Canadian Consulting Engineer

Users invited to test drive big changes to national building code

December 23, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Beginning in January 2003, code users across Canada will be able to review and comment on proposed technical change...

Beginning in January 2003, code users across Canada will be able to review and comment on proposed technical changes to the building, fire and plumbing codes and "test drive" the proposed format and structure of the new objective-based codes.
The current National Building, Fire and Plumbing Codes were published in 1995. These national codes have traditionally been updated and re-published every five years and new codes would normally have been expected in 2000. The technical updating of the codes for 2000 was postponed, however, because of the considerable development work necessary for the conversion to the objective-based format. But now, with the analysis of the objective-based codes complete and their structure and format well advanced, the development and review of the proposed technical changes the actual content of the codes is proceeding quickly.
The technical updating of the national codes has always followed a rigorous process that involves the submission of detailed proposals for code changes, review by the standing committees, consultation with the provinces and territories on policy issues, public review and comment and, finally, approval of those technical changes that survive the process. All of this takes place under the direction of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes.
The public review, which starts 2 January 2003 and runs to 31 March 2003, is the first coordinated national/provincial/territorial consultation on technical changes in Canada. With the exception of Alberta, which will consult on its province-specific changes later in 2003, technical changes to both the national codes and the provincial/territorial codes will be issued for public review at the same time. This new approach is more efficient because it allows code users to review and comment on all proposed technical changes to the codes concurrently. The comments will be shared by the national/provincial/territorial partners, and will encourage greater harmonization of the codes in the long term.
As well, code users will be able to "test drive" prototypes of the three objective-based national codes. The committees encourage users to provide feedback on the approach taken with the new codes, such as the structure, new terminology, and links from each requirement to its functional statements and objectives.
The main vehicle for the consultation is the Internet. Code users are encouraged to visit the web site of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes at after 2 January 2003 where they will find links to:
 The consultation documents,
 The proposed technical changes to the national model codes,
 Provincial and territorial web sites for jurisdiction-specific technical changes,
 The prototype objective-based National Building Code, National Fire Code and National Plumbing Code,
 Dates and locations for public forums on the proposed technical changes and the prototype objective-based codes.
Code users will be able to comment directly "on line" from the web site or may download the comments form to be sent in later by email, fax or surface mail. A series of public forums is also planned in several provinces and territories. Staff of the Canadian Codes Centre at the National Research Council’s Institute for Research in Construction will demonstrate the new objective-based codes and review the significant proposed technical changes to all three codes. Currently a one-day forum for the building code is planned, with a half day for the fire code.
Send questions on the consultation, or requests for printed copies of the consultation documents, to:
John Archer
Secretary, Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes
Canadian Codes Centre
Building M23A
National Research Council
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6
Telephone: (613) 993-9960
Facsimile: (613) 952-4040


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