History of British Columbia Fire Code

The first British Columbia Fire Code Regulation was implemented on October 16, 1980.

This first edition adopted the 1977 National Fire Code of Canada with a schedule of amendments unique to British Columbia.

The subsequent editions of the British Columbia Fire Codes have followed similar adoption and development process. Presently, all British Columbia variations to the National Fire Code of Canada are incorporated into the British Columbia Fire Code.

Date Deposited BCFC Edition NFC Edition Reg Number
October 20, 1980 1980 1977 BC Reg. 465/80
January 23, 1987 1985 1985 BC Reg. 15/87
October 16, 1992 1992 1990 BC Reg. 403/92
August 04, 1998 1998 1995 BC Reg. 285/98

NOTE: This table does not include regulations that implemented errata or revisions. The dates indicated are for convenience only and the Province of British Columbia disclaims all responsibility for accuracy of the information.


The British Columbia Fire Code (BCFC) sets out technical provisions regulating:

The BC Fire Code is a regulation of the Fire Services Act, and is based on the model 2005 National Fire Code of Canada. The 2006 BCFC succeeds the 1998 British Columbia Fire Code.

The BCFC addresses the following three broad objectives:

Code provisions do not necessarily address all the characteristics of buildings and facilities that might be considered to have a bearing on the Code's objectives.

Fire code users are involved in the development of the BCFC and they help determine the content.

The BCFC is not a textbook on the operation, maintenance, protection, design or construction of buildings and facilities. Executing these activities in a technically sound manner depends upon many factors beyond simple compliance with fire 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 BCFC does not list acceptable proprietary products. It establishes the criteria that materials, products and assemblies must meet. Some of these criteria are explicitly stated in the BCFC while others are incorporated by reference to material or product standards published by standards development organizations.

Guidelines for requesting changes to the BCFC are available on the Internet at www.housing.gov.bc.ca/building/. Printed copies of the guidelines may also be requested from the Building Policy Branch, whose address is provided at the end of this Introduction.

Relationship between the BC Building Code and the BC Fire Code

The BC Building 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.

Objective-Based Code Format

The BC Fire Code (BCFC) is published in an objective-based code format for the first time in the 2006 edition. The objective-based code format organizes the BCFC into three Divisions:

Division B provisions are linked to:

In addition, each Code provision is linked to two new types of explanatory material:

Previous explanatory material found in Appendices will continue to be available.

A complete description of the objective-based code structure is available on the Building Policy Branch website (www.housing.gov.bc.ca/building/).

Additional Information

Numbering System

A consistent numbering system has been used throughout the BC Fire Code. 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:

3 Part
3.5. Section
3.5.2. Subsection Article Sentence Clause Subclause

Change Indication

Where a technical change or addition has been made relative to the 1998 edition, angle brackets enclose the chapter or addition. No change indication has been provided in cases where provisions have been renumbered or deleted.

Metric Conversion

All values in the BCFC 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 document.

Commercial Rights to Reproduce the BC Fire Code

Copyright in the BC Fire Code is owned by the Queen’s Printer of British Columbia. All rights are reserved.

This publication contains material that is copyrighted by the National Research Council Canada and reproduced herein under a license agreement. The National Research Council Canada makes no representations, warranties or conditions, statutory or otherwise as to the accuracy or completeness of its copyright material, including the opinions expressed therein, or its suitability for any user’s requirements.

Request for permission to reproduce the BC Fire Code must be sent to ipp@mail.qp.gov.bc.ca, or to the following address:

Contact Information

The provincial government welcomes comments and suggestions for improvements to the BC Fire Code. Persons interested in requesting a change to a technical provision of the BCFC should refer to www.housing.gov.bc.ca/building/, where additional information is also presented.

Comments, suggestions and requests for printed copies of Internet material referred to in this introduction should be sent to:

Persons interested in the development of the National Fire Code, the model document for the British Columbia Fire Code can contact:

On the Internet at www.nationalcodes.ca