Thursday, 24 January 2019

Urban Development Institute (UDI) Assisting BC Builders of Tomorrow

UDI Presentation: Building Code Changes for 2019


'Climbable' guards now permitted when fall hazard is under 4.2m - example shown: X-TEND mesh by Ronstan

Around 700 changes were made to the latest BC Building Code, and amazingly, this Wednesday morning a team from UDI were able to distill issues to a breakfast meeting presentation.

Don Pedde, Barry Thorson, Phil White and Chris Radziminski gave an overview for Part 9 and Part 3 Buildings along with City of Vancouver plumbing updates.


Part 3 Updates (Complex Buildings)

  • Mixed use buildings to six storeys can now be built in entirely combustible material (rather than requiring concrete for commercial at ground level) with 2 hour fire separation (only) between commercial/residential uses (3.2.2 Article)
  • Six storey building maximum size increases
  • Interconnection between Floors: Levels 1 and 2 or P1 and 1 – relaxation of requirements
  • Exiting – Discharge doors from two required exits may need to be further apart and closer to the street so that a single parked truck won't be able inadvertantly block both exits
  • Exiting - Cross over (to another exit) floors are now required in 4 to 6 Storey Buildings and underground parking of more than 3 levels
  • Guards – climbable guards are now permitted as long as the fall hazard is under 4.2M
  • Guards and stair handrails can now be the same height at 1070mm (3’6”)
  • Elevators for Limited Use can be smaller as the need to accommodate a stretcher has been removed and a ‘Garaventa’ type stair lift is now permitted to provide CSA-B355 access

Part 9 and 'All Code' Updates


  • Stairs – Private dwelling stairs tread width (defined as run) has grown 45mm to 255mm minimum 
  • Guards – climbable guards now permitted as long as the fall hazard is under 4.2M (expect to see a lot of horizontal residential railings soon) 
  • No longer possible to use a newel post as a transition on the inside corner of a landing with winder treads - handrail must be continuous 
  • Accessibility (for disability) – check out the soon to be available ‘BC Building Access Handbook'
    Current handbook - new handbook coming soon

  • Energy efficiency standards – increased with new metrics and tables – see EnergyStepCode.ca/news 
  • Sound transmission – ‘Apparent Sound Transmission Class’ (ASTC) replaces STC to now include the sum of direct and flanking assembly transmission

Blue line shows flanking sound path

  • Seismic design – lateral bracing requirements slightly down in Vancouver and Kelowna, but up in Victoria

Water Use (City of Vancouver - COV)

  • Enhanced Public Safety focusing on water quality and piping as it relates rainwater harvesting systems, decorative fountains, cooling towers, municipal water supply - building water treatment and geoexchange systems 
  • The City will require quarterly reporting on water quality testing for new and existing systems to meet temperature of less than 20 deg. C; turbidity of less than 10 NTU and E.coli of less than 100CFU / 100 ml 
  • Harvested water must supply toilets, urinals and trap primers with optional use for irrigation and make up for cooling towers 
  • Use purple piping 
  • Rainwater - above grade and no vehicular traffic and/ or use clear water waste. (Clearwater is solid-free wastewater which includes water produced while waiting for hot water from the faucet to heat up, refrigerator compressor drip, and more) 


Cooling Towers (COV)

Legionnaires disease concerns leading to requirement for operating permit and testing of cooling towers


Decorative fountains (COV)

Operating permit will be required from July 1, 2020

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