by a local authority or person.

Section 43 – This section states that Section 5 will not apply until two years after it comes into force (i.e., it will not apply until December 15, 2017).

Section 5 has a significant effect on local governments and other local authorities. The Province has advised local governments to review their bylaws and to eliminate any existing building requirements before December 15, 2017, when those requirements will no longer have any legal force.  Until the two-year transition period ends, local governments will continue to be subject to the concurrent authority provisions of the Community Charter with regards to building requirements.

The Building Act website contains further information about these sections and their effects on local governments.  Three new sections of the Building Act guide will be posted online in Spring 2016:

  • Section B1, which explains how local governments and other local authorities are affected by the Act;
  • Section B1 Appendix, which explains what local governments and other local authorities need to know about section 5 and local building requirements; and
  • Section C1 and accompanying application form, which explains how local governments and other local authorities can apply for a variation in their jurisdiction.


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