The 2012 British Columbia Building and Plumbing Code (BCBC) is an objective-based code which identifies the minimum standard within the Province of British Columbia for buildings to which this Code applies. Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes (collectively referred to as the 2012 BC Codes) are regularly updated and this edition of the BC Codes succeeds the 2006 edition.
The BC Building and Plumbing Code is a regulation of the Local Government Act and is substantially based on the model National Building Code of Canada 2010 and the model National Plumbing Code of Canada 2010. As they are complementary, both building and plumbing codes have been adopted as one regulation. For ease of production and convenience to some code users, the model structure of two parallel documents has been maintained. The electronic version of the BC Codes (available at contains functionality to identify where BC variations from the National model occur within the text of the BCBC.
The BCBC establishes requirements to address the following five objectives, which are fully described in Division A of the Code:
The BCBC is not a textbook on the design or construction of buildings and facilities, nor is it the only document regulating health and safety. Designing and building in a technically sound manner depends upon many factors beyond simple compliance with building regulations. Such factors include the availability of knowledgeable practitioners who have received appropriate education, training and experience and have some degree of familiarity with the principles of good practice and experience using textbooks, reference manuals and technical guides.
The BCBC does not list any proprietary products. It establishes the criteria that materials, products and assemblies must meet. Some of these criteria are explicitly stated in the BCBC while others are incorporated by reference to material or product standards published by standards development organizations.
Relationship between the BC Building and Plumbing Code and the BC Fire Code
The BC Building and Plumbing Code (BCBC) and BC Fire Code (BCFC) each contain provisions that deal with the safety of persons in buildings in the event of a fire and the protection of buildings from the effects of fire. The BCFC also applies to other types of facilities besides buildings (e.g. tank farms and storage yards).
These codes are developed as complementary and coordinated documents to minimize the possibility of their containing conflicting provisions. It is expected that buildings comply with both the BCBC and the BCFC. The BCBC generally applies at the time of construction and reconstruction while the BCFC applies to the operation and maintenance of the fire-related features of buildings in use.
The scope of each of these Codes with respect to fire safety and fire protection can be summarized as follows:
The BC Building Code covers the fire safety and fire protection features that are
The BC Fire Code includes provisions for:
In addition, the BCFC contains provisions regarding fire safety and fire protection features that must be added to existing buildings when certain hazardous activities or processes are introduced in these buildings.
Some of the BCFC’s provisions are not duplicated directly in the BCBC but are in fact adopted through cross-references to the BCFC. Thus, some BCFC provisions may apply to original construction, alterations, or changes in use.
Numbering System
A consistent numbering system has been used throughout the BCBC. The first number indicates the Part of the Code; the second, the Section in the Part; the third, the Subsection; and the fourth, the Article in the Subsection. The detailed provisions are found at the Sentence level (indicated by numbers in brackets), and Sentences may be broken down into Clauses and Subclauses. This structure is illustrated as follows:
Furthermore, where applicable, Divisions of the Code are identified in two ways:
Change Indication and “Reserved”
As a courtesy to Code users, every effort has been made to identify technical changes or additions relative to the 2006 edition of the Code. In the printed version, these are enclosed by angle brackets wherever practical. The online version of BC Codes ( contains additional functionality with regards to identifying changes from the previous edition. No change indication is provided for renumbered or deleted provisions.
One new feature of the 2012 BC Codes is the inclusion of the term “reserved” in place of certain deleted National model content which has not been adopted. The term “reserved” is generally used so that the numbering structure of the BC Codes is aligned with the model National Codes, easing comparability and possible future harmonization.
Intent and Application Statements
The intent statements pertaining to the 2010 National Fire, Building and Plumbing Codes are available, free of charge, on the national codes website at The application statements for the 2010 National Building, Fire and Plumbing Codes have not been updated as the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes discontinued their publication. In view of these developments at the national level, the 2012 BC Codes will not include application statements. As the substantive part of BC Codes are exactly as produced within the National model Codes, users may consult the national website if they wish to access intent statements.
Metric Conversion
All values in the BCBC are given in metric units. A conversion table of imperial equivalents for the most common units used in building design and construction is located at the end of the Code.
Acknowledgements and Copyright
Copyright 2012 Province of British Columbia (portions)
Copyright 2012 National Research Council (portions)
All rights reserved. This Publication contains material that is copyrighted by the National Research Council of Canada and reproduced herein under a license agreement. This Publication also contains material that is copyrighted by the Province of British Columbia. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the Province of British Columbia and the National Research Council. For more information, please contact the Intellectual Property Program for British Columbia.
The provincial government welcomes comments and suggestions for improvements to the BC Codes. Comments and suggestions can be sent to:
Persons interested in the development of the National Codes, the model document for the British Columbia Codes can contact: