What is the Building Code?

The B.C. Building Code is a regulation made under the Municipal Act. It is based, in large measure, on the National Building Code of Canada. The code is essentially a set of minimum provisions respecting the safety of buildings with reference to public health, fire protection and structural sufficiency. It is not intended to be a textbook on building design, advice on which should be sought from qualified sources. Its primary purpose is the promotion of public safety through the application of appropriate uniform building standards.

Does the Building Code Recognize Heritage Buildings?

Yes it does. The B.C. Building Code defines heritage buildings as the following:

Heritage buildings are buildings that are legally recognized by the Province or local government as having historic, architectural or cultural value for the Province or their communities.

To qualify as a heritage building under the Building Code, a building must be:

  1. Protected as a heritage property by the Province under the Heritage Conservation Act;
  2. Identified by Order-in-Council as a park, monument or historic site by a regulation made under the Municipal Act;
  3. Subject to a heritage designation bylaw pursuant to the Municipal Act or Vancouver Charter;
  4. Protected as heritage property in a heritage revitalization agreement pursuant to the Municipal Act or Vancouver Charter;
  5. Identified by local government as heritage property in an official community plan, rural land-use bylaw or a heritage conservation area bylaw;
  6. Protected as heritage property in a conservation covenant entered into under section 219 of the Land Title Act;
  7. Identified as a heritage building in a community heritage register pursuant to the Municipal Act or Vancouver Charter;
  8. Identified as a heritage property in a resolution that has been passed by a municipal council or regional district board or;
  9. Listed in a Provincial heritage register or in an inventory of heritage buildings maintained for this purpose under section 20(1)(h) of the Heritage Conservation Act.

Are there any relaxations in the Building Code for Heritage Buildings?

Yes there are. The B.C. Building Code supplies a table of "Alternate Compliance Methods" for heritage buildings. The Building Code states:

It is generally recognized that the...Building Code was primarily written for new construction and provides for a performance level that is significantly higher than what exists for many older buildings. To apply present Building Code requirements to existing buildings is, in many cases, impractical and with Heritage Building may compromise historic appearances or authenticity. Therefore, the Table of Alternate Compliance Methods was developed to provide alternate methods for complying with the performance level intended by the Building Code.

» Alternate Compliance Methods Table

Contact your local major bookstore or visit the reference section at your local library for a copy of the "B.C. Building Code".



Culture-Heritage Maps









Culture-Heritage Maps