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 (NFC) 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 (BCFC).
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
June 22, 2006 2006 2005 BC Reg. 175/2006
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 2010 National Fire Code of Canada. The 2012 British Columbia Fire Code succeeds the 2006 British Columbia Fire Code.
The British Columbia Fire Code 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 British Columbia Fire Code and they help determine the content.
The British Columbia Fire Code 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 British Columbia Fire Code 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 British Columbia Fire Code while others are incorporated by reference to material or product standards published by standards development organizations.

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 British Columbia Fire Code 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
  • required to be incorporated in a building at the time of its original construction. Building codes typically no longer apply once a building is occupied, unless the building is undergoing alteration or change of use, or being demolished.
The BC Fire Code includes provisions for:
  • the on-going maintenance and use of the fire safety and fire protection features incorporated in buildings
  • the conduct of activities that might cause fire hazards in and around buildings
  • limitations on hazardous contents in and around buildings
  • the establishment of fire safety plans
  • fire safety at construction and demolition sites
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 A, which defines the scope of the Code and contains the objectives, the functional statements and the conditions necessary to achieve compliance;
  • Division B, which contains acceptable solutions (formerly referred to as “technical requirements”) deemed to satisfy the objectives and functional statements listed in Division A. Most of these are carried forward from the 1998 British Columbia Fire Code; and
  • Division C, which contains administrative provisions.
Division B provisions are linked to:
  • one or more objectives (safety, health, fire protection of buildings and facilities) and
  • one or more functional statements (statements on the functions of the building or facility that a particular provision helps to achieve).
In addition, each Code provision is linked to two new types of explanatory material:
  • intent statements (detailed statements on the specific intent of the provision), and
  • application statements (detailed statements on what the provision applies to).
Previous explanatory material found in Appendices will continue to be available.

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:

Change Indication

Where a technical change or addition has been made relative to the 2006 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.

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.
  • Intellectual Property Program
  • PO Box 9412 Stn Prov Govt
  • Victoria, BC V8W 9V1
  • Website: www.cio.gov.bc.ca
  • Email: ipp@mail.qp.gov.bc.ca
  • Phone: (250) 356-1339
The provincial government welcomes comments and suggestions for improvements to the BC Codes. Comments and suggestions can be sent to:
  • Building and Safety Standards Branch
  • Office of Housing and Construction Standards
  • 614 Humboldt Street
  • PO Box 9844 Stn Prov Govt
  • Victoria BC V8W 9T2
  • Email: building.safety@gov.bc.ca
Persons interested in the development of the National Codes, the model document for the British Columbia Codes can contact:
  • The Secretary
  • Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes
  • Institute for Research in Construction
  • National Research Council of Canada
  • Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6
  • Website: www.nationalcodes.nrc.gc.ca