The province has adopted the 2018 edition of the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC). The 2018 BCBC is effective December 10th, 2018 and applies to building permits applied for on or after that date. Buildings with permits in place under the current code (BCBC 2012) will not be affected by the new code.

Mechanically, the most significant change is the adoption of ASHRAE 90.1-2016. ASHRAE 90.1 is the energy standard for buildings (except low-rise residential). Currently, the 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 is adopted by the BCBC 2012. The lesser used Canadian energy standard, National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) 2015 is also adopted.

Why the change? The federal government has a goal for requiring net-zero energy ready buildings by 2030.  BC’s adoption of more stringent energy codes aligns with the national building code.

What’s the difference in energy? It’s estimated that the relative energy savings between the 2010 and 2016 versions of ASHRAE 90.1 is approximately 14%. This will significantly close the energy gap between the current BCBC 2012 and 2015 National Building Code.

What’s it going to cost? Studies prepared by Natural Resources Canada indicate that an upfront premium of $3 per square foot will likely be required.

From a plumbing standpoint, the biggest change is the reduction in fixture flow rates. This is summarized in the below table:


Private Lavatory Supply: Reduced from 8.3 to 5.7
Public Lavatory Supply: Reduced from 8.3 to 1.9
Kitchen Supply: Unchanged at 8.3
Shower Head: Reduced from 9.5 to 7.6

In addition, public lavatories and showers will now require automatic shut-off. For example, public washrooms will now require sensor or spring-loaded faucets.

In our next newsletter, we will review specific changes in ASHRAE 90.1-2016 and how it will affect future construction projects.

For more information, please contact BC Comfort.