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Building Act Updates: Unrestricted Matters

March 2, 2017

The Province has amended the Building Act General Regulation to add additional items to the unrestricted matters list.

Unrestricted matters are matters regulated in the BC Building Code (or other provincial building regulations) for which local governments will retain authority to set their own technical building requirements in bylaws. Under section 5 of the Building Act, if a matter is regulated in a provincial building regulation, any requirements for that matter established in local government bylaws will be of no legal force after a two-year transition period ending December 15, 2017, unless the requirements concern unrestricted matters.

The Building Act General Regulation came into force June 2016 with an initial list of unrestricted matters.  The amendment adds the following items to that list:

  1. Unrestricted over the Longer Term
    a) Protection of Heritage Properties
  2. Temporarily Unrestricted
    a) Firefighting Water Supply (Fire-Flow Demand)
    b) Flood Construction Level Requirements
  3. Temporarily Unrestricted with Time Limitations
    a) Fire Sprinklers and Fire Sprinkler Systems
    b) Accessibility of a Building
    c) Adaptable Dwelling Units

Items 3a, 3b and 3c in the list above are temporarily unrestricted only if the bylaw(s) specifying the technical building requirement(s) for the matter is enacted on or before December 15, 2017 and is not amended after that date as it relates to the matter.

The Province will advise stakeholders when it intends to remove a matter from the unrestricted matters list.

More information about these changes is available on the Building Act website.  Full details can be found in a revised version of the Building Act guide entitled Changes for Local Governments Under Section 5 of the Building Act, available online

If you have questions about the Building Act or its implementation, please see the Building Act website (www.gov.bc.ca/buildingact) or contact Dale Andersson in the Building and Safety Standards Branch at dale.andersson@gov.bc.ca.

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