National Model Codes in Canada
On behalf of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) the National Research Council (NRC) Codes Canada publishes national model codes documents that set out minimum requirements relating to their scope and objectives. These include the National Building Code (NBC), the National Fire Code (NFC), the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB), the National Plumbing Code (NPC) and other documents. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) publishes other model codes that address electrical, gas and elevator systems.
The NBC is the model building code in Canada that forms the basis of most building design in the country. The NBC is a highly regarded model building code because it is a consensus-based process for producing a model set of requirements which provide for the health and safety of the public in buildings. Its origins are deeply entrenched within Canadian history and culture and a need to house the growing population of Canada safely and economically. Historical events have shaped many of the health and safety requirements of the NBC.
Model codes such as the NBC and NECB have no force in law until they are adopted by a government authority having jurisdiction. In Canada, that responsibility resides within the provinces, territories and in some cases, municipalities. Most regions choose to adopt the NBC, or adapt their own version derived from the NBC to suit regional needs.
The model codes in Canada are developed by experts, for experts, through a collaborative and consensus-based process that includes input from all segments of the building community. The Canadian model codes build on the best expertise from across Canada and around the world to provide effective building and safety regulations that are harmonized across Canada.
The Codes Canada publications are developed by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC). The CCBFC oversees the work of a number of technical standing committees. Representing all major facets of the construction industry, commission members include building and fire officials, architects, engineers, contractors and building owners, as well as members of the public. Canadian Wood Council representatives hold membership status on several of the standing committees and task groups acting under the CCBFC and participate actively in the technical updates and revisions related to aspects of the Canadian model codes that apply to wood building products and systems.
During any five-year code-revision cycle, there are many opportunities for the Canadian public to contribute to the process. At least twice during the five-year cycle, proposed changes to the Code are published and the public is invited to comment. This procedure is crucial as it allows input from all those concerned and broadens the scope of expertise of the Committees. Thousands of comments are received and examined by the Committees during each cycle. A proposed change may be approved as written, modified and resubmitted for public review at a later date, or rejected entirely.
For further information, refer to the following resources:
Fire Safety Design in Buildings (Canadian Wood Council)
Codes Canada – National Research Council of Canada
National Building Code of Canada