2012 BC Building Code, 2012 BC Plumbing Code and 2012 BC Fire Code are Effective for Building Permit and Other Applications Received on or after December 20th, 2012.
These regulations establish minimum standards for health, safety, accessibility, energy, fire and structural protection of buildings in British Columbia, as well as water efficiency, fire protection of buildings and facilities, and protection of buildings and facilities from water and sewer damage. The new 2012 Codes will become effective on December 20, 2012.
Complete building permit applications submitted to the City will be accepted under the existing code until the day before.
The Association of Professional Engineer and Geoscientists, the Building and Safety Standards Branch, the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, the Building Officials Association of BC (BOABC) and the Plumbing Officials Association of BC are collaborating to provide a series of province-wide seminars covering the changes brought into effect by the new codes. More information on the seminars, dates and venues, as well as registration forms, can be found on the BOABC website.www.boabc.org
Copies of the new codes are available from the Building and Safety Standards, Office of Housing and Construction, Ministry of Energy and Mines.
NEW Adaptable Housing Regulations
On November 13, 2012, the City of Port Coquitlam adopted amendments to the Building and Plumbing Bylaw and the Zoning Bylaw for the provision of adaptable housing.
- The Building and Plumbing Bylaw requires 30% of the total number of dwelling units in new apartment buildings with 10 or more units, an elevator and common corridors to be built as adaptable units. This requirement only applies to single-storey units.
- Development permit applications received after November 13, 2012 must provide for adaptable units.
- If a Building Permit or a Development Permit application in process as of November 13th expires, then the renewed application will be required to provide adaptable units.
- To compensate for the larger floor area requirements of an adaptable unit, 2 m2 (21.5 sq.ft.) of floor area may be excluded from the floor area of an adaptable housing unit in the calculation of the floor area ratio.
- The location of adaptable units within the building will be the decision of the developer.
What is Adaptable Housing?
Adaptable housing generally refers to housing that provides flexibility in homes that helps occupants who, through illness, injury, and aging, experience permanent or temporary mobility limitations. Adaptable features are subtly incorporated into the overall design of a unit so that differences between an adaptable unit and one with a conventional design are not overly apparent. The required features are outlined in the BC Building Code.
Adaptable features specified by the BC Building Code include:
- Level entryways to units
- Corridors and doorways meeting minimum width specifications
- One bathroom with sufficient space to allow for assisted turning movements
- A continuous surface between the kitchen sink and stove
- Reinforcements in bathroom walls to support future installation of grab bars
- Raised electrical outlets and lowered switches
- Installation of lever style door and faucet handles
- Clear path of travel from building entry to unit entry
- Common corridor width not less than 1220mm (4 ft.)
- Clear area not less than 1500mm x 1500mm (5 x 5 ft.) adjacent to elevator entrance
Requiring adaptable housing is one way of responding to the City’s need for housing diversity. Adaptable units facilitate conversion of a unit to a higher level of accessibility at a relatively low cost, should an occupant’s mobility needs change.
Adaptable Housing or Accessible Housing?
The BC Building Code sets separate standards for adaptable and accessible housing.
Adaptable housing regulations are intended to meet the needs of residents who may experience impaired mobility and significantly reduce future costs to accommodate their needs such as in installation of grab bars. The primary visual indication of an adaptable unit is the lower placement of light switches and higher placement of plug-ins.
Accessible housing regulations are intended to meet the needs of residents who have a significantly impaired mobility, such as using a wheelchair. An accessible unit is noticeably different due to its modified kitchen design and specialized bathroom components.
For further information, please visit the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Office of Housing and Construction Standards website and access the report to Council on Adaptable Housing.