The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, established by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) develops and updates the five National Model Construction codes for Canada. The National Model Construction codes may be amended or supplemented to suit local needs and published as provincial codes.
The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes
The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) develops and maintains Canada’s five National Model Construction codes: The National Building Code, the National Fire Code, the National Plumbing Code, the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, and the National Farm Building Code. The majority of fire and life safety requirements are part of the National Building Code, which addresses the design and construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing buildings, and the National Fire Code of Canada that provides minimum fire safety requirements for buildings, structures, and areas where hazardous materials are used.
There are eleven standing committees established by the CCBFC that are responsible for sections of the code and advises the CCBFC on technical issues and recommended changes. Members are appointed to standing committees by the CCBFC chair, and include stakeholders of regulatory, industry, and general interests. Meetings of CCBFC and its standing committees are open to the public. Meeting locations and schedules can be found here.
The Code Development Process
Proposed changes to the code can be submitted any time by general public or the CCBFC standing committees. Changes must be submitted to the Canadian Codes Centre and follow the submission guidelines posted here. In general, each request should answer the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the proposed solution and how does it address the problem?
- Which of the stated objectives and functional statements of the Code will the proposed solution assist in achieving?
- What are the cost/benefit implications?
- What are the enforcement implications?
Each code proposal is reviewed by the appropriate standing committee, who may reject the proposal, amend the wording of a proposal, defer it pending receipt of more information, or approve the proposal. The provinces and territories then have the opportunity to review the proposed changes to determine if there is any policy or administrative concerns.
After the provinces and territories review the code proposal changes, the changes are made available for public review annually every fall. Additional public comments can be made at this time. Public review of code proposals are announced in the NRC quarterly newsletter Construction Innovation found here. The standing committees review all public comments and may defer, withdraw, or revise proposals based on public feedback. Once all public comments are addressed and standing committee approves the changes, the provinces and territories review the final submission before it is approved by the CCBFC.
The IAFF is currently lobbying the Canadian Government to improve fire fighter safety by making it a stated objective of the National Building Code. For more information, click here.
The Canadian General Standards Board
The Canadian General Standards Board is a federal government organization that develops standards and conformity assessments for a variety of industries, including building and construction. Standards are developed by committees of volunteers who are experts in their field and represent a balance of interested parties, and public and private stakeholders. The Board is responsible for over 900 standards, specifications, and conformity assessment programs.
In comparison to a code, a standard is narrower in scope and covers a limited range of issues. Standards are not legal requirements unless they are referenced by a code. For example, the National Building Code of Canada references over 200 standards, making those standards legal requirements in the jurisdictions where the code is adopted.
To learn more about the standard development process for the CGSB, click here.
Members of the public may comment on a standard when it is up for public review. To view standards currently available for public review, click here.